318i Touring

Hello to all.
I'm new to BMW's and would like some advice on a 318i Touring that's been offered to me.
Firstly, some details of the car itself. It's a 1990 1800cc automatic estate
with 160k on the clock. I've taken it for a spin and it feels nice and tight. The auto box shifts gears smoothly and the engine feels nice and pokey.
It's had a recent back box change, new rear suspension and a new radiator (all very recent).
Here come the 'but' part. Whilst out on the test drive i noticed what can only be described as a 'growl' coming from the firewall area whenever the power was applied. The growl subsided as the engine had to do less work (i.e. the car was up to speed).
When parked up, the engine idle was fine and steady, and I checked the gearbox oil level both with the engine off and with the engine on and drive engaged. The fluid level looked okay to me as did the fluid itself.
Basically, what I'm asking is this. Is the growl normal for a 160k mile old BMW engine or should I walk away from it?
Any input would be gratefully received. Please let me know if you need any more information.
Thanks,
Richard
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Possibly just the exhaust. A leak, resonance caused by something touching where it shouldn't, or replacement parts not up to the original standard. Get someone else to listen to it.
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Thanks for that. After I posted the original message a friend of mine called me up to chat about his PC. We had a chat about the BMW and also suggested the exhaust may well be the main culprit.
Me thinks a second viewing is in order.
Happy new year,
Richard

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On this model you check the gearbox fluid level with the engine running and the oil warm.

E30 318i's after 87 have the M40 engine. It always sounds "tappety" after a few 1000 miles. It's normal and I'd live with it, likely worn valve guides.
I'd say a 318i automatic touring was underpowered. I had a manual 1988 touring once and it was OK, just. You'd be better off with a six cylinder or a manual box.
Hard to tell what the noise was without hearing it myself.
Another thing, I paid 1200 for a 95 e36 328i touring with 112k a few months ago. The E30 looks better but the e36 is a much better estate car as it's bigger and the entrance to the load bay isn't blocked by the tail lights.
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