No, it's now a new 7-series<grin>.....
I've got an opportunity to purchase a 318is from 1996 that appears to be in
excellent condition, despite the 138K miles on the clock. Yes, I know the
328 and 325 may be more desirable, but the price seems to be in the ballpark
(about $7000) and it REALLY looks nice.
There are a couple of good BMW shops around that I plan on having check it
out. Are there any things I should be looking for when I test drive it?
Mike Nassour / mikenassour at yahoo dot com
Basically a good car. If it's very noisy when cold I'd fit a new timing
chain tensioner, not dear. By 138k the original shocks and exhaust will
be getting old. I'd think about fitting new shocks, Boge Turbo Gas work
well with the stock springs.
Who needs a life when you've got Unix? :-)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland
Oh, of course. But the local BMW folks I've spoken with who own 3-series
cars of this year (or thereabouts) tell me that the six cylinder cars were
generally more troublesome. And if I'm dealing with a car this old, I'd
like to keep it as reliable as possible.
You know, I have heard this sort of stuff too. Even from such sources
as the "Tech Talk" editor in Roundel magazine, Mike Miller.
But I really disagree and would counter that the sixes are every bit as
reliable as the 4 cylinders engines in those E36'es. Yeah, there are a
few known weaknesses in the cooling system, but as long as those are are
watched closely, or once those have been taken care of, it's pretty
For the negligible difference in price on the used market I would look
for a six. Preferrably the 2.8l...
There is only one drawback on this: You never ever want to drive any 4banger
after enjoying an inline 6 from BMW. You even might look doubtful to any V6
after that ;-)
My first car in 1988 was a 4year old E30 320i with inline6 engine and since
then a inline6 engine and rear drive wheel is on my musthave list. These
two simple requirements limit your choice of a car to almost exclusively to
BMW. At least it did that for me. But hey, better an old BMW than any new
Currently I happily own an E46 325Ci - you get the picture.
Karl from Germany
I drive one daily (44 miles round trip to work) and it's a great
commuting car. I'm averaging just under 30mpg (computer says 30.2 but
it's about an mpg off from actual). Smooth accelleration, excellent
driving and overall balance. Just a sweet car.
I'd think with 138K, you could find a better deal than $7000 for a 318
but really for maybe 1000 more, you can get a 328 same year same
I've had next to no maintenence problems with mine, partially because
the water pump and radiator were replaced before I got it... I would
think that for $9 to 10K you could get a 328 with about 100K miles on
it and very clean, with that same work already done. Much more of a car
than the 318 IMO.
My 97 Z3 2.8 averaged 26.8 mpg over 65,000 miles using 93 (US pump) octane.
IIRC, the manual indicates that you should use 91 but can pump 87 if
necessary. The knock sensor will then most likely retard the timing so the
performance and fuel economy will suffer.
Are you sure about that Tom? The reason I ask is that I have a '97 Z3
2.8 and it very specifically says 89 AKI (US pump octane), though I
occasionally splurge since it does have a small tank.
A lot of the confusion happens because of the difference between octane
numbers around the world...
Since I traded the Z3 on a Z4 3.0 in 2003, I'm not absolutely certain. But
I just checked the manual for my "daily driver" '99 328i which has a
virtually identical motor, and it states 91 AKI recommended with 87 as
minimum. Since most stations sell 87, 89 or 93 in my area, I suspect I
would have run my Z3 on 89 at least occaisionally if the manual had called
for it. My 97 was an early model, one of the first with the 6 cylinder
engine, so maybe the recommendation was changed mid year for yours.
BTW, the 2003 Z4 manual simply calls for 91 AKI minimum - I guess the
implication is that lower octane will result in your hair falling out or
True - at least we're both referring to the same octane! It might be
interesting if you could test fuel mileage under similar conditions with
both 89 and 91 (or 92-93) octane to see if the improvement is worth the
Enjoy your Z.
I give it 90 or 91, whatever's available. Generally, I go to one
particular gas station that has 91.
The manual for this car is pretty specific about wanting 91 or better,
otherwise the performance and MPG suffer.
My commute is part highway, part city, and I'm careful not to drive too
hard. On tanks where I'm driving a bit harder it might be more like 27
to 28mpg. My guess would be that on pure highway driving (long trips,
etc.) it would be more like 30 to 32.
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