I have a 320i LCI and can't complain't. Performance is good enough for London. It's not classed as performance car therefore dont expect that.
Maintenance is cheap if you can manage basic DIY. Plus you don't have the HPFP issues like the 3.0L.
About 18 months ownership and only hassle was single fuel injector which managed to repair DIY for £160.
I would have no issues driving this another 5 years in city traffic.
Driven my mates 318i and it felt just a little less power.
If you consider the diesel beware of the famous N47 engine.
i would go for e90 325i or 330i
Id go for a 6 cylinder anyway. You can take the cash you save fixing the various problems with the 4 pot and spend it on fuel and insurance
Seriously though the later direct injection N43 4 cylinder engines have a fair share of issues. Earlier cars 2005-2007 will be more reliable as they have indirect injection. But again ultimately depends on condition and maintenance. A good later 320i with a new set of injectors could be a decent buy. Why bother with a 318i, less power with the same real economy. (same could be said of the 325i vs 330i of course, but 330i manuals are somewhat unusual for some reason)
320d would be quicker all rounder but will sound like a tractor, especially if the DMF on the way out. Depends how many miles you do. Go for an M47 car - 160hp rather than N47 177hp due to common issue with N47 timing chain failure and the fact the early M47 doesnt have DPF to get clogged.
Generally the N43 petrol and N47 diesel are neither trouble free nor particularly pleasant engines to use...they are however abundant! Blame BMW long life servicing. Change your oil regularly.
Thanks, really good information, now biggest question, can I get something for that money
You can probably get either a 2006 320i SE or 320d SE for £2-3k....but the mileage will be 100k+...most likely more like 150k on a diesel....so work done is important as you dont want to spend £3k on a diesel then need a new set of injectors/turbo etc...if you really are on a tight budget. Expect to pay more for an M Sport than an SE/ES.
I Sold my 2006 318d ES manual touring for £2,900 at 125k a few months back...to give you some idea. And tourings usually sell for more than saloons.
(ps dont bother with 318d over a 320d - bit gutless - just bought mine on a bit of a whim)
There is no dispute the 325/ 330 are the best 6 pot engine around.
But just be aware they not cheap to maintain. Fuel insurance is 1 thing. But if 6 injectors and HPFP fail on a old car with no warranty and you not good with DIY repair you may need to scrap the car if you paid £4000. A garage repair on 6 injectors and HPFP will invoice around £2500.
A lot depends if you can do some level of DIY service repairs.
If someone spends £10000 on 330i they clearly have deep wallet to maintain via garage. But if you paid £4000 and need to take to garage for £2500 repairs that will be painful.
You must appreciate for that money you will be getting a aged car and expect wear and tear.
I could buy a 4.4 X5 for same money I paid for my 320i but running X5 on London roads is another matter.
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