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BMW 3 Series Compact 320td

BMW forum 3 series car: E21, E30, E36, E46, E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34, F35

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BMW 3 Series Compact 320td

Postby MrWill » Wed, 16 Jun 2010 23:13:28 UTC

Hi all,

I've come onto this site for some help and advice. I currently have a 2001 Seat Ibiza Cupra 1.8T and have previously had a Golf GT TDI 130......I enjoyed having a diesel with the great power/economy ratio and then when I could afford to have a powerful and fun petrol car I bought the Ibiza.

However, my circumstances have changed back to before and so I now need the economy to commute to work and back mon-fri. I've looked at the audi a3's with the same engine as my golf and also the quattro version of this, and they are so similar to my previous golf that I don't see the point in having that again. Plus the handling was awful in the golf and is the same for the a3's (i'm talking 97-04).

I've always had my eyes on the bmw 3 series compact (01-04) as I like the economy/performance ratio but also the looks (with m sport wheels). The advice I need to know is the following:

1) What is the handling like on the compacts? i.e. is there loads of bodyroll when going round corners (like my golf) or is the suspension fairly firm and the car holds the road well? This is one of the things I love about my cupra...I'm not looking to match it but I don't want the car to 'wallow' a lot. What's it like to drive?

2) Are there many BMW specialists in the UK as I have always serviced my Seat and VW at VAG specialists as I believe they do a proper job, still use top quality parts but at a reasonable price.

3) Would the cost of, say. a full comprehensive service on a 3 series compact vary from my golf?

4) Most importantly, are the 3 series and compacts as reliable as a3's/golfs both mechanically and in general?

5) The compact I have my eyes on has done 66,000 miles with full service history....around what mileage do BMWs usually need a new turbo and clutch, or any other major parts? Basically I'd like to know this so I can plan my costs over the next few years and know what kind of mileage to look out for.

6) Are there any commonly known faults that I should look out for?

7) I understand BMW's dont have a cambelt so this is not on the checklist when looking to buy one?

8) Any other advice on anything I should look out for when buying a compact 320td?


If anyone can answer any of the above points, the help will be greatly appreciated. I did not know who to turn to for advice about BMW's in general and specifically the compact 320td's, so I thought as you are all quite knowledgable and some experts, you'll be able to help point me in the right direction.

Thanks

Will.
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Postby MARTIN T » Wed, 16 Jun 2010 23:42:15 UTC

I have had 2 Golf tdi's, Audi S3, and a Leon Cupra R, a couple of months ago we were going to get an Audi A3 tdi S line (140hp) and I got let down on the car we were going to buy, then I found the car I own now, BMW 320td compact M sport, I am glad the Audi fell through as its a very nice car, good on fuel and now its been re-mapped 185hp :D
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Postby MrWill » Wed, 16 Jun 2010 23:51:31 UTC

Ok that's good to know, thanks :)

Does the M Sport version have an improved suspension? I won't be getting the Sport version, I'll be getting an SE so really need to know what it's like with regards to handling corners, grip, bodyroll etc.....

How's the reliability been for you? Reckon you could answer any of the above points about servicing costs, reliability etc?

Thanks
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Postby MARTIN T » Thu, 17 Jun 2010 07:22:55 UTC

MrWill wrote:Ok that's good to know, thanks :)

Does the M Sport version have an improved suspension? I won't be getting the Sport version, I'll be getting an SE so really need to know what it's like with regards to handling corners, grip, bodyroll etc.....

How's the reliability been for you? Reckon you could answer any of the above points about servicing costs, reliability etc?

Thanks
The suspension on the sport is lower and stiffer like say a S line Audi, the SE I would guess is softer, the main difference is the BMW is rear wheel drive. As for reliability there are 2 main things, inlet manifold swirl flaps on pre 04 cars are prone to fail and can lead to a new engine, most people remove them.The other problem is the early type of oil breather can block and can lead to turbo failure.
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Postby afterburner » Thu, 17 Jun 2010 07:30:55 UTC

All BMWs past the early '90s have camshaft chains, so you don't need to worry about that.

As for other issues, you might like set aside a couple of hours and read the massive sticky thread at the top of this section...
Slowly working my way through the list of 320d known issues...

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Postby 1gaz9000 » Fri, 18 Jun 2010 12:20:18 UTC

As stated above, deffo read the sticky at the top of the page.

Ive got a 320td and had it remapped by Simon at emaps. Took the flaps out the manifold for peace of mind.

Other things to look at would be the brake lines at the rear...pretty common on all e46's tho and not specifically the compact. Just had to have mine done but its not much to put right.

The rear wiper motor WILL be broken or WILL fail within 2 years if the raft of comments on discussion boards is to believed. Happened to me and happens to most I suspect so check that out and either budget for £250 to replace or live with it.

Probably tempting fate here but Ive had no problems with turbo or clutch and im on 85k (had it since 65k).

most of all - dont be put off by people saying get a coupe instead :wink:
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Postby Tomti » Fri, 18 Jun 2010 17:56:36 UTC

Hi,

I read some where that all Compacts have sport or M suspension as standard?

Mines the very standard ES, and even she has no body roll or bouncyness. Handling is crisp and very confident in the corners, the balance is just superb.

My rear wiper is fine and so are the rear springs. She's an '04' 2004 316ti (1.8) with 78k, and still on original springs. Wiper's never been faulty. But then, its never really used, rear window stays bone dry whilst driving in the rain.

All I can say is they are fab, I'm a 100% happy owner who gets approx 530 miles per tank!

And as often said, they are rare.

Tom.
2004 316ti ES Mystic Blue, standard, FBMWSH.
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Postby hayman2k7 » Fri, 18 Jun 2010 22:12:29 UTC

Hi mate, Ive just bought a 51 plate 320 TD Compact with 56,000 miles after selling my E46 330 Clubsport (Change in circumstance)... I had a Civic Type R before this!...

Power...

The power delivery is quite smooth but still fun, I think the Golf GT TDI 150 feels more powerful on boost!

Handling...

Ive got an SE and i think the handling is really good! Just fitted 18 inch BMW MV2 alloys and it still handles great!

Reliability...

Ive done some research before buying the car and its a MUST to remove and blank off Swirl Flaps with aluminium blanks (24 pound off ebay) - DIY with Guide or 2-3 hours labour!

Its also a must to change the Crank Case Breather from a Loo Roll style to a Vortex Style (23 pound from BMW) - Easy DIY can give you DIY link!

As with all my cars, I changed the oil, air filter and Fuel Filter aswel!

You right about the cam chain so no need to worry about that!


Ive just had all the door strips, bumper strips, door handles etc Color coded and fitted 18 inch MV2 Wheels and it makes a Massive Difference!

Cheers
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Postby andywils31 » Sat, 19 Jun 2010 11:00:54 UTC

hayman2k7 wrote:Ive just had all the door strips, bumper strips, door handles etc Color coded and fitted 18 inch MV2 Wheels and it makes a Massive Difference!

Mind if I ask how much it cost you and if it was difficult to do? Quite interested in doing mine.
2001 (51) E46 318ti Compact - Pics
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Postby hayman2k7 » Sat, 19 Jun 2010 12:15:05 UTC

I removed all the door strips, bumper strips myself... They simply pull off! The boot strip is bolted on with two t20 torx bolts and simply disconnect the electrical plug for the boot release!

The door handles are bolted on, open your doors and there's two rubber gromits, get these out with small flat head screwdriver and carefully undo the bolts t20 I think, the lock comes out first, then it's easy to get handle off!

Also had the parking sensors colour coded and they still work perfectly!

All the paintwork was done proffesionally and had it done bit cheaper as I know people in the trade!

Deff get it done, I'll post some before and after pics, looks much newer and cleaner!

Thanks
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