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Headline:Final report on our BMW 325i SportDate:06/04/2006
Source:FastSaloons.com   (Click Here for more details).Ourthoughts
   
Review:End of ownership report on our BMW E46 325i Sport  
The time had to come eventually. I was expecting to keep my 325 for well over 3 years, but now after 4 years eventually I admitted defeat to the impracticalities of the E46 3 series. I’ve said in my previous reports that the 3 series in the 325 form is a cracking drive. I certainly don’t intend to change that opinion now. My 3 series has easily been the best car I’ve had in a vast number of ways. So, why change what is the best car, certainly the best small sports saloon? Well, mainly it is the practical side. The E46 is now a 9 year old design. My previous car had been an E46 too, so I’d seen plenty of time in this one to decide what’s good and what’s bad.

The problems that irked me most were lack of space; in the boot and in the rear seats. Also, as we’ve all become slaves of US-led consumerism, the little things like lack of cup holders for our morning Starbucks is another. Sure, this is not a big one, but the lack of rear cubby holes mean the kids would deposit their weekly post-swimming snack into the nearest available space – on the seat or on the floor. That isn’t great on what is supposed to be a family oriented car.

Now that the kids legs have started dangling down rather than out over the rear seats, back seat space is not necessarily as big an issue as it should be. But comparatively, cars from smaller segments (like the wife’s Mazda3) actually have more space in the back than the 3 series. I was also regularly annoyed about the fact that I’d struggle to get our suitcases into the 325’s boot for the holiday trip to the airport, only to find at the other side the crappy rental Daewoo Flotsum or Hyundia Jetsum had absolutely no problem consuming the same amount of swimming trunks and sun tan lotion.
My 325i Sport Total Costs Over 4 Years
Current Mileage41,676
Total Cost/Mile63.5p
Average MPG26.44


Individual CostsTotalPer Mile
Fuel£5,95014p
Depreciation£16,52240p
Tax & Insurance£2,855.737p
Servicing & Repair£1,150.003p


This obviously has nothing to do with the fact the 325i Sport is a still a stunning car and this has still been the main reason for still keeping it, despite its impractical side. The ride, although hard and sometimes harsh, was also very sporting and totally confidence inspiring. The I6 engine has stayed as sweet and creamy as the day I drove it away from the dealer – and I never felt it lacked in pace.

LikesDislikes
Styling – Sport kit added much visual appealCleaning the alloy wheels – The MV-Spoke style always trapped dirt and brake dust
Performance – Never felt lackingBoot space – never easy on family holidays
Interior Styling – maybe old school BMW but still qualityRear space – cramped on leg space
Interior Durability – Alcantara/Cloth combination wore extremely wellPracticality – limited rear seat storage, only one 12v socket
Driveability – always enjoyableUbiquity – drive a 3-series saloon and you’re tarred with a multitude of sins
Reliability – 100%, what more could you ask for  


So, the biggest dilemma was to identify a suitable replacement. The choices initially were not limited, as long as it had space, quality, appeal, driveability. Frankly for many of these reasons, it was never going to be a saloon. 4x4’s were evaluated, The BMW X3, X5 and new Merc M-class all had their good and bad points. But I was never happy with the 4x4 driveability compromise and the 4x4 ‘appeal’. I’d definitely decided that a lifestyle estate was more of an acceptable choice, but which; Mercedes E-class, Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series? The draw of another (now more powerful) 6 cylinder BMW was eventually too much and was the most natural choice. Although the new 5 Series was initially ‘challenging’ to me, I’ve now grown into it and consider it rather stylish. Particularly, in Sport Touring trim it really has the presence of the E46 Sport with all the practically of a large estate. So tomorrow, after a 2.5 month wait I’m off to collect my E61 525i M Sport Touring and wave a very fond farewell to the 325.

To find out how I get on with the new car you'll need to check out our sister site www.AutoRoadTests.com.
Mark









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