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BMW 3-Series Saloon engines, drive and performance

1991 - 1998 (change model)
Performance rating: 4.5 out of 54.5

Written by Parkers Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

There’s a wide range of petrol engines and some good diesel (from before good diesels became popular). Smaller engines – such as the 316 and 318 – are workmanlike but run to high mileage. 140bhp four cylinder (the 318i) is best of the small engines whilst the six cylinder units (320 upwards) are fabulous – post 96 M3 Evo is sparingly fast but 320 is a great all rounder.

2.5 tds impresses – it’s refined and quick for its age and a shrewd used buy.

The rear-wheel-drive 3-Series is a real treat for the enthusiastic driver. The impressive chassis really invites you to drive it hard, although on models without traction control you’ll need to watch it in the wet as it has tail-happy characteristics (especially the more powerful models). Ride is quite firm, but fine for the motorway.