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    Guy Baker
    Guy Baker joined the group BMW Z3 Roadster and Coupe Club E36/7
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    Guy Baker
    Guy Baker joined the group BMW X2 F39
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    Guy Baker
    Guy Baker joined the group BMW E39 5-series Club owners
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    E36 M3 values / TECHNICAL TIPS / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-3.0 four-door / #BMW-M3-3.0-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-Saloon / #BMW-M3-Saloon-E36 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-Cabrio / #BMW-M3-Cabrio-E36 / #BMW-M3-Coupe-E36

    Hot on the heels of the E30 M3 that celebrates its 30th birthday this year, the E36 M3 (itself almost 25 years old) is steadily increasing in value. I’ve seen minters advertised for 20 grand and they’re selling too. It’s odd that – whilst they were undoubtedly very quick and capable, they never really floated the boat of the motoring press. A lot of that was due in part to the fact that it was nothing like the old E30, itself a unique and irreplaceable car. But it was the similarity in appearance to a 325i Coupé that led to a lack of enthusiasm and once the 328i Sport arrived in 1995, that was even more so. Saloon and Convertible versions boosted the range but you can’t deny that it was the launch of the E46 M3 in late 2000 that reignited passion for the M3 – whilst it wasn’t really any faster than the old car, it looked as serious a car as the E30 was, and was certainly a better driver’s car.

    The trouble with the classic car market is that it too often thinks ‘it’s old therefore it must be valuable’ and all old cars get swept along regardless. The 1992-1999 car was a great E36, but was it a great M3? I think it was in retrospect – that howling straight-six, slick five-speed (I preferred the 3.0-litre) and excellent chassis… make mine a Cosmos black four-door with Contours and the tan leather. But when figures like 20 grand are involved… sorry, but the mintiest, low mileage Laguna Seca blue E46 is a long way in front as long as it’s fresh enough to avoid the boot floor dramas.
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    Guy Baker
    Guy Baker joined the group BMW E36 3-Series and M3 Club
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    And now... the #three-cylinder-engine ! #BMW-B38 / #B38 / #BMW

    Well that didn’t take long. I’m told there’s been a problem with the three-cylinder petrol engines as fitted to the MINI, 2 Series Active Tourer and the latest 118i and 318i. The problem first manifests itself when it makes an odd noise upon pressing the clutch down – that’s odd. And it’ll do it again, and again. The fault is reckoned to be the crankshaft thrust washers wearing prematurely and similar things have happened to the N20 four-cylinder as well. A new engine under warranty is, of course, the answer but this is the latest in a series of engine issues – #BMW-N47 chains, #BMW-N43 general malaise etc. And it’s not just BMW – VW and Audi have had plenty of problems but Mercedes seem to be on the ball at the moment. Vauxhalls eat gearboxes for breakfast as well as a litany of EGR faults, and the 1.6 Ford/PSA TDCi engine is an ‘avoid at all costs’ nightmare. BMW has moved fast to identify the problem units under a Quality Enhancement scheme – either a complete new engine or a simple repair if caught in time. And whilst this is going on, millions of 20-year-old Toyota Carinas are still motoring on.


    Parkside Autos in Worksop recently had (another) six-year-old 116i whose sub- 60,000 mile N43 engine had grenaded itself – a few shards of broken chain guide rail had blocked the oil pick-up strainer, and that’s not an isolated case. European manufacturers need to get their act together and fast. Heads must roll for the recent engine troubles because brand loyalty only goes so far in this internet age – too many cock-ups and you’ll have lost market share before you can say ‘Watchdog’ or, with increasing frequency, ‘Kia seven year warranty’.
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    Buyer beware... / #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d / #BMW-520d-F10 / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F10

    I wasn’t very surprised to see that early, high mileage F10s are now down to around £6500 – inevitable I guess. But I would urge caution if you’re thinking of taking the plunge and buying such a car. The F10 is, of course, a decently built motor and it’s one of our favourites because there is little a 520d won’t do very well. But these cheaper examples will have done well over 150,000 miles and it’s at this age, mileage and price point where you can quite easily end up with a £7500 millstone, and cars don’t get more reliable with age. Start with the engine – the N47 is well known for timing chain issues and ignore anyone who says BMW sorted that out by 2010, because it certainly hadn’t. One 2011 car I saw with 180,000 miles (a 520d manual) had been fitted with a brand-new engine just 30k before so that might be a good deal. But then you have 180,000 mile-old injectors, turbo, high pressure pump, dual mass flywheel, manual box, electric steering rack, diff oil seals (a far more involved job due to the driveshafts with two integral CV joints) and so on. #BMW-523i-F10 and #BMW-528i-F10 cars with the N53 can have very persistent and pricey misfire problems – coil packs, injectors, NoX sensors…


    It’s hard to say exactly when cars went from being rugged and fixable to being dynamically amazing but a potential nightmare to repair, but it was long before the F10 was launched. Truth is, cars like this as well as equivalent Vauxhalls, Mercs, Audis and so on are fine for the warranty period, but be prepared for a four-figure financial kicking if something goes wrong. I personally wouldn’t consider a leggy F10 or F30 unless it was stupidly cheap, but when even recorded write-offs are fetching frankly ridiculous prices, that’s unlikely. As ever, we’d take the £7500 you’d spend on a mega mileage time bomb and use it as a down payment on a warrantied Approved Used Car from a main dealer – or even on a deal on a brand-new one.
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