I have been driving this BMW 316i for more than 1200 days and upgraded to an Audi A6 a few months ago, so it might be the right time to share my experience.
- Driving experience: With a small engine, it is not quick, especially driving on the freeway – not as nailed as a 328i I tried. When you switch to the Sports mode, you can feel the arguably good driving experience in most situations under 80km/h. Overall, it is well balanced, and just enough for the everyday drive.
- Technology: This 316i is an entry-level current 3 Series, and therefore the equipment is very basic as a $50K car. The new BMW ConnectedDrive is way better than Mercedes COMAND or Audi MMI. Although it has almost everything you need every day, it lacks electronic seat adjustment, modern technology like lane change assistance, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and 360 camera. If there is only one thing I reckon every BMW should have, it would be the angel eyes LED lighting, which makes a BMW far better looking.
- Cabin space: I used to drive a long-wheelbase BMW and Audi in China, but I am happy with the 3 Series size and cabin space. It is absolutely enough for two people, but we probably need a bit more space for the back seat.
- Maintenance, cost and service: BSI (BMW Service Inclusive) is a must when you buy a BMW – saving your money to keep the car for the long term. A five-year, up to 80,000km service package under $1500, including oil, filters, brake fluid, annual vehicle check, premium carwash and free loan car, is a good deal from any perspective. The extra maintenance cost I paid is around $50 for replacing one brake light since I owned the car.
- Potential: Not many people talk about this, but I would like to share the examples I know around in Melbourne. With this car particularly, spending around $1500 on an engine remap to dramatically improve the 0–100km/h acceleration result to 6.x seconds. I did not try that as my car was under warranty, but I know people have much more fun after the tuning upgrades.
Over the last three years, I am happy with this car's quality, technology and driving experience. In terms of the money I spent on it at that time, I had many other options. After reading reviews, comparisons and test-driving, I found it is not easy to make the very best choice, but it is not too hard to make the right choice.
Well, it is a nice car.