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Hi, I wonder if anyone could offer some advice on buying a used BMW and which one to go for please.

I have never owned a BMW before, I’ve test drove a few but torn between two models and want to know your thoughts. As this is a 1 series forum I can guess the response, but thought I’d ask anyway.

A bit of background. I am a 49 year old guy who drives a high mileage old diesel VW Passat. Kids are teenagers and rarely in the car with me now so 99% of the time it’s just me. My journeys now are short about five miles daily with the occasional longer trip with the family every now and then (but getting less and less as they get older).

I prefer older higher mileage cars as I feel these are often overlooked by most buyers and there’s some absolute gems out there (and rust buckets obviously).

Anyway.

I am torn between a 2008 116i with 127,000 miles, or a 2010 320d with 145,000 miles

both are pretty much the same price with the same dealer, both have part history and in excellent condition.

I prefer the look of 116i, petrol would be better for me and potentially running costs cheaper. The 320d is obviously more spacious inside but it’s mainly just me in the car.

Has anyone any experience of both, any advice on what to avoid, check for etc or what to expect.

Any honest advice would be great.y appreciates. Thanks
 

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Ive driven a couple of 116's and they feel very underpowered to me, Id probably go for the 320 myself but be aware the N47 engine doesnt have the best rep for reliability, you want one with swirl flaps removed already and timing chain replaced ........ or if you can stretch to a 6 cylinder do that, much nicer engines all round :)
 

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At that mileage with part service history, both of those cars are hard to recommend. The N43 and N47 engines are both very well known for throwing "uneconomical to repair" type tantrums, and lack of servicing is a major contributor. If the last owner ended up paying through the nose for timing chains, nox sensors, injectors, HPFPs etc. you might get away with it but otherwise by 120-140k you're gambling.

As docwra pointed out, the high-mileage gems from this era of BMW are the 6 cylinder cars; between around 2007 and 2015 the 4 cylinder engines were internationally renowned for being toilets. If you can stretch to a 125i/130i or a pre-2007 335i/330i you'll probably end up better off in the long run despite higher running costs.

A pre-facelift 120d/320d would be a nice idea too - they have the much more reliable M47 engine, and no DPF to clog up in short journeys.
 

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We had a 116i….no horror stories with the engine but it was slow as **** which stung given the tax / fuel used.

I‘d also be looking for a six cylinder car. If mileage isn’t a worry, there are plenty of higher mileage 325/30’s out there plus 125/130’s. It’s where I’d be spending my money.
 

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I currently have a 2010 F10 530d MSport in the UK (115k miles) and an 2009 E87 118d MSport (125 k miles) in Spain. I previously had a 2007 E90 330d SE in which I did 180k miles. The F10 is great for long motorway runs, cumbersome (in my view) on short local journeys. The E87 is nippy and economical (54MPG), great for mountain roads, long and short trips alike. I do notice the lack of space though (feels a bit compressed in the driving seat) and I've had a bit of back ache - probably due to not adjusting seat properly.

If I was to choose another car - I would have another E90.

Maintenance wise I've had no serious problems with any of the cars other than the ABS unit on the E90 which was a common failure point. I do my own maintenance so I had this fixed for £250 by ECU testing in Derbyshire. I would also check for diesel oil leaking past the flaps on the inlet manifold - this looks like an oil leak down the side of the engine on the inlet side. This also was on the E90.

In your case I would go for the 320d. Or consider a 330d - much smoother. Bear in mind that, if you are only doing very short journeys, you should do a longer run each week to keep the DPF clear.
 
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