This was an exciting car to drive. Bought it 1 year old. It has been very reliable over the years with only an air condition problem that seems to be reoccurring every couple of years. I have now given it to my daughter to attend University. Still going strong after all these years.
I bought this car at 150,000km's and I'm now approaching 250,000km's. I expect the bimmer to last much longer - car is in excellent condition. Although not as quick as its 6-cyclinder counterparts its an economical bimmer with enough juice for spirited driving and great handling. Overtime I've replaced many parts which are known to be weak in this model including: water pump, head gasket, strut tower mounts, ball joints...(all preventative maintenance, not broken) otherwise car has run with few problems over the years. Only failures: bolt in clutch linkage broke at 224,000km's ($10 part, $300 tow to garage); fog light connection a little loose... the bracket broke off in cooler weather.
Owned car 8 years now. 190k miles. The car still looks and runs great. I've only spent $2,400 to maintain it (includes 3 sets of Michelin tires! Oil has been changed every 5K miles. Engine is still tight and very smooth. I've gotten 36 mpg on the highway. 4 cyl motor(140 HP) with a 5-spd is fine on power. I'm still using the original clutch. Handling and looks are what caused me to buy this car. My black 2 door is beautiful and rare! I'm curious to see how long this car will last. I have no plans to trade. It still looks good and is fun to drive. Very reliable.