Used 2003 BMW 3 Series Consumer Reviews - 446 Car Reviews | Edmunds
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2003 BMW 3 Series - Consumer Reviews

2003 BMW 3 Series

Average Consumer Rating

446 Total Reviews

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Honest Down To Earth Review
18 of 21 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By c_macleod
on

Vehicle

2003 BMW 3 Series 325xi AWD 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M)


Review

Let me be the first to say buying a BMW out of warranty is a risk, that being said if done properly it's one of the best deals out there. If you have the ability to do your own work, the upkeep isn't that bad at all. I rebuilt the entire front end suspension for $600 (chances are you will have to do this as well, it's a consequence of the suspension design) where a mechanic would have charged over 2k. The 325xi is a slug to be honest, it's heavy and not the best on gas. Oddly though, I have great fun with the car and enjoy being in it very much. Great in snow, very safe, sharp looking, and if you have a level head easy to work on and find parts for without paying dealer prices.


Best Features

BMW is very clever with the little things they add that are easy to over look. For example, the driver's door will not lock if it's open whether you're trying to push the lock down manually, or with the remote. When closed, the door locks perfectly. Ever been locked out of your car? it sucks, BMW solved this problem. Between the large trunk, full size spare, ski-bag, built in roof rack mounting points, and spacious interior, this car is a jack of all trades and can tackle most of whatever is thrown at it. But by far the best feature is the AWD. With assisted break and torque transfer to different wheels depending on the traction read by the car, this thing is unstoppable in poor conditions.


Worst Features

Not the best mileage as mentioned, definitely an area for improvement on BMW's end, however it is comparable to AWD competitor cars of its time. Suspension design provides VERY smooth ride, however after 30-40k, the car will need new control arms, bushings, and maybe tierods and strut hats. However this is definitely a DIY job and when doing it, use a Meyle or Lemforder kit, both these companies are BMW part suppliers and you'll get the oem part, it just isn't stamped with the BMW logo, meaning it's MUCH cheaper. This car cannot be run on a stingy budget, when something goes wrong you NEED to fix it. If this is an issue go buy a Honda. This is a higher end car and needs to be treated as such


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HORRIBLE GAS MILEAGE: Convertible - Automatic 2003 330Ci
4 of 6 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By travelgal1
on

Vehicle

2003 BMW 3 Series 325Ci Rwd 2dr Convertible (2.5L 6cyl 5M)


Review

I did all my research before buying the 2003 a few months back.
I thought it would give me good gas mileage; but it is the worse I have ever had.

I average 14.3-15.3 mpg.
I thought it would be at least 20, 21.
I would not have bought if I knew it would be this bad.

I have new tires, tune-up, oil change, runs good.
So there should be no reason why I'm getting such bad mileage.

I like the way the car looks and drives, but sits kind of low to the ground.
A bit hard to get in and out of.

The convertible top works perfectly and I use often.

It costs me $80 to fill up ($4.25 gallon); I work from home and just drive near home to get groceries, bank and take my dog to the park.


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Just keeps getting better!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By bogmailer
on

Vehicle

2003 BMW 3 Series 330Ci Rwd 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 5M)


Review

I have owned 4 of these 3 series convertibles since 1989 as despite test driving and buying other brands (porsche/Merc/Jag) I keep going back to the 3 series convertible with the straight 6 motor.

This car is always a joy to drive, fun and fast and with a tremendous engine sound. My current car a tiptronic 3 ltr is now 8 years old and still runsa like new, is cheap to service and at speed is very nimble unlike modern heavy cars. I keep saying to myself I should trade the car but then I get back in the 3, drop the roof and immediatley start smiling.
BMW got it right with this car, it will remain a classic.


Best Features

The whole car and driving experience.


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Great to drive but poor reliability
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By a_tazmanian
on

Vehicle

2003 BMW 3 Series 330i Rwd 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M)


Review

This was my first and probably last BMW due to very poor reliability.
It has consumed at least a quart of oil between changes since I got got the car- mechanics cannot figure out why (compression is good). AM radio reception is very poor. Side view mirrors started to corrode and turn brown after just a few years. The diver side window got un-hinged after 6 years. AC stopped working after 7 years.
Rear light ground line is undersized and burns out (now a recall). Key re-chargeable battery dies and key has to be replaced for $500.
Windshield wiper fluid container leaked and had to be replaced after 8 years. Plus many other more expected wear/tear and maintenance problems.


Best Features

Fun to drive. Good FM radio. Comfortable seats.


Worst Features

Improve reliability. Most of the problems I encountered are just bad engineering or poor assembly, not related to cost savings. The worst is the undersized ground line. It would have cost nothing more to design the trace on the circuit board wider. Never had anywhere near this many problems with any of my previous Hondas, Toyotas, Lexus' and Acuras.


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Scott's E46 - Ultimate Driving... period.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By scotte46
on

Vehicle

2003 BMW 3 Series 330i Rwd 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M)


Review

I've been a BMW guy for a few years.
I have 3 of them, all purchased with at least 70K miles on them, so I got them pretty cheap.
Started with '97 540i sport, then '02 M5, and recently added '03 330ci sport.
With so many fun cars to drive, it's tough to decide which one I want to use each day.
Most often choose the 330.
Why?
It's just so darn fun to drive on the twisty roads in SW Wisconsin (where I live).
M5 has incredible power and comfort, but the 330 just seems to know where I want to put it in every corner, and its plenty fast.
With 3 cars to share the miles, I haven't been forced to fix much; I do most of the required maint myself and use local Indy for rest.


Best Features

The way it handles on twisty country roads. The whine of the engine at redline in each gear. The simplicity of performing an oil change. How cool the car looks... the coupe is really stunning visually. Way nicer than the latest models. If I had a lot of problems with the car I'd get rid of it like others have done. I just haven't. We'll see. Hey at least I don't have to worry about needing $7K for repairs on the ABC suspension on a C-class MB. Good grief!


Worst Features

Less plastic in the interior. (I'm spoiled by the full-leather package on my M5).


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