2006 BMW 3 Series Review | Edmunds.com

2006 BMW 3 Series

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
BMW 3 Series Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 184 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 BMW 3 Series

  • Improving upon the ultimate driving machine benchmark, the 2006 BMW 3 Series is unequivocally the best car in the entry-luxury category.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Still the standard when it comes to perfectly sorted vehicle dynamics, high-quality interior materials, wide range of configurations to suit any style, available all-wheel drive for sedan and wagon.

  • Cons

    Still costs more than most of its competitors, lacking in interior storage space.

  • What's New for 2006

    The BMW 3 Series sedan and wagon have been completely redesigned for 2006. Major highlights include new features, more powerful engines, a slightly larger interior and the incorporation of BMW's latest exterior styling elements. The 3 Series coupe and convertible are unchanged this year but will eventually move over to the new platform being used for the sedan and wagon; expect to see a new hardtop convertible for the 2008 model year.

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

Fun but expensive to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2005 BMW 3 Series

The Germans know how to make a great driving car. The combination of ride and handling, performance and comfort has been elusive for North American and Asian car manufacturers alike - but the Germans have been doing it for years. I bought my 2005 330Ci M Sport used in 2013 with under 40K miles to replace my 2001 Porsche Boxster (also with 40K miles) because I needed a back seat for my kids in my summer daily driver. Having owned a BMW before, I knew I was getting into a high-maintenance car. In my experience, these cars cost more to run than modern Porsches. Be prepared to buy the parts and do the work yourself, or pay big labour bills.

12 of 19 people found this review helpful

E46 - the good and

by on
Vehicle: 2005 BMW 3 Series

My wife bought a used '05 325i in mid '09 with 80k miles. There were a few minor things the car needed and I am a former mechanic, so I had checked the car over well enough to know it wasn't in terrible shape. The issues were minimal at first but then the list started and hasn't stopped. We have put 60k miles on this 9 year old car and have done the following; various plastic clips/parts all over the car, windshield washer pump, coolant hoses and expansion tank, oil filter housing gasket, front control arm bushings, belt tensioners and idlers, A/C evaporator core, transmission service, two window regulators, fuel pump & filter, etc. I could go on but I'm out of space. Plan on spending a lot.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

If you want value, don't

by on
Vehicle: 2005 BMW 3 Series

I purchased a new BMW 325xi in the spring of 2005. It ran great the first 4 years without many problems. Then when the warranty expired 4 years later it all went south. My bills at the mechanic (not the dealership) were regularly in the thousands, not hundreds. I had to have the control arms replaced twice--fortunately the second time was under the mechanic's warranty. I then had to put about $3K into the engine 7.5 years after buying it. Finally the last straw was when the control arms had to be replaced for the third time. Got me for a tie rod assembly too-- almost $3K. This car is like an abusive spouse. Each time I thought it would be the last expensive repair. It never was.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2005 BMW 3 Series

I have owned my 2005 325i Automatic for a little over a year putting 14k miles on it (Im 17). I have had so many problems, I purchased the car for $10k with 116k miles on it. I have put over $5000 in repairs, every month it seemed to be a new problem. I still have yet to fix a leak in my power steering rack that will cost about $1700. Worst first car. Too much to take care of, sadly the carfax is clean on it too which makes it really strange. Take my advice and do not but this car. I feel I just got a problematic car. Shunned upon BMW now, I love how it runs just too many repairs. Getting rid of it hopefully soon.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great used car

by on
Vehicle: 2005 BMW 3 Series

I bought this '05 in Jan/2012 therefore was a 7 yr old car with only 48k mi when I purchased it. It came with most goodies except for Navi or leather. It's my wife's car so we have put only 7k mi in a year. I love the weight distribution of the car. The dimensions are flawless and it trully drives like a new car. It was well taken care of by prior owners and it shows. MPG is ok, I get usually 23.5 combined. It gets way better once on the road, I can get about 27 under normal driving conditions. I was hesitant to get a used/out of warranty BMW as repairs could be costly but so far it was been pretty reliable. I do recommend this as a used car purchase.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Not a problem 60k to

by on
Vehicle: 2005 BMW 3 Series

Bought this car when I got tired of my Mazda6, I dont know why the other reviewers seemed to have such bad problems. I have only had to do normal maintenance ie brakes ect. The only thing I did have to replace was the front control arm bushings which is normal on these cars and can be done cheaply if you do it yourself vs go to a stealership. The car handles great and made me a lifer with BMW always puts a smile on my face and is extremely fun to drive. I will drive it till I cant drive it any more. My next car will with out a doubt be a BMW, it may be an older gen but still looks great and the people who have driven it ended up selling their cars for a BMW. Once your hooked your hooked!!!!!


Full 2006 BMW 3 Series Review

What's New for 2006

The BMW 3 Series sedan and wagon have been completely redesigned for 2006. Major highlights include new features, more powerful engines, a slightly larger interior and the incorporation of BMW's latest exterior styling elements. The 3 Series coupe and convertible are unchanged this year but will eventually move over to the new platform being used for the sedan and wagon; expect to see a new hardtop convertible for the 2008 model year.


The baby Bimmer has grown up for 2006. The sixth-generation 3 Series is slightly larger, heavier and faster than the previous 3, which was introduced in sedan form in 1999, followed by the coupes, the convertible and the wagon in 2000. An even better car overall, the 2006 BMW 3 Series has a bolder look, revised suspension and braking, more power and more interior space. BMW's infamous iDrive is now available in the 3 Series, but is thankfully optional (packaged with a navigation system), and the rest of the interior is a model of precision design.

For now, only the sedan and wagon benefit from the complete makeover. The 2006 3 Series coupe and convertible remain unchanged but will likely be merged into a single convertible model with a retractable hardtop design for the 2008 model year. The new 3 Series sedan is again badged as a 325 or 330, although both now use a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder. The 325 is rated at 215 hp, while the 330's engine comes with a three-stage induction system and different exhaust and powertrain software that result in 255 hp. The optional Active Steering system features a variable ratio that turns the front wheels to a greater degree relative to steering wheel movement at low speeds (such as parking lots and tight corners), and even countersteers if the stability control system senses a slide.

The 3 Series is BMW's top seller in the U.S., and for good reason -- endowed with world-class suspension, steering and brake components, these cars have an ability to communicate with their drivers that is unmatched in the entry-level luxury class and, indeed, unmatched by most cars at any price. Lest you think this adroit handling comes at the expense of ride quality, rest assured that BMW still realizes the importance of comfortable cruising. Whether you choose the standard suspension or the optional sport-tuned setup, you'll be able to go about your weekday routine without feeling that you've sacrificed ride comfort for the sake of weekend thrills. Overall, the BMW 3 Series cars tend to cost more than the competition, but if you go easy on the options, we think you'll find that the price of admission is well worth it.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The BMW 3 Series lineup includes the 325i and 330i sedans, the 325xi all-wheel-drive sedan and wagon, the 330xi all-wheel-drive sedan, and coupe and convertible versions of the 325Ci and 330Ci. Because the sedan and wagon are all-new designs, there are slight variations between them and the two-door coupe and convertible in regard to standard and optional equipment. Standard features on 325 models include automatic climate control, one-touch power windows, a power moonroof, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a CD player and keyless entry. The 330 model adds upgraded wheels, a sport suspension and a Logic 7 premium sound system. Various options include a DVD-based navigation system with iDrive, adaptive xenon headlights, parking sensors, active cruise control, leather seating and active steering. The optional Performance Package includes tighter suspension tuning, performance tires, a higher speed limiter and sport seats.

Powertrains and Performance

The 325 sedan and wagon models are powered by a 3.0-liter inline six that makes 215 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. The 330 sedans have a higher-performance version of the same engine that generates 255 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. BMW 325Ci coupes and convertibles have a 2.5-liter inline six that makes 184 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, while the 330Ci's 3.0-liter engine generates 225 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque. Most 3 Series models come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. The exceptions are the 325Ci models, which have a five-speed. A six-speed automatic is optional for the sedans and wagon; the coupe and convertible's have a five-speed automatic. BMW's Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) is also available on select models. The 3 Series is typically rear-drive, though models with an "x" designation are all-wheel drive.


Most BMW 3 Series models include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, dynamic brake control, front-seat-mounted side airbags and head curtain airbags for the front and rear. The sedan's and wagon's stability control system integrates several brake-related features, such as wiping the pads in the rain (wet brakes don't stop too well) and snugging the pads to the rotors when the driver lifts off the throttle, which increases brake responsiveness. In IIHS tests, the 3 Series earned a "Good" rating (the best possible) for its protection of occupants in front-offset and side-impact crashes. The NHTSA awarded the vehicle four out of five stars for front-impact safety and five stars for side-impact safety.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside BMW 3 Series sedans, drivers will find a restrained show of luxury, wherein the emphasis is on driver comfort and involvement, hence the supportive seats and clean analog gauges. Materials are high in quality and build quality is exceptional; indeed, even the standard leatherette upholstery looks and feels better than you would expect.

Driving Impressions

The BMW 3 Series never fails to impress us. Its world-class suspension, steering and brakes provide hours of entertainment on twisty two-lane highways -- beyond simply feeling rock-solid when hustled around turns, this car communicates with the driver in a manner that inspires confidence no matter what kind of driving you're doing. And you don't have to give up a comfortable ride to get this kind of athleticism.

Read our BMW 330i Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test


Talk About The 2006 3 Series

2006 BMW 3 Series Discussions See all Started By

I just read the message below on TireRack.com and it made me wonder what kind of opinions and experiences 2006 3-Series owners were having. Please share....

Time for a 3-series remodel! The lights are gonna look like the ones on the 7-series right now, and will look like the xActivity vehicle. Here's a pic: http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid51/pbd?...

Does anyone have any information on the 2007 3 series sedans? I just test drove a 2006 325xi and am considering buying one in the next month or so but do not want to pay 38k+ with options when the 20...

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