2006 BMW 3 Series Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2006 BMW 3 Series Convertible

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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 17/25 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.

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

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Love the car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW 3 Series 330Ci 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

Love the car. Have almost 125k miles and no problems, just the usual oil change, tires, brakes changing. Fun, reliable car. Navigation, while as not touch screen, it does allow my passenger use it, while I'm driving.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW 3 Series 330Ci 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

Thought BMW was a reliable, long lasting car manufacturer, but this adorable car has turned out to be a lemon. The car is very stylish, good body lines and just down right pretty. The auto convertible top is simple and quick to use and still leaves a roomy trunk. Bucket seats are about the most comfortable seats I've owned. Gas mileage is good 25+ mpg on highway and I'm a fast driver. Handling and braking performance are superior. But, it's been one thing after another, mirrors broke, wood look trim cracked, seat belt holders broke, interior door knob broke, window button broke, air vents in dash broke, in-dash cubbyhole storage compartment door broke, delay wipers erratic. Feel deceived

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Last "classic" (e46) 3 series

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW 3 Series 330Ci 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

What a great car! It's a "keeper" for sure. "ZHP" Performance Pkg (+$3900) makes the difference. Handles better than it's Miata predecessor, and is waaay more comfortable. Sure it's not a 300 hp twin turbo powerhouse. But it's such a balanced drive, perfectly mating the 3 liter 6 (235 hp) to the chassis and "M" suspension components. With the 6 spd. manual, we've seen 32 mpg when were forced to cruise down an Interstate. The final iteration of the E46 body, nicely rounded off (vs the angularity of E90s) just seems more appealing to the eye and the overall timelessness of the shape. Get one, if you're at all considering it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

325 ci convertible - awesome

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Vehicle: 2006 BMW 3 Series 325Ci 2dr Convertible (2.5L 6cyl 5M)

I can't tell you how happy I am with this car. The quality of the build and handling are superior. The driver and passenger seats are a little cramped for long road trips, but acceptable for day drives and cruising. I've owned the car for two years and about 18,000 miles - NO issues to date (except for my aftermarket iPod cable which I needed to replace because it shorted out, but BMW took are of that for me). While I like my ragtop, I am looking to move to the new 330 hardtop convertible probably in a year or two. I highly recommend this car - it's a pleasure to own and to drive!

Too much fun

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Vehicle: 2006 BMW 3 Series 330Ci 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

I purchased my 330ci in November 2006. It drives like a dream and because I am a rather short individual, the seats fit better and are more comfortable than any other vehicle I have ever owned. BMW must have listened because my car does not have run flat tires and I have a very quiet ride. I didn't think I would enjoy the convertible as much as I have. It is so easy to use that I take the top down every opportunity I get. I also have the interface for wireless blue tooth that provides total hands free driving. I am so spoiled, I will never have another car without it. Likewise, the heated seats are such a pleasure! Yes, I love my car.

Ditch run flats, then a

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW 3 Series 330Ci 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

I dreamed of owning a BMW for years. I finally bought a used one with 11,000 miles on it last year. What a disappointment. The road noise was horrible and the ride rough. I actually tried to take it back but couldn't. About 3 months ago, my wife got a flat tire and I decided to replace all four tire with regular tires. What a difference. We both love the car now. Ride is quiet and smooth. Totally different car. I bought a new rim and had one of the old run flats put on it and keep it in the trunk as a spare. I also bought a compact jack. Sure it takes up a lot of room and adds weight, but that's a small price to pay for totally changing this car from one I hate to one I love!

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...

Read more about the 2006 BMW 3 Series

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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