2008 BMW 3 Series Review | Edmunds.com

2008 BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 300 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 BMW 3 Series

  • Fully deserving of its popularity, the 2008 BMW 3 Series sets the standard for overall driving enjoyment, luxury and refinement in four different luxury segments. Only its high price will give you pause.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Perfectly sorted vehicle dynamics, potent and refined engines, high-quality interior materials, wide range of configurations, convertible's sleek retractable hardtop.

  • Cons

    Costs more than most competitors, not much interior storage space, navigation system brings with it exasperating iDrive, plain-Jane interior design.

  • What's New for 2008

    Having introduced two all-new body styles last year, the 3 Series undergoes few changes for 2008. Most notable is the addition of the 335xi coupe, which adds all-wheel drive to the turbocharged 3 Series two-door. Sedans and wagons equipped with the six-speed automatic and Sport Package can now be upgraded with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The convertible carries over unchanged.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (13 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Good to drive, but service

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW 3 Series 335xi 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)

I ordered my car a few years ago and for the most part have really liked it with a few caveats. Its been driven to Montana in the snow and handled Seattle snow-pocolypse '09 with flying colors. I think it handles better in the snow than my previous subarus. The caveats: The fuel pump has been replaced twice due to factory flaw (warranty repair) and this series of car has consistent issues with the brakes making noise as you take off (not under braking). BMW currently will not fix it. The service experience has me re-thinking the car. I may go to something smaller and slightly more fuel efficient for commuting. It wouldn't be an issue if I bought a truck, but this is a BMW. I expected more.




Exceeded expectations

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW 3 Series 335xi 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)

This car has been everything I expected and more. There is no other car in this price range that has the combination of handling, performance and overall design appeal. I ordered a 6 speed with white exterior/red interior and aluminum trim; it is stunning in my opinion and draws attention everywhere I go. While the 328 does not have the overall power of the 335, it provides just as much enjoyment as an everyday car. The X- drive handles snow and rain providing a secure feeling on par with Audi's I have owned previously. I look forward to driving every time I get into the car... it is more than transportation, it is a joy to drive.




It is the ultimate driving

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW 3 Series 335xi 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)

I've owned the vehicle for a year, although I'm storing it for the winter, and couldn't love it more. The performance and handling are outstanding (unless you try to drive in 1/2" of snow with the Sports Package). If you really want to have fun with it I highly recommend installing the Dinan Performance Engine Software upgrade. For $2k you can increase the power output to 384hp and the torque to 421lb-ft (and Dinan will match BMW's new car warranty). It's no M but honestly it's plenty fast and nimble for quite a bit less cash. It's sporty and fun when you want it to be yet still smooth and refined.




3rd bmw and very happy

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW 3 Series 335xi 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)

Previously had 99 and 03 6-cylinder 5- series. Wanted a car that was roughly the same size and with 4-wheel drive. The Coupe fit the bill since I don't need the room for the family at this point in my life. I was hesitant about going to a 3-series from the 5ers but after 4K miles I am extremely happy with the car. Not one issue has brought me back to the dealer. Performance all around rocks. Stereo is great. I can even get 29+ MPG doing 70 MPH. Sport seats are a must. Customization of features and access to features such as the iPod interface are very good through the iDrive interface. And come on - this car is a GREAT looking - people even stare at it at night!




335xi coupe

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW 3 Series 335xi 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)

Got the car last October. Nothing but issues with it. Shifts hard, constant jerking. Also experiencing issues with the oil sensor. Today my car has been in the shop for 5 days because of a bad fuel pump apparently. Waiting for BMW to send the part! Not happy with it !




Too fast for commuting

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW 3 Series 335xi 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)

Great car but so powerful you have to be light on the gas in DC rush hour traffic. Make sure to get the leather interior, premium package for max comfort.



Full 2008 BMW 3 Series Review

What's New for 2008

Having introduced two all-new body styles last year, the 3 Series undergoes few changes for 2008. Most notable is the addition of the 335xi coupe, which adds all-wheel drive to the turbocharged 3 Series two-door. Sedans and wagons equipped with the six-speed automatic and Sport Package can now be upgraded with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The convertible carries over unchanged.

Introduction

In the past decade, the BMW 3 Series has been the benchmark against which all other entry-level luxury cars have arguably been designed to compete with and/or beat. To date, a scant few have been able to accomplish the latter. And even when that happens, this Bavarian classic has consistently retaken its crown. Last year saw the addition of a very potent twin-turbo engine and the arrival of fully up-to-date coupe and convertible models. The 2008 BMW 3 Series carries over mostly unchanged and despite fierce competition, retains its benchmark status.

If you're in the market for an entry-level luxury car, chances are there's a 3 Series to consider. There are four body styles, two engines, two transmissions and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. Also, a variety of luxury and performance-oriented options allow you to equip the 3 as luxuriously and/or as sporty as you see fit. Regardless of configuration, this BMW lives up to its "ultimate driving machine" tag line with an unparalleled mix of driving ease and proficiency. Even the convertible model manages to retain much of the 3's handling pedigree, despite its added weight and loss of structural rigidity.

In several comparison tests Edmunds.com conducted over the past year, the 3 Series proved over and over again that it's the top dog in the pound -- especially the 335 and its spectacular turbocharged inline-6. We placed the Infiniti G35 Sport above the 335i sedan in one test, but that was due to the substantial price premium commanded by the Bimmer. In fact, the 3 Series' price is its only significant detriment -- a fully loaded 335i sedan can reach $50,000, while the convertible touches 60 large. "Entry level" it ain't.

If price or getting the latest electronic goodies is more important to you, competitors like the Infiniti G35/G37, Cadillac CTS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Volvo C70 are very attractive competitors. Even when discussing driving enjoyment, most deliver at a level that many consumers will find extremely rewarding and downright fun. Still, the 2008 BMW 3 Series remains the benchmark. As always, it provides a tremendous mix of handling, ride quality, performance, luxury and styling. Heck, it's even pretty fuel efficient. For an entry-level luxury car, this is our top choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

A compact entry-level luxury car, the 2008 BMW 3 Series is available in sedan, coupe, hardtop convertible and wagon body styles. All come in a rear-wheel-drive 328i trim level, while the coupe, sedan and wagon also come in all-wheel-drive 328xi trim. In addition, the convertible, coupe and sedan are available as the rear-drive 335i, and the sedan and coupe are available as the all-wheel-drive 335xi.

Standard equipment on the 328 models includes 16-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a sunroof, leatherette upholstery, real walnut wood trim, automatic climate control and a 10-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. Coupe and convertible versions of the 328 come with slightly more equipment. The coupe also has a sport-tuned suspension while the convertible has a power-retractable hardtop. In addition to its more powerful engine, the 335 model has power front seats and a premium Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound system.

Most 3 Series cars you encounter on dealer lots will be equipped with the Premium Package, and many will have both the Premium and Sport Packages. The Premium Package provides leather upholstery (heat-reflective in the convertible), a full set of auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth, BMW Assist telematics, and on 328 models, power seats. The Sport Package specifies a firmer suspension on convertibles, sedans and wagons, along with larger wheels, performance tires, sport seats and a higher top-speed limiter.

Stand-alone extras include an iDrive-based navigation system with real-time traffic updates, active steering, adaptive cruise control, keyless startup (known as Comfort Access), heated front seats and satellite radio. Paddle shifters can be added to models equipped with the automatic transmission and the Sport Package. You can also replace the standard walnut interior accents with either light poplar or aluminum trim at no additional cost.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2008 BMW 328i and 328xi are powered by a 3.0-liter inline-6 rated at 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. The 335i and 335xi are powered by a heavily modified, twin-turbocharged version of the same 3.0-liter engine that produces an impressive 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is the standard gearbox and a six-speed automatic is optional. In performance testing, the turbocharged 3 Series sedan and coupe raced up to 60 mph in fewer than 5 seconds -- about the same as the last M3. The heavier 335xi and convertible 335i are a tad slower. Expect the 328i to be in the mid-6-second range, which is hardly pokey.

Despite its potent power plants, the 3 Series remains fuel efficient. The 328 gets about 17-18 mpg in the city and 25-28 mpg on the highway, depending on the body style, transmission and drivetrain. A rear-drive 335i has a 17/26 mpg rating regardless of transmission.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2008 BMW 3 Series includes antilock disc brakes, dynamic brake control, stability control, run-flat tires, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The convertible lacks the side curtains, but the regular front side airbags extend up to head level and there are also pop-up rollover hoops. The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors when the windshield wipers are in use (wet brakes don't stop so well) and snugging the pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle, which quickens brake responsiveness.

In government crash tests, the sedan and wagon received four out of five stars for frontal collision protection and five stars for side protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash testing, both the sedan and convertible received the highest rating of "Good." In the IIHS side crash test, the sedan received a "Good," while the convertible received a third-best "Marginal" rating.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 3 Series interiors provide a restrained show of luxury. Though a tad plain, the emphasis, through items such as supportive seats and clean analog gauges, is on driver comfort and involvement. Materials are high in quality and build quality is exceptional; indeed, even the standard leatherette (vinyl) upholstery looks and feels better than one would expect. The convertible's available industry-first heat-reflective leather does a wonderful job of keeping occupants' posteriors cool. We'd steer clear of the optional navigation system, though, as its accompanying iDrive interface is very unintuitive.

The front seats have enough firm support to ward off fatigue during a day's worth of driving, while the rear seats are adequately roomy for adults on shorter trips and plenty accommodating for children. Trunk space is average in sedans and coupes, while the wagon offers a maximum cargo capacity of 61 cubic feet. The convertible offers a reasonable cargo hold when the hardtop is up, but it shrinks considerably when the top is lowered.

Driving Impressions

There's no going wrong with either of the engines available in the 2008 BMW 3 Series. The standard, normally aspirated engine is a little light on low-end torque, but it moves the car around smartly and provides slightly better mileage. Meanwhile, the twin-turbo engine provides the kind of acceleration formerly associated with the high-performance M3.

No matter which model you choose, the 3 Series' world-class suspension, steering and brakes will 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. At the same time, the 3 Series is an ideal long-distance cruiser, delivering both a comfortably controlled ride and a quiet cabin environment.

Talk About The 2008 3 Series

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 16
  • cty
/
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs