2001 BMW 3 Series Review

Pros & Cons

  • Luxurious, powerful, exceptional road manners, available all-wheel drive for sedan and wagon.
  • Pricey for their market segment, limited cargo capacity.
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Edmunds' Expert Review

If you've got the bucks, this is unequivocally the best sedan in the entry-luxury category.

Vehicle overview

In typical BMW fashion, the 3 Series lineup is being introduced in stages. The first models to change were the sedans, followed by the coupes, the convertible, and the wagon. This allows BMW to maintain customer interest in their best-selling platform over the course of several years.

Sedan buyers can choose from an upgraded 2.5-liter inline six (models with this powerplant will now use the numerical designation of 325) that now makes 184 horsepower, or a new-for-2001 3.0-liter inline six (330 models). The latter engine, which debuted in the X5 3.0i, replaces the 2.8-liter engine across BMW's entire product line. Bumping horsepower and torque from the former engine's 193 and 206, respectively, to 225 and 214 in the 3.0-liter adds some noticeable punch to the 3 Series and helps keep it ahead of rivals like the Audi A4 and new Lexus IS 300.

Riding on the same platform, the 3 Series sedans, coupes and convertible receive a standard five-speed manual transmission, a sport-tuned suspension, and ventilated front and rear disc brakes. Two versions of the coupe are available: the 325Ci, with the aforementioned 2.5-liter inline six, and the 330Ci with the more powerful 3.0-liter engine, larger brakes and standard 17-inch wheels. The more powerful 330 coupe reaches 60 from zero in just 6.4 seconds and features a broad torque band. Both engines meet low-emission vehicle (LEV) standards. A five-speed Steptronic automanual transmission is available for those who don't want to shift their own gears.

Another new option for 2001 is all-wheel drive. Derived from the all-wheel-drive system found in the X5, "xi" models split 38 percent of the engine's power to the front wheels and 62 percent to the rear. The AWD package also includes a 0.7-inch increase in ride height and is available on both 325 and 330 sedans as well as the 325 wagon.

If you opt for the 325Ci convertible, you'll have to lower the top manually unless you pop the extra cash for the power top, but 330Ci consumers get this perk standard. All convertibles come with a glass rear window and rollover protection. Wagon buyers will appreciate the touring models standard roof rack and rear window wiper, but, as with the sedan, don't expect to carry full-sized adults in the backseat for long periods of time.

Safety equipment on all 3 Series models includes All-Season Traction (AST) and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), along with dual front airbags, door-mounted side airbags and BMW's patented Head Protection System (HPS). New for 2001 is Dynamic Brake Control, which reinforces the driver's effort during emergency braking. Rear side airbags and xenon headlights remain optional.

With the arrival of all-wheel drive and more powerful inline six cylinders, only one 3 Series model still offers superior performance; the all-new M3.

2001 Highlights

A boost in engine displacement and technology, plus an available all-wheel-drive system keeps BMW's venerable 3 Series at the top of its game in the competitive entry-level luxury market. Larger wheels and brakes are part of the engine upgrade. Two-stage front airbags, reduced steering effort, a Cold Weather package and Dynamic Brake Control round out the major changes for 2001.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2001 BMW 3 Series.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

This car is like a needy but beautiful girlfriend
325i Rwd 4dr Sport Wagon (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
Seriously. This car needs attention. Do not buy it if you are not willing to give it attention. I'm not sure if I can make that any clearer. I purchased this car as a graduation present to myself with money that I had saved up working throughout high school when I graduated in 2011. My dad and I are both car nerds. I wanted something that was sporty and had a manual transmission and wasn't your typical Mustang etc. I settled on this car after finding a 2001 Sedan with the manual with ~63k on it. I will admit that the first ~20k miles were somewhat rough. We probably spent an additional $2-3k catching up on some maintenance that the previous owner had neglected to do, and the dreaded Check Engine light did come on more than I would have liked. Honestly, the vast majority of those repairs were things like oxygen sensors where we could've just fixed it ourselves and have been done with it. This car really isn't terribly hard to work on. I am no mechanic, but I've fixed quite a few things on this car, and it's saved me a ton of money. If you don't feel comfortable fixing it yourself find a good independent shop in your area. The dealer will screw you out the butt when it comes to repair costs. I will say that the car has never left me stranded, and that's not something you can say about a 2001 Mercedes. Trust me. Like I said earlier. The car needs attention. Make sure to change its fluids and keep a watch out for weird noises, smells, and drivetrain peculiarities (read driveability issues). Doing this will eliminate over half of the possible repair scenarios people have described in these reviews. I'm quite positive that the majority of those leaving negative reviews bought an older BMW expecting it to be just as great on maintenance as a Honda. It is not a Honda; however, if you take care of this car, it will take care of you. Over the last 40k miles or so the only money I have put into this car is consumables (oil, tires, spark plugs, etc), an ignition coil ($75), power steering hoses (~$250), and a dirty injector. I would also like to point out that I would get the manual if I were looking to purchase another one of these, as there are a lot of complaints related to the automatic. The stick is way more fun, it makes the car quicker to 60 (by a full second!), and it's pretty bulletproof. Nuff said. Now to the part about this girlfriend being beautiful, and I'm not just talking about this car's good looks. This car is THE BEST car when it comes to driving. Not even a modern BMW rivals the steering feel and handling these old E46's have. With the manual transmission this car is sublime. The 330i is comfortable, it's powerful, it handles, and it's relatively quiet. It's not a drag car, but it is amazingly well balanced and fun to drive. Relatively good gas mileage too. In short, this car is so much fun. Sure, the interior plastics do have a tendency to be brittle after 15 years of sitting in the sun. Sure, parts are more expensive than parts for a Civic. And sure, there are cheaper cars to buy. What there aren't are better driving cars. I've had mine for four years and 60k miles, and the only car I would dream of getting rid of it for is an M3.
What a Thrill
325Ci Rwd 2dr Convertible (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
I purchased this car used with 70,018 miles from a reputable BMW dealer. This is my first BMW. I was skeptical buying this car with so many miles but have no regrets. Purchasing this car from a "BMW Dealer" helped ease my worries. I subsequently had the car checked by a certified BMW mechanic. The Dealer replaced the control arms, tires, brakes, and rotors. It helped that this car had only "one owner," I only replaced the thermostat at 79K miles. It was suggested I replace the overflow bottle as well before driving from Philadelphia, PA to Tulsa, OK (1300 total miles). Since then, I have driven to Philadelphia (2600 total miles) and back to Tulsa with no problems.
330 Ci Bought Based on Reviews Here
330Ci Rwd 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl 5M)
I bought my '01 with 124k on it back in '08 based on a bulk of the reviews from this site and research I've done from other sites. Sure you're going to find people that complain that things went wrong but I was thinking of a used car with a lot of miles. I've replaced control arm bushings, water pump, coolant resevoir, valve cover gasket. I learned how to do most of the work myself so the cost is minimal and at times the work enjoyable/rewarding. Expensive to maintain? Sure as with ANY car if you take it to the dealers. If you're looking for low maintenance neither this car nor ANY used car is it. Leasing is your option.
I get why they're so notoriously popular
325i Rwd 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
I feel more confident in this car's handling, safety, and build quality than I've felt with any other car I've driven, even much newer cars. It's like a suit that's been tailored to your every curve and line and fits like a glove. Nothing is out of place. Then again, nothing is extremely endearing either. It's staid and true, if a little conservative. But damn is it great! Despite its age, everything works and it feels like a car that's been around only a few years. Its timeless styling still holds up on a road full of cars 10-15 years newer; you'd never know it was designed last century. Its faults are few, some significant, but none deal-breaking. Dat engine tho! My God, that engine.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2001 BMW 3 Series

Used 2001 BMW 3 Series Overview

The Used 2001 BMW 3 Series is offered in the following submodels: 3 Series Sedan, 3 Series Coupe, 3 Series Convertible, 3 Series Wagon. Available styles include 325i Rwd 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M), 330i Rwd 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M), 330Ci Rwd 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl 5M), 325Ci Rwd 2dr Convertible (2.5L 6cyl 5M), 325Ci Rwd 2dr Coupe (2.5L 6cyl 5M), 325xi AWD 4dr Sport Wagon (2.5L 6cyl 5M), 330Ci Rwd 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 5M), 330xi AWD 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M), 325i Rwd 4dr Sport Wagon (2.5L 6cyl 5M), and 325xi AWD 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M). Pre-owned BMW 3 Series models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine or a 3.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 225 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2001 BMW 3 Series comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual. The Used 2001 BMW 3 Series comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2001 BMW 3 Series?

Price comparisons for Used 2001 BMW 3 Series trim styles:

  • The Used 2001 BMW 3 Series 330i is priced between $6,990 and$6,990 with odometer readings between 110178 and110178 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2001 BMW 3 Serieses are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2001 BMW 3 Series for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2001 3 Serieses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,990 and mileage as low as 110178 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2001 BMW 3 Series.

Can't find a used 2001 BMW 3 Seriess you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW 3 Series for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $20,226.

Find a used BMW for sale - 5 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $13,937.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW 3 Series for sale - 8 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $19,173.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 8 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $8,019.

Should I lease or buy a 2001 BMW 3 Series?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out BMW lease specials
Check out BMW 3 Series lease specials