Used 2003 BMW 3 Series Consumer Reviews - 443 Car Reviews | Edmunds

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2003 BMW 3 Series

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443 Total Reviews

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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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Overall, not many problems
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By snwbrd26
on

Vehicle

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


Review

I bought this car with 64k miles on it, and brought it in once for a 'check-up' around 80k and recently around 120k. I don't know if I've been lucky, but I have had hardly any problems with this car. There was a coolant leak the first time around, and this time was rear springs, valve cover oil leak, front breaks and rotors, with a full inspection (with my car being over 120k miles, I expected more). I had more problems with my VW. I have saved by changing my own oil (which is simpler than my VW was) and I've changed the window mechanism myself, which is easy if you take 3 mins to google how to change it. I love this car, and intend to run it to the ground.
Yes, dealer costs are expensive.


Best Features

Air conditioning and heat kick on fast, Love how the radio tells you what's playing, drifts like a champ ;) , sucks in the snow (if you wanna have fun!) otherwise it's awesome in the snow with cheap all-season tires, decent gas mileage for a 6/four wheel drive, I just really love this car and will definitely be purchasing another when it runs its course.


Worst Features

Was slightly disappointed with some of the electronic features as compared to other company's of that year, electronics in general (but that's German cars for you!


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Will not own another BMW
11 of 23 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By outdoorzdude
on

Vehicle

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


Review

Never own a BMW out of warranty.
I sold my 2003 325i I purchased brand new and maintain impeccably for 150,000 highway miles, kept it 100k miles too long.
It’s like they used to say about boats, “the happiest day, is the day you bought it and the day you sell it.”
Though that is unfair to boats, as I have a 20 year old boat with a two-stoke Yamaha that has not given me one-tenth the problems this car has and judging from the online forums, I am not alone.
Alternators, radiators, water pumps, valve cover gaskets, fuel pumps, window regulators, final stage resistors, seatbelt tensioners, the list goes on and on.
Avoid these cars unless you like to work on high tech autos for fun.


Best Features

Fuel Efficiency, Sporty driveability.


Worst Features

Stop using cheap materials that will knowingly wear out in order to increase dealer service profits. Used better engineered materials/parts to imporve reliability.


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Fun to Drive, Not Fun to Fix
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By afski786
on

Vehicle

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


Review

I bought this car in March 2011 with 107,000 miles at the time. It's a great car to drive, and looks awesome. However, there have been several maintenance problems. First, when I bought it, it was missing the rain gutter on both sides. Getting those fixed was around $300. After a few months and 3000 miles, the starter went out and they also found the water pump needed replacing, both around $1,100. Then a few months later the thermostat, drive belts, CV Boots, and lower control arm busings needed to be fixed, $2400. Then the rain gutter clip broke, and finally the coolant tank, another $350. I wouldn't buy a BMW out of warranty; I thought they would be better mechanically but I was wrong


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