2003 BMW 3 Series Review
Pros & Cons
- Luxurious, powerful, exceptional road manners, available all-wheel drive for sedan and wagon.
- Pricey for its market segment, limited rear-seat space and cargo capacity.
List Price Range
$3,500 - $5,995
Used 3 Series for SaleSee all for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Most helpful consumer reviews
325xi AWD 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
I was interested in a compact all-wheel drive sports sedan and test drove both Audi A4s (1.8 and 3.0) and the BMW 325xi. I do not understand how people can say these cars are equivalent. There is no comparison! I may have been biased by the enthusiasm of the BMW salesperson as compared to the Audi salesperson for their respective vehicles, but in my opinion the BMW blew the Audi away. I thought the BMW handled better, accelerated more smoothly, was more solidly constructed, and overall was more fun to drive. Even after driving the 3.0 A4 I still preferred the 325xi.
325i Rwd 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
I bought my 2003 BMW 325I in 2013. At ten years old and 140,000 miles I knew it was a little bit of a risk, but you can pick these up for the same price you'd pay for a Civic in similar condition. BMW or Civic? Come on, no brainer. Fortunately I have a lot of tools and am very mechanically inclined, so I can do all of my own work. I've had to change the water pump, cooling hoses, window motors, and a few little things. With a good internet search and a little ingenuity none of it is a big deal at all. If you plan to pay a dealership for this kind of little stuff, forget it. It's well worth a little work here and there to have a car with a buttery smooth straight 6, and absolutely impeccable handling. Three years later I still enjoy driving it. Sometimes I go to the store in the middle of the night and get my lady some ice cream, really just because I want to drive somewhere. No more Hondayotas in my driveway. They're laughable after driving what is truly the ultimate driving machine. Mine just hit 170k with no current issues at all. I'll get 200+ smiling the whole way. I will warn, however, if you're buying a used one, the maintenance and care that has gone into it previously is of the utmost importance! Check it, double check it, do your research and then check it again!
325i Rwd 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
Let's face it, if you buy a +10 years old car it will need some attention. BMW's are known for being very good machines as long as you take good care of them, they are not cheap to maintain, but (as the title says) you get what you pay for. If you expect to drive a boat like this with a low budget, do yourself a favor, go buy a Toyota. On the other way, If you are handy enough to make some DIY it's the perfect car for you, if you don't have the time/ skills/ place but still want to drive one, find a reputable independent shop that specializes in BMW instead of taking it to a stealership and you'll save some money. It's not a car you can take to Pep Boy's and have it fixed for cheap; you'll end up paying more and losing time. It's worth pay some extra and get it fixed right the first time. Being that said it's a great car, it has 50/50 weight distribution, a traction control that actually works, great handling, acceleration, brakes and a powerful and simple engine. The electronics have their days, sometimes a few things tend to fail (remember, it's a +10 years old car) but nothing that'll leave you on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. The car itself has a level of comfort and security that most base and mid line cars don't have nowadays (heated seats, one touch in the 4 windows, automatic windshield wipers and headlights, rear ventilated discs, lecture lights on the front and back, remote window open and closing). I could sell mine now and buy a new Civic, but I'd be losing comfort, security and the pleasure of driving. You can buy one for cheap, but you are advised they are not cheap to keep running.
330Ci Rwd 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 5M)
I have owned 4 of these 3 series convertibles since 1989 as despite test driving and buying other brands (porsche/Merc/Jag) I keep going back to the 3 series convertible with the straight 6 motor. This car is always a joy to drive, fun and fast and with a tremendous engine sound. My current car a tiptronic 3 ltr is now 15 years old and still runs like new, is cheap to service and at speed is very nimble unlike modern heavy cars. I keep saying to myself I should trade the car but then I get back in the 3, drop the roof and immediatley start smiling. BMW got it right with this car, it will remain a classic. 2018. I love it, amazing ownership experience 15 years on.