2006 BMW 3 Series Review

Pros & Cons

  • 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.
  • Still costs more than most of its competitors, lacking in interior storage space.
List Price Range
$5,500 - $9,994

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Improving upon the ultimate driving machine benchmark, the 2006 BMW 3 Series is unequivocally the best car in the entry-luxury category.

Vehicle overview

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.

2006 BMW 3 Series models

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.

2006 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 BMW 3 Series.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

The life of your car is dependent upon the way you maintain it.
jatoops,03/01/2014
330xi 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
I've never read so many poor reviews on a vehicle that was the World Car of the Year for 2006 (its first year of production). I used to be a BMW service employee at Bill Jacobs BMW of Naperville. I saw countless '06 325i's and 330i's. Shockingly, the customers who performed recommended services at the right times rarely had complaints regarding the 3's reliability, and since returned to buy newer models. BMW's aren't made to be run into the ground by drivers who have zero regard for taking care of their car. I've loyally taken care of my car. It's 8 years old with 82,000 miles and all I've replaced unexpectedly is a taillight bulb. Take care of your cars, you'll be amazed at the difference.
The last of the true "ultimate driving machines"
Mike K.,02/19/2016
330Ci 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
A solidly built car with excellent handling, thanks to steering that puts you in touch with the road, and a suspension that provides a nice compromise between comfort and cornering stability. An exceptionally smooth running engine provides good acceleration; controls that are intuitive and well laid out. A true driver's car for those willing to accept older BMWs' need for relatively frequent and high cost maintenance.
Very Solid Great Driving Car!
Joel Thomas,01/29/2016
330i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
Had it 3 1/2 years. 72k when i bought it, 107k now. One owner trade in at the same dealer it was bought new from. I had an issue with the steering column security lock(common) if your handy you can get in there and do some lubing n probably solve the problem. It happened within the first 30 days of ownership, so the dealer replaced it free of charge. gave me a 2013 328i loaner. I was a little disappointed in the new 328i at first, with the new body style, but it eventually grew on me. but my sports seats vs the standard seats, was a huge difference. Mine is also a 6sp manual, that with the sport seats really make a difference. The N52 engine also has a lifter issue(ticking in the top of the engine) doesn't really hurt anything n the only reason I had them replaced was b/c my extended warranty paid for it, otherwise I probably would have left it alone. the lifters will tick on the rare occasion , but a quick trip with the revs up a bit to pump up the lifters n its quiet as can be. Some people are just not really car people and sometimes are the blame for all the repair bills. I pretty much keep up the maintenance, mostly just keeping the fluids nice an clean. Mine still has the original spark plugs. I will change them soon n probably replace all the coil packs while I'm there. People complaining about coil packs, you can buy a whole set for like 175$ n they are easy to install. Water pumps can be a little pricey, but if you buy the parts online(same as dealer) you can save hundreds of dollars. I still have the original water pump n I've seen them go to well over 150k for some people. It's only a one time repair so it's not that big of a deal. If you take care of the car n don't beat it up, it will give you many years of great service n be a pleasure to drive. Many of these on the road now with well over 200k. Just don't go to the dealer every time you hear a little squeak b/c they will find something wrong guaranteed! If you suspect something, google it or ask some honest mechanics, most of the time it will be something minor or nothing at all. Also has some great bun warmers!! n yes the window switch is a little too far forward for some, but not a real issue for me. It's nice just touching the door handle and it unlocks n no need to insert the key, as long as its in the car somewhere, it will start. (convenience access option). N most of the cooling system parts other than the water pump are actually very reasonably priced. Check around b4 you buy anything from the dealer. I got my battery from walmart (made by the same people n looked identical except for the color. $119 at walmart n $300+ at the dealer. but always check b/c the dealer will surprise u sometimes. Great drivers car( not a drag car), but has a nice smooth engine that seems to pull forever and it's at home doing 100mph on the freeway on cruising a nice curvy back road. I luv it as much now as when i bought it. I can drive my dads honda accord(very good car), and when I get back in the 06 bmw 330i, I really appreciate the bmw. drive it responsibly and keep your fluids up and it will give you many years of service. Don't forget that automatic trans, find you someone that is competent and let them do a fluid n filter change, then maybe a drain n refill sometime soon after that and it will serve u well. Great Car!
Suburb driving machine
donkeypunch321,08/16/2014
330xi 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
The way this car pulls, brakes and handles is nothing short of perfection. After having this car in the shop (for water damage that was my fault) I got a 2010 Passat rental. I am glad I did as it just made me appreciate the performance of this BMW all the more. One major flaw though is that all the wiring is beneath the floor carpeting and the panels actually lead the water to the electrical wiring and modules (super poor design). So when I left my windows open and it rained, it fried my electrical wiring and burnt a hole in my carpet ($6000 bill). ***So make sure you get quality rubber mats to keep rain and snow from penetrating the carpet from your shoes or windows open when it rains.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
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
    Poor
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2006 BMW 3 Series

Used 2006 BMW 3 Series Overview

The Used 2006 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 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 330i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 330xi 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 325xi 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 330Ci 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 325Ci 2dr Convertible (2.5L 6cyl 5M), 325xi 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 330Ci 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl 6M), and 325Ci 2dr Coupe (2.5L 6cyl 5M). Pre-owned BMW 3 Series models are available with a 3.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 255 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2006 BMW 3 Series comes with rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual. The Used 2006 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 2006 BMW 3 Series?

Price comparisons for Used 2006 BMW 3 Series trim styles:

  • The Used 2006 BMW 3 Series 325i is priced between $9,994 and$9,994 with odometer readings between 87284 and87284 miles.
  • The Used 2006 BMW 3 Series 325xi is priced between $7,995 and$7,995 with odometer readings between 87998 and87998 miles.
  • The Used 2006 BMW 3 Series 330Ci is priced between $10,995 and$10,995 with odometer readings between 64650 and64650 miles.
  • The Used 2006 BMW 3 Series 330xi is priced between $5,500 and$5,500 with odometer readings between 143613 and143613 miles.

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Which used 2006 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) 2006 BMW 3 Series for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2006 3 Serieses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,500 and mileage as low as 64650 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 2006 BMW 3 Series.

Can't find a used 2006 BMW 3 Seriess you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW 3 Series for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $16,490.

Find a used BMW for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $21,363.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW 3 Series for sale - 9 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $12,235.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 6 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $10,980.

Should I lease or buy a 2006 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