2006 BMW 3 Series Review
2006 BMW 3 Series Review
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by the Edmunds Experts
- 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.
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.
Improving upon the ultimate driving machine benchmark, the 2006 BMW 3 Series is unequivocally the best car in the entry-luxury category.
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Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2006 BMW 3 Series 325i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.93 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$218/mo for 3 Series 325i
3 Series 325i
Avg. Compact Car
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.25 out of 5 stars
The life of your car is dependent upon the way you maintain it.
2006 BMW 3 Series 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.
5 out of 5 stars
Luxurious, Sporty, Fun, Eye-catcher, Maintenance.
Fahiem Ahmadi, 12/08/2015
2006 BMW 3 Series 325i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
I own a silver 2006 BMW 325i Sedan 3.0L I6. I honestly can say that i absolutely love this car very deeply. It's way ahead of it's time, people always assume it's a newer model just by looking at it. I surprise everyone when i tell them it is a 2006. This car has a lot to offer, it has the luxury look both outside and inside. A lot of people try to dumb down the 325i model compared to … other cars in it's class performance wise, but i honestly don't believe those people have owned or even been inside this car. For those of us who drive this car on a daily basis you can agree with me when I say this car holds it's own on the road with both top end and acceleration speeds. In the 2 years i've owned this car you can bet i've done some racing on the highways and I have beat some pretty fast cars from G35's, Acura TL's, Lexus IS, Mercedes C/E Class, Other BMW models. This car has some heat in it. Automatic 6 speed tiptronic. Now by no means is this car an M3 or a GTR but when it comes to car's in it's class this is the best, if not one of the best. Handles the road extremely well, it has saved me from some sticky situations with it's handling ability and power steering. The overall design of the car is smooth, elegant and crisp with a driving on glass feel, you can literally be doing 100 mph and feel like the car is going 50. The stock audio system is very high quality both in sound and bass. Depending on what package you get, it comes with climate control, power seats, blue tooth, BMW assist, aux plug. MP3 CD, sun shade and added horsepower. The car is bilingual in it's text. With that being said this car is just about 10 years old now and if your thinking of buying one just know that the initial purchase price is not the problem it is the cost of ownership. Meaning, you will put up some big money to keep this car maintained. I've had this car for 2 years and the initial cost of the car was 16k. Plus -$550 on starter replacement and leak. -$2700 - Water Pump, thermostat, radiator, radiator hose -$543 - Head Gaskett -$434 - Oil Filter housing gasket (2x) -$540 - Belt Tensioner -$1000 - Brake pad, sensors, rotors. -$599 - Spark plugs 1-6 and Ignition coil 3 That is a total of $6366 and not to mention the $200+ a month for insurance .. Gas is decent on this considering the performance factor that comes with this car. The car is fun and exciting to ride in but can be costly. To be honest with you, even though i have broke the bank a few times with this car I truly enjoy driving it and absolutely love this car. If you are single with no kids I would recommend buying this car.
4 out of 5 stars
Very Solid Great Driving Car!
Joel Thomas, 01/29/2016
2006 BMW 3 Series 330i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
Had it 3 1/2 years. 72k when i bought it, 107k now. One owner trade in at the same dealer it was bought new from. I had an issue with the steering column security lock(common) if your handy you can get in there and do some lubing n probably solve the problem. It happened within the first 30 days of ownership, so the dealer replaced it free of charge. gave me a 2013 328i loaner. I was a … little disappointed in the new 328i at first, with the new body style, but it eventually grew on me. but my sports seats vs the standard seats, was a huge difference. Mine is also a 6sp manual, that with the sport seats really make a difference. The N52 engine also has a lifter issue(ticking in the top of the engine) doesn't really hurt anything n the only reason I had them replaced was b/c my extended warranty paid for it, otherwise I probably would have left it alone. the lifters will tick on the rare occasion , but a quick trip with the revs up a bit to pump up the lifters n its quiet as can be. Some people are just not really car people and sometimes are the blame for all the repair bills. I pretty much keep up the maintenance, mostly just keeping the fluids nice an clean. Mine still has the original spark plugs. I will change them soon n probably replace all the coil packs while I'm there. People complaining about coil packs, you can buy a whole set for like 175$ 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!
5 out of 5 stars
The last of the true "ultimate driving machines"
Mike K., 02/19/2016
2006 BMW 3 Series 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.
2006 3 Series Highlights
|Combined MPG||21 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$218/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintPoor
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