Used 2007 BMW 3 Series Sedan
- Still the standard when it comes to perfectly sorted vehicle dynamics, potent and sophisticated engines, high-quality interior materials, wide range of configurations to suit any taste, available all-wheel drive.
- Costs more than most competitors, not much interior storage space.
Used 2007 BMW 3 Series Sedan for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Fully deserving of its popularity, the 2007 BMW 3 Series sets the standard for overall driving enjoyment, luxury and refinement in an entry-level luxury car. Only its high price will give you pause.
If you're thinking about buying an entry-level luxury car this year, your attention will undoubtedly turn to the 2007 BMW 3 Series, which we consider the top candidate in this class by a significant margin. Whether your priority is an engaging driving experience, an elegant cabin environment or simply curbside prestige, this car delivers in spades.
The sedan and wagon were completely redesigned for 2006, and this year the coupe and convertible get the same ground-up makeover. The coupe is longer and lower than the previous-generation two-door, and with its tidier tail design, it's arguably more attractive than the sedan. Much the same can be said of the late-arriving convertible, as its retractable hardtop gives it much the same look as the coupe with the top raised. With the top down, the 3 Series convertible offers clean, uninterrupted lines. The hardtop itself is comprised of three folding steel panels which, mechanisms and all, pad on an additional 450 pounds over the 3 Series coupe. In order to maintain optimal front-to-rear weight distribution in the pudgier convertible, plastic quarter panels are used up front. According to BMW, these new panels are not only 50 percent lighter than equivalent steel versions, they're also dent-resistant.
The other major development for 2007 is the arrival of a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine -- it's the first turbocharged gasoline BMW engine in decades. Standard on the top-line 335i convertible, coupe and sedan (which supersede last year's 330 models), this force-fed 3.0-liter inline-6 foregos the aluminum-magnesium block found in the normally aspirated version in favor of an all-aluminum block. It also uses the latest direct-fuel-injection technology, which improves efficiency and performance by contributing to a cooler intake charge, thus allowing a high 10.2:1 compression ratio. Turbo lag is essentially nonexistent, giving the new engine the feel of a much larger normally aspirated engine. Meanwhile, last year's 325 models give way to the 328i and 328xi, which still have a 3.0-liter engine but are now rated for 230 hp and 200 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is a new option on the coupe, and unlike last year, buyers have the option of getting a rear-drive wagon.
With its extensive array of body styles and drivetrain configurations, the 2007 BMW 3 Series will accommodate just about anybody's tastes. Want a sport sedan or sport coupe? Go with the twin-turbo engine, a manual gearbox and the optional sport suspension. Or, you can play up the luxury angle by adding the Premium Package and an automatic transmission. Choose all-wheel drive and the compact Bimmer becomes a capable snowbelt car. The major knock against the 3 Series has always been its high price of admission, as comparably equipped versions of the Acura TL, Audi A4, Infiniti G35, Lexus IS, Saab 9-3 and Volvo C70/S40/V50 can all be had for less money -- in some cases, substantially less. These cars are all worth considering if you're mainly looking for a luxury experience, but for those who put driving dynamics above all other concerns, none will satisfy like the BMW 3 Series.
Trim levels & features
A compact entry-level luxury car, the 2007 BMW 3 Series is available in convertible, coupe, sedan and wagon body styles. All body styles come in a rear-wheel-drive 328i trim level, while the coupe, sedan and wagon also come in all-wheel-drive 328xi trim. In addition, the convertible, coupe and sedan are available as the rear-drive 335i, and the sedan alone is available as the all-wheel-drive 335xi.
Standard equipment on the 328 models includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a moonroof, leatherette upholstery, real walnut wood trim, automatic climate control, a 10-speaker CD stereo with an input jack for MP3 players, and rain-sensing wipers. Coupe and convertible versions of the 328 come with slightly more equipment, including 17-inch wheels and xenon headlamps; the coupe also has a sport-tuned suspension while the convertible has a power-retractable hardtop. In addition to their more powerful engine, the 335 models have power front seats and a premium Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound system.
Most 3 Series cars you encounter on dealer lots will be equipped with the Premium Package, and many will have both the Premium and Sport Packages. The Premium Package provides leather upholstery, a full set of auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity, BMW Assist telematics, and on 328 models, power seats. The Sport Package specifies a firmer suspension on convertibles, sedans and wagons, along with larger wheels, performance tires, sport seats and a higher top-speed limiter. Stand-alone extras include an iDrive-based navigation system with real-time traffic updates, active steering, adaptive cruise control, keyless startup (known as Comfort Access), three-stage heated seats and satellite radio. You can also replace the standard walnut interior accents with either light poplar or aluminum trim at no additional cost.
Performance & mpg
All 328i and 328xi models come with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine rated for 230 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. The 335i and 335xi models come with a heavily modified version of this engine equipped with twin turbochargers and direct injection. Output is an impressive 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across the board, and a six-speed automatic with a manual mode is optional on all 3 Series models. Fuel economy is above average, as rear-drive Bimmers return about 20 mpg in the city and close to 30 on the highway.
Standard safety equipment on the 2007 BMW 3 Series includes antilock disc brakes, dynamic brake control, stability control, run-flat tires, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The 3 Series convertible lacks the side curtains but has a rollover protection system. The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors when the windshield wipers are in use (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. Rear parking sensors are optional on all 3 Series cars.
In NHTSA crash tests, the four-door cars earned four out of five stars for frontal-impact safety and five stars for side-impact safety. In IIHS tests, the four-doors earned a "Good" rating (the best possible) for their protection of occupants in frontal-offset and side-impact crashes.
There's no going wrong with either of the engines available in the 2007 BMW 3 Series. The standard, normally aspirated engine is a little light on low-end torque, but it moves the car around smartly and provides slightly better mileage. The new twin-turbo engine provides the kind of acceleration formerly associated with the high-performance M3, launching the 335i coupe and sedan to 60 mph in close to 5 seconds flat. No matter which model you choose, the 3 Series' world-class suspension, steering and brakes will 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. At the same time, the 3 Series is an ideal long-distance cruiser, delivering both a comfortably controlled ride and a quiet cabin environment.
The 3 Series interiors provide a restrained show of luxury. The emphasis, through items such as supportive seats and clean analog gauges, is on driver comfort and involvement. Materials are high in quality and build quality is exceptional; indeed, even the standard leatherette upholstery looks and feels better than one would expect. The front seats have enough firm support to ward off fatigue during a day's worth of driving, while the rear seats are adequately roomy for adults on shorter trips and plenty accommodating for children. Trunk space is average in sedans and coupes, while the wagon offers a maximum cargo capacity of 61 cubic feet. The convertible offers a reasonable cargo hold when the hardtop is up, but it shrinks considerably when the top is lowered.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
There are several reasons why the new 2007 BMW 335i Convertible has been built with a retractable hardtop instead of a conventional cloth top.
Most of them are practical but boring, like security and wind noise. But for Albin Dirndorfer, BMW's project manager for the new 2007 3 Series Convertible, it is all about elegance.
"Elegant people don't want to hop around their car, fastening latches or covers," Dirndorfer explains during the introduction of the 335i convertible here in Scottsdale, Arizona. "Elegant personalities have their own style, and this car looks right with the top up or down," he continues.
We don't remember doing much hopping around with the last 3 Series convertible, but we know what he means. Then Dirndorfer describes the drip moldings on the new top as "the perfect accessories, like an elegant woman's handbag," and we're thinking he's going a little too deep into the whole "elegance" thing.
Lost in translation
We can see why Dirndorfer felt the urge to take his "elegance" metaphor a little too far. The new 335i convertible is an attractive mix of complex engineering and fine design.
With the top up, the convertible's roof line is nearly identical to that of the coupe. Unless you look carefully at the cut lines of the hardtop and the distinctive angle where the rear glass meets the deck lid, you would never be able to tell the convertible apart from a standard 3 Series coupe.
Although built from lightweight steel, the hardtop's three folding panels don't make the structure of the car any more rigid when the top is deployed. This chore is accomplished by chassis reinforcements built into the floorpan and rear bulkhead.
This additional structure, plus the hardtop and its operating mechanism, pads on 452 pounds to the 3,571-pound 335i coupe for a total of 4,023 pounds.
In order to maintain optimal front-to-rear weight distribution, plastic quarter panels are used up front. According to BMW, these new panels are not only 50 percent lighter than equivalent steel versions, they're also dent-resistant.
Go ahead and mark this as the only time BMW will ever draw technical inspiration from Saturn.
With 30-percent-larger side windows, BMW says overall rearward visibility has been increased by 38 percent. After a few hours behind the wheel we're 100 percent sure it's easier to see out of the 335i convertible than its rag-top predecessor.
In fact, when you're in the driver seat, the convertible feels nearly identical to the coupe. Headroom isn't compromised and the interior headliner fits perfectly without any exposed hardware.
When it's time to drop the roof, you can pull the short lever mounted on the center console between the seats, or you can even use a switch on the key fob if you're standing beside the car.
It takes all of 22 seconds on the way down and 23 ticks on the way up, so the hardtop easily passes the stoplight test. Good thing, too, as the top won't work on the move since the rear deck obscures the license plate as it opens up. (This is a federally mandated restriction, we're told.)
If you've ever seen a card dealer cut a deck with one hand, you have an idea of what the Edscha-engineered hardtop looks like as it retracts and is stowed beneath the rear deck.
The front piece slides over the middle panel, while the back piece goes on top. Then the steel sandwich stacks itself neatly under the deck lid, leaving a perfectly crisp profile from the car's nose to its tail.
BMW's designers specifically pointed out that the low beltline of the new convertible keeps the backseat from feeling like a deep-sided, leather-lined hot tub, as with most convertibles. They're right, because the view from the backseat is great, but legroom is in short supply and the hardtop mechanism pushes the backrest slightly forward.
Cargo room is also down a bit due to the complex top. The 12.3 cubic feet of trunk space available with the top up is reduced to 7.4 cubic feet once the top is stowed, where it intrudes into the trunk. Still, this is more cargo volume than the Volvo C70, the only other hardtop in the class.
An enlarged cargo pass-through for the rear-seat backrest is a new option for a BMW convertible. It's about twice the width of the standard pass-through behind the armrest cutout, although the rear seatback has to be folded down to take advantage of it. It's big enough to swallow a set of golf clubs, but you're better off taking your SUV to the course instead.
Taking the edge off
The twin-turbo, 300-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-6 in the 335i convertible might have the mass of 4,023 pounds to move around, but there's not a quicker four-seat convertible short of a Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG. BMW claims this new convertible with its six-speed manual transmission will accelerate to 60 mph 5.8 seconds, just 0.3 second slower than a coupe with a six-speed manual.
We think the optional six-speed automatic is the better setup for this car, though.
This new ZF-engineered transmission makes very quick, precisely timed shifts in the automatic mode, and shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel let you shift manually. It's interesting that a company known for offering manual gearboxes in nearly all of its models has introduced an automatic so good that it nearly makes a stick shift seem obsolete.
The convertible's structural reinforcements prove their worth on the road, because there's zero cowl shake and no noticeable flex in the body either. BMW says this convertible has the highest torsional rigidity of any convertible in its history, and we can tell you that it drives that way.
Meanwhile, air turbulence in the cockpit is well controlled, too, especially with the rear-seat wind blocker in place.
Push this car hard on the road and it feels like the convertible has been dialed back one notch compared to the coupe. There's a bit less road feel and the car makes slower transitions from turn to turn. Blame the extra 452 pounds or the 225/45R17 tires (the Sport package will offer front 225/40R-18 and rear 255/35R-18 run-flat tires), yet the car still drives great. It invites you to thrash it in the same way as the 3 Series coupe does.
Small price to pay
Set to go on sale in April for around $46,000, the 2007 BMW 335i Convertible will enter the market with few direct competitors.
Sure, there are convertibles like the Audi A4 cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz CLK and Volvo C70, but none of them put together 300 hp, a retractable hardtop and a stiff, driver-oriented chassis all in one package like the BMW.
Factor in all that elegance, and it's not even close.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2007 BMW 3 Series Sedan Overview
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Should I lease or buy a 2007 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.