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Consumer Reviews for the BMW 3 Series
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Thinking of used 328xi? Read this one!
Paul M., 02/14/2018
2009 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
I wanted: stick-shift, black n'black, all-wheel drive, sharp-looking car. When you consider the options and the prices, the higher-mileage BMW was definitely the right combination of features for the right price...admittedly with quiet risks attached..? I read reviews, watched youtube videos, and kept my ears alert for advice from people with first-hand experience. I bought the car … with about 95,000 miles from a rather 'out-of-the-way' (we'll call it) car lot. The combination of transmission, color, AWD, and year was very difficult to find - I would come back from test drives and someone else would be waiting. I ended up getting the car a state away (Ohio). I *assumed* I'd have to deal with the previous owner(s) not doing routine maintenance - and I assumed correctly. Before I get into what all happened and how I handled it, a short bit about me: electrical engineer with a life (so far) fixing my own cars. First issue was the radio. Decided on its own when to turn on or off...at first I thought the car was telling it to turn on and off, but after a far-to-lengthy analysis, I just replaced the radio (eBay, $300)...it has been fine ever since. A few months later, the car began one day to run as if the engine was missing a cylinder. I changed the spark plugs and all was well. Again a month or so later...changed all the coil packs. All good ever since (year+) (routine maintenance! did it myself; parts were about $200). Sometime between the plugs/coils and the next repair I'll talk about shortly was the passenger-side rear tail light - a row of LEDs went out. This caused the car to limit energy to the entire tail light, which made it look dim. $60 and two bolts and that was OK (apparently there may have been a recall; didn't bother). Also replaced the battery. It simply wouldn't hold a charge; $180 (big battery, did that myself too, routine maintenance!). Up until this point, I had no issues. The car is a joy to drive and those repairs weren't a huge deal to me, maybe because I am handy. The two profoundly irritating repairs were the blower motor for the heat/AC and the coolant pump. On one of the coldest days this winter (so far), I was out of town (Chicago) for a wedding. On my way home to Pittsburgh, the blower decided that it just didn't feel like turning on. It was something like 15-20*F. Fortunately, turning the air control to 'outside air' allowed the highway driving to keep me warm. When I got home, I pulled the blower motor out myself (a known issue, since then a recall has been issued), lubricated the motor shaft, and reinstalled it. All good so far. Once you get the hang of it, its not too bad of a job...maybe 1/2 hour if you have a new blower on-hand. Finally - the big one...the (electric) coolant pump. As an engineer, I understand the concept, but I think I would've kept a crucial engine component like this mechanical to prevent what happened...it died. On my birthday (4th of July), it proceeded to overheat (on one of the hottest days last year). This repair was something I was willing to do, however, the car was too low to the ground for me to efficiently do it (would've needed a lift). I broke down and spent the $1,000 and all was well...for a minute. Every once in awhile, the car informs me of a low coolant level...I assume a small leak somewhere (these cars have crap coolant systems, known fact)...so I will look into it when it isn't winter anymore. At the moment, it's fine. So - would I buy another one? YES. Shifts like a dream, rides like a dream, the AWD is fantastic in wet/snowy conditions. Gas mileage is OK (around 20mpg mixed conditions; I drive more aggressively, probably due to the stick-shift). For some reason, when pumping gas, the fuel pump clicks off before it's full. After a half tank, it takes a little while giving it fuel between clicks of the pump. Slightly annoying, but not the end of the world. Seat heaters are awesome in the winter. Engine is a fantastic mechanical masterpiece...so balanced it sounds like a sports bike revving-up. The controls and gauges are the usual beautiful red - easy on the eyes at night, everything is in a logical place and generally intuitive. The cup holders are irritating if your cup doesn't have a lid (and sometimes even if your drink is full and does have a lid), but whatever. Overall, if you do what you should do to a car and you diagnose problems properly and fix the easy ones, it hasn't been a bad car at all. It's a joy to drive, and I love that it's the one I walk up to in the parking lot...the thing is gorgeous...keep up the maintenance and have a little money aside when that coolant pump/blower motor goes bad. All-and-all I gave it a 4/5 across the board...dings for the radio, coolant pump, and blower motor. I can't comment on dealerships because I haven't gone to any (the hours are not conducive to my 9-5). It's exciting to drive and I love an exciting car! Car traded-in Nov 19. $$$...
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