2009 BMW 3 Series Review
Pros & Cons
- Near-perfect vehicle dynamics, potent and refined engines, high-quality interior, four body styles, convertible's sleek retractable hardtop.
- Not much interior storage space, pricey.
List Price Range
$6,900 - $10,000
Used 3 Series for SaleSee all for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Most helpful consumer reviews
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. $$$...
328i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
Car has been reliable, has just needed regular maintenance. Run-flat tires are awful - have replaced several and now have Continentals. No space for spare tire, but have taken long road trips over 800 miles. Performance and dynamics are excellent - brake feel, steering, acceleration are all top notch. Interior - though good for this class. Excellent ergonomics and materials. Maintenance and repair are expensive out of warranty but that's ok for this level of luxury and performance (it is a BMW). No rattles or shakes and road noise is minimal, though it is a sports sedan - ride is stiff and choppy with larger wheel size. Overall top notch sedan, few compromises.
328i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
After much deliberation, I took delivery of a gently used 2009 BMW 328i a couple of days ago. Like many BMW owners, I bought it for its driving dynamics. The reviews from every publication are glowing, and there's good reason. You get the feeling that every single tactile element in the car has been calibrated for your enjoyment. The driving position, the seats, the contours of the steering wheel, the linear and predictable responses, the hefty brakes, and the buttery smooth engine all make for an inimitable driving experience. If you're in the market for a visceral ride but need to be practical, look no further. I've driven an S2000 and an Aston Martin and the 328 still feels magical.
328i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
By the way, if you are going to buy the car, it's Bimmer. The other spelling is for motorcycles. I've read the negative reviews. High maintenance costs, rock hard RFTs, suspension issues, blah, blah.....Here's my story. Bought my 328xi black beauty with 34K for about half of the original cost. Have now owned it for 2 yrs. No major repair issues. I have a local BMW (not dealership) do most of my maintenance well below the dealer prices. I do the oil changes and plan to replace the front brakes next month. Most of what I learned about how to work on my Bimmer I got off YouTube. Trust me, you can do some of the basics or more if you care to. RFTs? I want them. Won't see me changing a tire on the Interstate one late night. And I had a flat with one, drove it 50 miles going 50 MPH to a Costco, no damage to the rim. I replaced the OEMs with Bridgestone DriveGuard RFTs and they have been great. Much better than the OEMs. Got 25K miles on them and plenty of tread left. Suspension issues? Yeah, it does on occasion "boom" when I hit a med sized pothole, but no damage to the car. I figure you given up something for the superior handling and overall driving experience. I see one coming, I go around it. No problem. There is nothing like driving a well-cared for BMW, black-on-black, on a bright summer day. It's artwork in motion.