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

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Subtle styling updates and an available broad-shouldered diesel power plant put a layer of icing on our favorite entry-level luxury car, the 2009 BMW 3 Series.

Vehicle overview

Another year, another round of subtle changes to make one of the most heralded automobiles ever made even better. For decades, the BMW 3 Series has been the benchmark in the entry-level luxury car market -- be it in sedan, coupe, convertible or wagon guise. Typically, this BMW has offered a magnificent blend of restrained luxury, top-notch build quality, just-right size, ample feature content and a ride/handling balance that other manufacturers have been unsuccessfully trying to copy for ages.

For the 2009 BMW 3 Series, a few changes have been made to keep its superior status intact. Some of the sedan and wagon's more questionable styling elements have been rectified. These models receive a new front fascia that's reminiscent of the sexier coupe and convertible, and their streamlined cabooses mark a return to the more attractive BMW tradition of L-shaped taillights. The coupe and convertible have been left alone this year, and that's fine with us, as the sedan and wagon were the only members of the family that needed some cosmetic surgery.

Elsewhere, the much-maligned iDrive electronics interface has been dramatically improved, with more logically arranged menus and buttons surrounding the iDrive control knob that access frequently used functions (radio, navigation, telephone). The navigation system itself is now hard-drive-based and features real-time traffic information.

Later in the year, BMW's first clean-diesel engine for the United States will debut in the 2009 335d. This twin-turbocharged six-cylinder will make prodigious power and yet manage remarkable fuel economy of 23 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, according to BMW, while meeting the latest strict emissions requirements of all 50 states.

The 2009 BMW 3 Series is poised to remain America's best-selling luxury car, and for good reason -- it's an honest-to-goodness driver's car that's nonetheless comfortable and stylish enough to appeal to a wide range of consumers. This isn't to say that there aren't other worthy contenders. The Infiniti G37 offers 335i power for 328i money, the Cadillac CTS offers an extra dollop of interior room and the latest Audi A4 offers all-weather capability in a stylish package. All are admirable alternatives; however, none is good enough to knock the 3 Series from its traditional perch.

2009 BMW 3 Series models

The 2009 BMW 3 Series is available in sedan, wagon, coupe and hardtop convertible body styles. All come in base rear-wheel-drive 328i trim, while the coupe, sedan and wagon also come in all-wheel-drive 328i xDrive guise. All but the wagon are available in rear-drive 335i trim, while the sedan and coupe can be had in 335i xDrive form. Later in the model year, a diesel-powered 335d sedan will arrive.

Standard equipment on the 328i models includes 16-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, a sunroof, leatherette vinyl upholstery, automatic climate control and a 10-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack. Coupe and convertible versions come with slightly more equipment, including a sport-tuned suspension on the coupe and a power-retractable hardtop on the convertible. In addition to its more powerful engine, the 335i adds 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights and power front seats with driver memory. The 335d should be similarly equipped.

Most 3 Series cars you find on dealer lots will be equipped with the Premium Package, which adds leather upholstery (heat-reflective in the convertible), auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity, BMW Assist telematics and, on 328i models, power seats with driver memory. The Sport Package specifies a firmer suspension on convertibles, sedans and wagons, and all get larger wheels, sport seats and steering wheel, and special "Shadowline" exterior trim. The Climate Package adds heated front seats and steering wheel, retractable headlight washers and fold-down rear seats (though the latter are unavailable in the convertible). Many of these items can be had as stand-alone options.

Among the à la carte options are a navigation system with iDrive controller, keyless ignition/entry, active cruise control, front and rear parking assist, an active steering system (335i only), paddle shifters for the optional automatic transmission, xenon headlights (328i), rear window shades, satellite radio, HD radio, iPod adapter and a Logic 7 surround-sound audio system.

2009 Highlights

The 2009 BMW 3 Series sedan and wagon variants receive a variety of mild styling updates as well as a slight increase in rear track width. A redesigned iDrive controller debuts for the optional navigation system, which is now hard-drive-based and features real-time traffic. Later in the model year, the 3 Series sedan gets an optional twin-turbocharged clean-diesel engine. Finally, all-wheel-drive models are now badged xDrive, and a handful of features are new or revised.

Performance & mpg

The rear-wheel-drive BMW 328i and all-wheel-drive 328i xDrive are powered by a 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. The 335i and 335i xDrive get a different 3.0-liter inline-6, this one twin-turbocharged to produce 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The 335d will be powered by a twin-turbocharged diesel engine rated at 265 hp and a pavement-rippling 425 lb-ft of torque. All gas-powered models come standard with a six-speed manual shifter, while a six-speed automatic is optional (standard on the 335d). Paddle shifters can be added to the auto.

In performance testing, we've spurred a 328i sedan with the manual transmission from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, while the heavier convertible is a few tenths of a second slower. We've tested a variety of 335i sedans and coupes, and they consistently do the sprint in just a shade over 5 seconds. The 335d did the sprint in 5.9 seconds.

Despite its potent power plants, the 3 Series remains relatively fuel-efficient. The 328i gets 17-18 mpg in the city, 25-28 mpg on the highway and 20-21 mpg combined, depending on the body style and drivetrain. The 335i with the automatic achieves 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. The manual transmission or all-wheel drive will lower those numbers slightly. BMW estimates fuel economy for the 335d will be an impressive 23 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.


Standard safety equipment on the 2009 BMW 3 Series includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, run-flat tires, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The convertible lacks the side curtains, but the regular front side airbags extend up to head level, and there are also pop-up rollover hoops. The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry when the windshield wipers are in use, and automatically snugging the pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle.

In government crash tests, the sedan and wagon received four out of five stars for frontal collision protection and five stars for side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 3 Series sedan, wagon and convertible the top rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset crash test. The sedan and wagon also scored a "Good" for side crash protection, but the convertible received a second-lowest "Marginal" score because of insufficient rear seat head protection and possible torso injuries for those in the front.


There's no going wrong with any of the engines available in the 2009 BMW 3 Series. The naturally aspirated base engine is a little light on low-end torque, but it moves the car smartly once underway and provides laudable fuel economy on the highway. In the BMW tradition, this inline-6 is velvety-smooth from idle to redline, yet the tailpipes emit a purposeful bark under hard acceleration. For the power-hungry, the twin-turbo 335i is a riot, providing the kind of acceleration formerly associated with the high-performance M3. Meanwhile, the late-availability 335d provides face-flattening torque off the line while using the least fuel of the bunch.

No matter which model you choose, the 3 Series' world-class suspension, steering and brakes will provide hours of entertainment on twisty two-lane byways. At the same time, the 3 Series is a wonderful long-distance cruiser, delivering both a supple ride and a hushed cabin. The 3 Series' long-running double act is truly extraordinary: It speaks the language of driving enthusiasts, yet its upscale image and comfortable interior give it unrivaled mass appeal.


The 3 Series interiors provide a restrained show of luxury. Though a tad plain, the emphasis is on driver comfort and involvement through elements such as supportive seats and clean analog gauges. Materials and build quality are exceptional; even the standard leatherette (vinyl) upholstery looks and feels better than one would expect. The convertible's available heat-reflective leather does a wonderful job of keeping occupants' posteriors cool. This year's revised iDrive electronics interface that comes with the optional navigation system is improved over its confusing predecessor, but it still complicates the stereo controls.

The standard front seats have enough firm support to ward off fatigue during a day's worth of driving, while the optional power-adjustable sport seats are sublimely comfortable. The rear seats are adequately roomy for adults on shorter trips, but taller passengers will wish for more headroom. 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 predictably shrinks considerably when the top is lowered.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 BMW 3 Series.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Thinking of used 328xi? Read this one!
Paul M.,02/14/2018
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. $$$...
48,000 miles on 2009 328i xDrive
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.
Truly a driver's car
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.
Ignore the Bad Bimmer Reviews - A Lot To Enjoy
D Needles,03/15/2016
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.


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
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2009 BMW 3 Series
More About This Model

Hearing that the 2009 BMW 335d runs on diesel won't bring a smile to the typical American's face. On the contrary, it's likely to elicit an expression of distaste. In this country, the word "diesel" evokes images of big-rig smokestacks belching out ominous black clouds, or slug-slow, sulfur-spewing Mercedes 240Ds simultaneously clogging the fast lane and the atmosphere. The prevailing attitude is that diesel-happy Europe can have these presumably primitive, polluting power plants — we're doing just fine with good old gasoline, thank you very much.

Clearly, diesel could use a makeover for the American market. That's where the 335d comes in. Thanks to a preposterous 425 pound-feet of torque at just 1,750 rpm from its 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6, the 335d dusts most sport sedans off the line — yet it's EPA-rated at a belief-beggaring 36 miles per gallon on the highway, yielding a maximum range of nearly 580 miles. As for emissions, the 335d's sophisticated exhaust system injects a pollutant-neutralizing urea mixture into the exhaust stream, yielding air pollution scores roughly on par with gasoline-powered 3 Series sedans. No one will leave the 335d's driver seat without a newfound appreciation for diesel technology; indeed, most will have spent the test-drive giggling uncontrollably at the colossal low-end kick, not to mention the hair-raising baritone roar at full throttle.

In other respects, the 2009 BMW 335d is every bit a 3 Series, which is to say, it's the automotive version of that annoying kid who's good at everything. What the 335d lacks in standard features and affordability, it makes up for with sports-carlike handling and braking, a supple ride and an intimate cabin awash in high-quality materials. Provided you don't blanch at a starting price of almost $45,000 for a compact sedan, the 335d will win you over with its stunning combination of performance, efficiency and refinement. Drive one — we dare you — and just try to keep that anti-diesel frown from turning upside-down.

Used 2009 BMW 3 Series Overview

The Used 2009 BMW 3 Series is offered in the following submodels: 3 Series Sedan, 3 Series Coupe, 3 Series Convertible, 3 Series Wagon, 3 Series Diesel. Available styles include 328i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 335i 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 328i 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 335i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 328i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 328i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 335i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 335d 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6A), 328i xDrive 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 328i 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 335i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 328i xDrive 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M), and 335i xDrive 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M). Pre-owned BMW 3 Series models are available with a 3.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 300 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2009 BMW 3 Series comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual. The Used 2009 BMW 3 Series comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2009 BMW 3 Series?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 BMW 3 Series trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 BMW 3 Series 328i is priced between $7,767 and$11,995 with odometer readings between 82770 and125533 miles.
  • The Used 2009 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive is priced between $5,900 and$9,371 with odometer readings between 109079 and144269 miles.
  • The Used 2009 BMW 3 Series 335i is priced between $15,995 and$15,995 with odometer readings between 84507 and84507 miles.

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Which used 2009 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) 2009 BMW 3 Series for sale near. There are currently 9 used and CPO 2009 3 Serieses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,900 and mileage as low as 82770 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 2009 BMW 3 Series.

Can't find a used 2009 BMW 3 Seriess you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW 3 Series for sale - 11 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $10,476.

Find a used BMW for sale - 3 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $21,811.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW 3 Series for sale - 4 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $8,718.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 2 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $15,799.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 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