BMW 3 Series (2005 – 2012) Review

BMW 3 Series (2005 – 2012) At A Glance

Superb to drive. Great handling and steering. Upmarket image. Economical diesel engines culminating in amazingly efficient 320d Efficient Dynamics at 109g/km of CO2.

Firm ride especially noticeable on larger alloys. No spare wheel. Limited rear legroom. Too many coil, injector and high pressure fuel pump problems on petrol engines.

Insurance Groups are between 21–38
On average it achieves 79% of the official MPG figure

It's well known that the BMW 3 Series sets the standard for premium saloons when it comes to handling. But there's more to this 3 Series than just driver enjoyment. It comes with decent levels of standard equipment and some of the most efficient engines available.

This is thanks to a range of systems called Efficient Dynamics (introduced in 2007) which are designed to lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The culmination of this is the remarkable 320d EfficientDynamics model that was launched in 2010. This 163bhp model drives as well as a standard 320d and yet has CO2 emissions of just 109g/km and can average 68.9mpg.

Of course if you're after performance, there's plenty of choice too from the muscular 335d to the sublime 335i - an engine that's good enough to rival the high-performance M3. On the road, the 3 Series is a great drive, whatever engine you opt for, with nicely weighted steering and plenty of grip, helped by the fact it's rear-wheel drive.

However, it loses out slighty to other premium saloons - such as the Audi A4 - when it comes to rear passenger room and boot space. The ride is on the firm side too, something which is more noticeable on M Sport models with their larger alloy wheels and sports suspension. But this doesn't prevent the fifth generation BMW 3 Series from being one of the best cars currently on the market.

Road test BMW E91 320d and 325i Touring

Real MPG average for a BMW 3 Series (2005 – 2012)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

20–59 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.


Do cars lose power as they get older?
Do cars lose power over time? For example, would a 10 year old BMW 3 Series with average mileage lose much power if serviced and maintained well?
Yes, cars do lose a small amount of power over time for a whole host of reasons, ranging from clogged fuel injectors to worn piston rings. If a car's been well-maintained, there shouldn't be a noticeable drop in power after 10 years, though.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Is a 15-year-old car too old to be looking at?
I've got £3000 to buy a car with and it must be automatic and big enough to accommodate two big child seats. At the moment I've landed on a BMW 3 Series with 70,000 miles, full main dealer history, never failed an MoT and got all the history - including receipts for tyres. But it's 15 years old. Is this the wrong direction to be looking?
In my opinion, this would be the wrong car to buy with a budget of £3000. At 15-years old, the vehicle will be nearing the end of its mechanical life. And that means you'll need to spend money to keep it on the road, as things like the brakes, suspension and clutch start to wear out. What's more, being a premium car, all of the servicing and parts will be relative to its value when new (£25,000). Given your budget, I would recommend something that will be more affordable to run and keep on the road. My recommendation would be The Toyota Auris CVT:
Answered by Dan Powell
The oil is my BMW 3 Series is reading high - should I have it checked out?
The oil appears to be reading high in my diesel E90 BMW 3 Series, both via the dashboard indicator and also by manually checking (after driving approximately seven miles and leaving five minutes to cool). Should I have it checked out?
Yes. Might be because active regeneration of the DPF is not occurring or is being interrupted.
Answered by Honest John
Someone from the Channel Islands wants to buy my car from the UK - is this a scam?
I'm selling privately and had an offer from someone in the Channel Islands. The buyer is not coming over in person, they just want to send a shipping company. I'm concerned with payment over to UK and how do they sign the V5C?
This has the hallmarks of a classic scam. You lose your money and you lose your car. But if the purchaser pays you by cheque, once that cheque has cleared and several more days have passed (total 7 days from paying it in), then the cheque cannot be revoked and is a safer means of taking payment than by bank draft or transfer because they can be revoked after the event. You are correct that the new keeper has to sign the V5C, so that will become a matter of trust between you once the money is irrevocably received. Keep a photocopy of the V5C that you send him and then check with the DVLA that he has send the form to them.
Answered by Honest John

What does a BMW 3 Series (2005 – 2012) cost?

Buy new from £30,112 (list price from £36,300)
Contract hire from £321.92 per month
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