BMW 3 Series Touring (2005–2012)

What's good

What to watch out for

Some criticism of manual 6-speed transmission. Can take 7k - 8k to free up. Also of gap between 2nd and 3rd. Better to have made 3/5/5 slightly lower.

RHD driver's footwell only 16-inch wide. LHD footwell 18-inch wide.

How to get the car's Bluetooth hands free system to take your mobile phone directory (thanks to Stuart of 1st ensure that your car and handset are paired with one another, and then send your address/contacts to the car by Bluetooth as Business Cards. Don't send the whole address book in one lump as this usually fails, but send contacts/address's from ABC&D first, once this is done, turn the car off and let the Bluetooth connection be lost between car and phone, then turn the car back on, let the Bluetooth connection be made between car and phone, then next addresses EFGH, etc, etc remember to turn to car on/off between each address "chunk" then go to the contacts address's on the I-Drive and hey presto and if by magic, your contacts will appear and you can call them from the I-Drive and also when receiving a call you will see who's calling you as long as they have been previously added to the car by the above. Apparently, this also works with Audis and Mercedes Benz.

Possible autobox software problem on 335i autos. Specifically, "When in manual the default position is always 2nd gear which suggests it is the same in drive. Then when accelerating from low revs the car stutters and jerks, again as if it is trying to find 1st gear."

Check PAS fluid level regularly. Steering rack may leak fluid unnoticed out of end seal and into track rod end gaiter. Seems to be a Europe-wide shortage of parts to correct this.

Turbo failures of 320d engines starting to be reported November 2007.

One reader's issues with an E91 330d manual and an E90 320d auto:-

E91 330d SE Touring - 2006-'06 - 15k miles as of May 2008: Flat spot at 1200rpm from new, only just been sorted out at 15k miles / 2 yrs after BMW issued a tech update - new Software installed on ECU, solved issue. Poor gearchange quality between 1st and 2nd. 330d has a heavier clutch than petrols and smaller diesels. Factory fit swivelling towbar failed to disengage in February, causing whole dash warning lights to light up, + warning chime. BMW service called to recover car the dealer. Towbar recall issued last month by BMW, new housing fitted (apparently to to with chafing wires). Recent steering lock issues, failing to disengage when inserting key, hence engine will not start. Apparently software update solved issue. Tramlining when runflat tyres have started wearing... mostly on outside edge.

E90 320d M Sport Auto - 2005-'55 - 78k miles as of May 2008 (Company car): Early problems with rear door handles sticking in the 'out' position stopped doors from shutting. BMW dealer informed us that BMW knows of issues. New door handles ordered and painted with thinner paint covering on internal parts. Also informed BMW have no real fix. Front ones also started to stick. PTFE spray cured. 'Low coolant' warning before first service, though header tank full. Diesel leak when tank was full through split breather pipe, replaced under warranty. New Steering lock fitted as it started to fail disengaging when inserting key. Excessive wear on drivers side front runflat tyre on inside edge. Down to carcase on inside even though 90% of tyre still have 3.5+mm left. Tracking tested at dealer, no issues found. All other 3 tyres tend to wear badly on inside, but to lesser extent. 'Boot open' warning sometimes comes on after a big bump/pothole, needs boot opening/closing to stop it. Cold starts (below 3 degrees) have caused a slight rough idle/misfire for about 10 seconds since about 70k miles, most likely Glow plugs. Failure of inner side wall on Runflat (Bridgestone) while in Germany last year. Inner wall had delaminated, no pressure loss, but very bad vibrations due to rubber fragments flying about in tyre. started at 140mph on Autobahn. Car off the road for 3 days while AA, BMW and leasing company sourced a runflat tyre. BMW garage admitted it wasn't first time they had seen this.

Problem with 2.0 litre petrol engines. Two crankshaft sensors corrode and need replacing and ECU requires a 'V29' software upgrade.

ESP warning light can indicate Fault Code "Boost Pressure Sensor G201". This is embedded inside Teves Mk 60 ABS systems and requires replacement of ABS control unit/pump. Seems to be age-related, occurring mainly in 3 - 5 year old cars. Does not necessarily lead to an MoT failure. If car has been BMW maintained, BWW will usually meet 100% of replacement cost. If not BMW will still help towards £1,600 cost of replacement. The fault may be rectified by a BMW ABS repair kit at a cost of £144.68 + Vat. The total cost of the repair including the replacement ABS pump,clearing the computer code and a brake fluid change + labour is about £346 +vat .The BMW repair code reference is 34516. Bosch ABS systems do not have the Teves problem.

Problem with new 335i single turbo engine not resolved by 21-7-2010. Some cars arrived at UK dealers and could not be delivered.

If the car has Bluetooth and the owner has their Mobile phone synched to the car then if the car is not locked / all electrics shut down the car will keep trying to search for the phone and drain the battery.

22-01-11: Repeated coil and injector problems on 4-cylinder petrol engines from 2007.

07-03-11: Coil and injector problems reported on 6-cylinder petrol engines from 2007 as well.

04-06-11: Report of 3 year old 320i touring SE (170-with start stop) never running smoothly from 3 months and 3,000 miles old to date at 27,000 miles. Has had 7 replacement injectors, 7 coils,10 spark plugs and 1 clutch all under warranty. BMW voluntarily extended the warranty for, a further 12 months.

20-1-2012: Cracked cylinder liner reported on 2007 320 Si 4-cylinder engine. Waiting for replacement from July 2011 to January 2012. Car obviously off the road all that time.

3-2-2012: Significant numbers of high pressure fuel pump failures on 330i and 335i in the USA. See link: BMW initially "blamed" "ethanol" or "poor quality" gasoline in the U.S. for these failures. In fact, BMW HPFP failures are well documented in Germany (even with their "superior quality" gasoline), Australia, Asia, South Africa, etc. Some of these countries have never used ethanol in any of their gasoline..... HPFP Part Numbers 1. 13-51-7-537-320 2. 13-51-7-585-655 3. 13-51-7-592-881 4. 13-51-7-596-123 5. 13-51-7-594-943 6. 13-51-7-613-933 7. XX-XX-X-XXX-402 8. 13-51-7-616-170 9. 13-51-7-616-446.

11-2-2012: Timing chain failures becoming increasingly common on N47 2.0 litre diesel engines subject to extended oil change regimes. Can occur from about 5 years old and from about 90k miles. From 50k miles onwards, best to change the oil every 10k miles maximum.

12-4-2012: Cold weather fault can develop with 'Active Steering'. There is a dealer TSB on this and it should be attended to during routine service. Otherwise, the cost is a stiff £1,750 + VAT for a new steering column, though BMW is aware and had been known to do the decent thing on 4 year old cars, even those serviced independently.

9-5-2012: Seems to be a continued problem with 2nd generation N55 135i/335i models. Engine warning light coming on, car breaking down. Engine running rough and going into limp mode. Diagnostic told the techs to replace a fuel injection valve. Unfortunately, the same problem exists so they're back to troubleshooting with BMW NA with no end in sight. ECU reprogramming to fix the problem reduces low down torque and engine response. 9 weeks later, no better. Dealer has no answer apart from offer of a performance kit or £1,600 compensation. An American report states: "while the engine itself has so far proven reliable, there have been the occasional problems with the ECU cutting power to the motor. There have also been reports of oil coolers inadequately cooling the engine if the 335i is driven very aggressively in a track environment. The installation of an aftermarket oil cooler solves this problem." The N54 sequential twin turbo engine was replaced by the N55 single turbo engine with the same power but emitting lower CO2 in late 2010.

25-5-2012: Complaint of problem with boot lock mechanism of 2011 3-Series E90.

10-7-2012: Numerous problems with a high spec January 2008 320i Touring over 30,000 miles include: failed water pump & thermostat (£650), failed coils - twice within the first 3 years, faulty emission sensor warning lights and poor DAB reception.

13-7-2012: Report of August 2009 320d Business model needing complete suspension rebuolt at 2 years old and more recently needing I-Drive replacing. Low miles of 20,560 in 35 months. 16" runflat tyre life: rears 17,500 miles; fronts still okay at 20,560 miles.

13-7-2012: At 35 months and 43,252 miles an E92 325i coupe developed a fault. Engine management light suddenly came on warning of a fault plus reduced power but this disappeared when the engine was switched off and restarted. Happened twice the same day and taken to dealer the next day. Reader also thought that it had sometimes seemed to start as if it was partially flooded. Dealer replaced plugs, coils and injectors under the original warranty. Several weeks later, by then out of 3 year warranty, the problem continued intermittently every two or three weeks so car returned it to the dealer at 44,134 miles. Dealer diagnostics indicated need for a replacement high pressure fuel pump which had to be done under the new extended insured warranty but reader lost the £250 excess under that warranty.

9-8-2012: The E Box containing the ECU can become flooded. The drain at the bottom of the box can get blocked. The ECU is not sealed against moisture ingress and costs £1,150 ro replace.

11-5-2013: Typical wear rate of M Sport 225/45/R17 91V front tyres and 255/40/R17 94V rears is 8,000 miles. 205/55R16 runflats typically last 15,000 - 20,000 miles. Set of 16" TUV approved Alutec wheels costs £335 inc from Tyremen.

16-5-2013: Strange case of snapped crankshaft of 147k mile 2007 320dSE Touring. Owner has just spent £1,500 on a service and MoT. Then, after 50 miles, a big bang. Seems that one of the injectors failed, pouring too much diesel into one combustion chamber and this caused 'hydraulic lock' (as floodwater can). Engine totally destroyed.

24-8-2013: Whining diff reported on 64k mile 2007. One solution is a fresh set of bearings from Quaife.

4-10-2013: Diary of an ABS/ESP module repair that resulted in a saving of £1,700: On a 2007 E92 BMW 325 coupe the ABS warning light came on. The ABS system has a speed sensor at each wheel and the main unit, which has three parts. The metal manifold with the brake pipe to each wheel and the servo, the electronic control unit ECU and a Motor/pump. BMW can supply a new ECU for £940 inch vat or the whole unit with the three parts for £1850 incl vat. It takes about 1 hour to remove the unit and 2 hours to fit the new whole unit and bleed the brakes, which is a two man job - thus the labor cost will be around £300 + some brake fluid - total cost £2170. Another option is to send the ABS unit to a specialist repairer as recommended by Honest John ( or who will charge between £250 and £500 to repair the unit (if it can be repaired - not always possible) and post it back. This will take from 4 days to a week but save a lot of money. Since the car cannot be moved with no ABS/ESP module it's best to find a Mobile Mechanic or AutoElectrician to remove the old unit at your house, then re-fit it when it comes back ( Postage cost £25 including £500 insurance. Reader who tried this got a text at 9.02 the following morning from the repairer to say that the unit had arrived safely and they would test it and let me know if they could repair it and the cost. This turned out to be £195 + postage back + vat = £250. Then autoelectrcian charged me £200 for 3 hours labour so the total cost was:- Unit repair £250, postage £25, Labour £175, brake fluid £20, Total: £470. The saving was £1,700.

1-1-2014: Problem of cracked wheels with rim sizes of 18" or more on cars 5 years old or more continues, with tyres losing pressure and the only solution a replacement set of wheels.

13-1-2014: 335i DCTs can develop a small oil leak from a transmission oil seal. Small, inexpensive part, but a big expensive job removing the engine/transmission to replace it.

4-11-2014: Cracked rear alloys reported on 2009 BMW 320d Touring (presumed to be 18"). Good time to remind all E90 - E93 BMW 3-Series owners with 18" or 19" wheels to get them checked for cracks. Could save your life.

28-2-2015: Complaint of "total power failure" in 2010 BMW 320dSE Touring. Transpired that the connection between the positive battery cable connector and the corresponding terminal on the fuse box had failed and there is evidence that the plastic covering has been burning. (Battery tested OK.) Subject of an NHTSA recall in the USA, but not yet in the UK. The American recall on E60 5 Series and 6 Series was in March 2012: BMW 5 Series 2004 to 2010; BMW 6 Series 2004 to 2010: 16,748 units. On certain vehicles, the insulated bulkhead connector (used to join the two halves of the positive battery cable) may have been incorrectly installed during vehicle assembly. Over time, the bolt connection could loosen, which would increase electrical resistance. In addition, an incorrectly insulated bulkhead connector could allow humidity to accumulate at this location, causing current leakage. These issues could cause the cable connection to overheat, which could result in a vehicle fire causing property damage and/or personal injury. Correction: Dealers will inspect and, as necessary, secure the insulated bulkhead connector. In addition, protective grease will be added to the area and the plastic battery positive terminal cover will be replaced.

30-6-2015: Amber engine warning light and intermittent rough running on 34k mile 2009 BMW 325i E91. BMW wants to replace all spark plugs, coil packs, fuel injectors and the NOX sensor. Total cost £1900.

22-10-2015: Timing chain plastic guide failure reported on N57 petrol engine in 49k mile 2006 BMW 320i Touring that had been regularly serviced by BMW dealers. This should ahve been checked at services, but there is no liability on the original supplier of manufacturer after 6 years. Resultant damage required new front crank seal, timing chain and guides, vanos units and actuators, vacuum pump and VVT motor. His bill, including £1,360 for labour and VAT was £3,655.61.

24-10-2015: Timing chain failure at 160k miles on 2007/57 N57 petrol engine in E91 3-Series Touring. BMW refused to accept any liability.

10-3-2016: 3 faults with NOx sensor and one fault with NOx trap found on 2010 BMW 318i Touring at 38,000 miles. Estimate for repairs £2,000.

29-3-2016: On a 2010 E91 BMW 320d Touring, the compound holding the crankshaft aux pulley together failed at 83,000 miles.

4-6-2016: Second case in two weeks of dashboard errors appearing on 2010 E90/E91s at low mileages. Errors were stability control, ABS and tyre pressures. In both cases, a rear o/s wheel bearing was replaced (at £411) without checking the ABS reluctor ring or sensor. Warning lights then came back on. Back to the dealer and wheel sensors replaced at a further £100 + labour).

12-8-2016: BMW E91 3-Series Touring massively overheated and it was found that the 'Active Grille Shutter' had stuck closed, allowing no cooling air into the engine compartment.

23-8-2016: Report of another NOx and camshaft position sensor failure on a 5 year old E91 318i Toouring at 38,000 miles, despite running exclusively on Shell V-Power. BMW dealer obtained a 50% goodwill contribution from BMW, although owner still ended up paying close to £600. Apparently the dealer hinted it wasn't an uncommon problem. Engine had also gone through two coil packs, though these were replaced FoC under warranty.

25-10-2016: Report of scraping noise from N47 timing chain tensioner of 2011 BMW 3 Series Touring 320D at 22,000 miles (bought used at 16,000 miles from a Lexus dealer). Servicing BMW garage dealer said noise will become a major problem. Blame it on previous BMW owner running the car with low oil.

17-2-2017: Report that after spending £1,200 on injector repairs, dealer told owner of 78k mile 2009 BMW E92 330i Touring that number 5 cylinder bore liner had cracked, wrecking the engine. He then discovered that because this was a known problem, BMW had extended the warranty on the 3.0 litre straight six to 100,000 miles and this led to a small contribution from BMW towards a new car.

3-3-2017: Not really a problem but on a 2009 BMW E91 N47 320d at 191,000 miles DPF DPF warning came up on the info screen saying possible to continue journey and possible reduction in power. But no reduction in power or MPG so far. BMW dealer says needs full diagnostic. Passed the MoT yesterday with emissions levels so low they couldn't be read. Owner used Wynns DPF cleaner before the MoT. But at 191k miles DPF could still be starting to fill up with ash.

21-8-2017: Report of imminent N47 timing chain failure spotted and corrected before disaster in a late registered 2012 BMW E91 320dED. This happened at 50k miles. Indicates that the lat E90 and E91s with N47 diesel engines had not been modified and further suffered as a result of BMW's ridiculous longlife service intervals (not rediced to 10,000 miles). Car also needed a new DMF and clutch (that might have been fitted routinely while the engine was out).

30-8-2017: Report of 95k mile 2009 BMW 318i Touring, bought for £5,700 in May 2017, suffering lack of reverse gear (fixed by trader), then a whining diff and finally a rattling timing chain.

7-10-2017: Report of 2010 BMW E91 325i Touring needing three 3 replacement tyre pressure monitors, and a fourth is now faulty and therefore needs replacing. These are over £200 each.

14-10-2017: Stretched timing chain reported on 2009/58 BMW 320i Touring causing the Vanos system to jam. Cost £2,376 for an independent repair.

11-1-2018: Warning light on 89,000 mile 2008 BMW 330D E91 Touring. Likely to be DPF full of ash and unable to passively or actively regenerate. (Seems to be happening a lot at this sort of mileage.)

23-4-2018: Report of 2011 BMW 3-Series E91 Touring "spontaneously combusting".

26-6-2018: Report of Dynamic Traction Control light of 55,000 mile 2010 BMW E91 320d SE N47 2.0d flashing irregularly, accompanied by rapid and intermittent loss of power leading to a juddering motion. This seems to be initiated by only a slight irregularity in the road surface. Likely to be caused by susted reluctor rings and or loose ABS sensors sending the wrong signals to the ECU.

More listed in BMW E90 3 Series saloon entry


28-11-2006 R/2006/207 BMW1 SERIES AND 3 SERIES possible loss of braking power assistance build dates 04-03-2006 to 14-03-2006

May 2007 TSB: SI B 61 28 06 General Electrical Systems May 2007 Technical Service. This Service Information bulletin supersedes S.I. B61 28 06 dated January 2006. [NEW] designates changes to this revision SUBJECT: ELV Warning in Instrument Cluster MODEL E90, E91, E92 (3 Series) E60, E61 (5 Series) E63, E64 (6 Series). SITUATION: The ELV (Electronic Steering Lock) check control warning illuminates in the instrument cluster and in some cases, engine start is inhibited. Diagnostics reveals fault code A0AA in the CAS (Car Access System) and prompts a control unit replacement. CAUSE: Low voltages in the vehicle electrical system when cranking/starting the engine. PROCEDURE [NEW]: This problem has been integrated into DIS diagnostics. Follow diagnostics and relevant test plan using DIS V49.0 or later.

22-10-2008: TSB recall notice to keepers of post September 2007 325i models: "As part of our ongoing quality analysis at BMW it has been established that the injector of the fuel injector system might fail causing poor engine and lack of power on your vehicle."

22-10-08: TSB recall notice to keepers of post September 2007 325i models: "As part of our ongoing quality analysis at BMW it has been established that the injector of the fuel injector system might fail causing poor engine and lack of power on your vehicle."

30-06-2009 R/2009/065 BMW1 Series & 3 Series front side airbag or seat belt tensioner may not operate correctly build dates 23-05-2008 to 21-07-2008

26-10-2010: Woodcliff Lake, NJ: BMW of North America has notified the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its intent to conduct a voluntary recall of some model year 2007-2010 BMWs equipped with twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engines, all of which feature BMW’s High Precision Injection direct fuel injection system. It has also asked for approval from the California Air Resources Board to conduct this action. Affected vehicles may experience a failure of the high-pressure fuel pump. Symptoms include long-crank engine starting times along with the illumination of the “Service Engine Soon” light. In certain cases, the driver may experience reduced engine performance in a Safe Mode accompanied by a tone and the illumination of the “Engine Malfunction” light. Based on the individual service history of the vehicle, the action will entail replacement of the high-pressure fuel pump and/or a software update. Approximately 130,000 vehicles are potentially affected with about 40,000 expected to require a new high pressure fuel pump. Affected BMW models include MY 2007–2010 335i models, MY 2008–2010 135i, 535i and X6 xDrive35i Sports Activity Coupes, MY 2009 – 2010 Z4 Roadster sDrive35i. In a separate action, BMW has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it will voluntarily recall approximately 20,800 MY 2008 X5 Sports Activity Vehicles equipped with normally-aspirated inline six-cylinder engines to replace the low-pressure fuel pump. In this case, should the fuel pump experience a failure, the engine will stop running and the driver will lose power assist for the steering and brakes although both the steering and the brakes remain operational.

15-4-2014: Worldwide recall of 489,000 BMW cars with six-cylinder 2.5 and 3.0 litre petrol engines of which less than 3,000 are in the UK. These are: N51 (1991-1995), N52 (from 2005) and the N55 6-cylinder petrol turbo (from 2009). The screws for the housing of the adjustment unit of the variable camshaft timing (Vanos) for the intake and exhaust camshafts could potentially become loose or break. An engine warning lamp ‘should ’ appear in such circumstances, but if drivers experience any loss of power they should contact their BMW dealer immediately.

28-7-2014: R/2014/068 BMW 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, X1, X3, X5, Z4 Build Dates 1-9-2009 to 30-11-2011: Concern : ENGINE EMERGENCY MODE MAY BE ACTIVATED DURING DRIVING Description : The screws retaining the variable camshaft timing (VANOS) housing may loosen and under certain circumstances the heads may break off. This can lead to the VANOS leaking oil internally and adversely affect the valve timing adjustment. If found to deviating from targeted data the engine emergency mode will be activated. This will be indicated by a distinct change in engine running. The orange engine management warning lamp and a check message; On vehicles with N51/N52 engines this will appear at ignition recycle, on N55 engine it will display immediately. Remedial Action : Replace bolted connection of the VANOS adjustment unit.

23-12-2014: reported that BMW in the USA has confirmed plans to issue a nationwide recall for older 3-Series vehicles outfitted with Takata airbags. The expansion is said to include approximately 140,000 units from the 2004-2006 model years, adding to the 11,000 vehicles listed in the initial campaign focused on high-humidity states and territories. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had called on major automakers to orchestrate nationwide recalls for allegedly defective driver-side airbag inflators, however the agency is still allowing the passenger-side components to be fixed on a regional basis. "All five affected automakers have agreed to conduct a national recall of defective driver's side air bags made by Takata at our request," NHTSA acting administrator David Friedman said in a statement published by The Detroit News. BMW suggests none of the failures that prompted the NHTSA request have involved its vehicles, but the company nonetheless agreed to widen the recall.

9-4-2015: BMW has initiated a 'quality enhancement recall' on 2.0 litre N47 diesel engines. They are currently working their way through cars manufactured in 2007 and 2008, but owners need to contact their dealer themselves to request the work. Reader's 123d currently in for the work which at minimum involves replacing the timing chain, guide and tensioners.

10-4-2017: R/2017/114: BMW 1-Series; 3-Series; Z4 and X1. PLUG-IN CONTACT CABLE MAY MALFUNCTION. It is possible that the connection between the B+ cable and the Power Distribution Box can become damaged by wear and heat, which is caused by high current flow and high contact resistance. Normally, this will result in a non-start situation after parking the vehicle. However, it is possible that this could, in extreme cases, occur whilst the vehicle is in motion. The driver should be made aware of the issue by flickering of the instrument cluster (dash) or an engine mis-fire; but if the driver does not, then the engine could cut-out without warning. Fix: Recall all affected vehicles with petrol engines and replace the cable/connection with a more robust item. Build dates 1-12-2009 to 13-10-2011. VINS: WBAUK32040VM42810 to WBAUK32000VN64340 ; WBAUC72010VF19818 to WBAUC12040VP60153 ; WBALM32080E356745 to WBALM32030E841522 ; WBAVL32030VN78119 to WBAVL32000VP91626 ;
WBAUE52050E026025 to WBAUH32020E758124 ; WBAUM12040VL29423 to WBAUM12090VP59495 ;
WBSWD920X0P389326 to WBSKG92090E886918 ; WBAWA72020P340865 to WBAKD920X0E637721 ;
WBAWL72080PZ85479 to WBADV52000E756778 ; WBAUS92040A537099 to WBAUT72050FJ88197 ;
WBSPM92030E198072 to WBSPM92020E625953 ; WBAPG32040A393064 to WBAPF52070A922683
WBSWL92090P371502 to WBSDX92040E803792.

9-5-2018: Recall because wiring configuration means that vehicle vibrations could potentially cause frictional corrosion on the plug of the power distributor causing the car's engine to cut out. Affects BMW 1 Series, 3 Series, Z4 and X1 petrol and diesel models produced between March 2007 and August 2011. Helpline number: 0800 083 4397.

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