We use cookies on whatcar.com to improve your browsing experience and to provide you with relevant content and advertising, by continuing to use our site you agree to this. Please see our privacy policy for more details. Continue

Overall reader verdict 4 out of 5 stars

  • What's it like to drive
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Running costs
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Quality, practicality and equipment
    3 out of 5 stars

Own or drive this car?

Submit your own review here
186 reader reviews for BMW 3 Series Saloon.
  • 320i SE 4dr

    Gary Pogson Date: 12/10/2008
    • Overall verdict
      3 out of 5 stars
    • What's it like to drive
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Running costs
      2 out of 5 stars
    • Quality, practicality and equipment
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Average MPG
      35

    My car

    I owned this car, an E90, for approximately 18 months. Initially fairly happy, I came to feel that it was generally not as good as the E46 3 series. The E90 has better weighting to the steering and comfort on the motorway is slightly better - the sixth gear helps. However, the ride in town driving was much harsher than the E46. This is solely due to the RUNFLAT tyres which are hideously expensive and last less than half as long as the regular tyres on my previous E46. Handling on uneven surfaces is also severely compromised by these tyres. A Ford Focus with sports suspension has a far superior ride. The engine was generally fine with good torque but as with the previous generation of 3 series, i was disappointed with the ticking from the valvetronic system at tickover - i always really longed for a straight six. Also disappointing was the number of rattles and squeaks from the cabin; fit and finish definitely a step down from the E46 - most previous 3 series have been superior in this area. Most ridiculous was a brake pedal return spring rattling on it's support structure - come on BMW, this should have been sorted at the design stage. Costs - I never achieved the official claimed 38mpg (but then again who does) and depreciation is much worse than magazines suggest - had I paid the full list price for the car, depreciation would have been 54% for me over the 18 month period. Overall disappointed considering BMW is supposed to be a premium brand.

  • 318i ES 4dr

    Neil Swift Date: 09/10/2008
    • Overall verdict
      2 out of 5 stars
    • What's it like to drive
      2 out of 5 stars
    • Running costs
      2 out of 5 stars
    • Quality, practicality and equipment
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Average MPG
      30

    My car

    I have had this car for 3 months and covered 7500 miles in it. I did not want to write this review until it had had some time to settle down. However the car seems to have got no better. It has been to 2 dealers on more than one occasion and the problem cannot be sorted. The problem is that the car is very jumpy below 3000 rpm. It feels like the car is missing. So coming off a roundabout at 15 mph and putting your foot down on second gear feels really poor, it starts to pick up then backs off and can do this 3-4 times before it smooths out. I have been told that they have by the dealer that BMW are having this problem with all engines in the efficient dynamics range. They said that at low engine speeds the injectors shut off so it gets a little confused when you try to accelerate from 1500-2000 rpm. The other thing is that I can get knowhere near the combined cycle stated figure of 48 mpg I am getting around 30 mpg and do a lot a-road and motorway journeys. On the plus side the build quality of the car is great. Unfortunately this is my first BMW and I am not really impressed, I will go back to VW's and Audi's.

  • 335d M Sport Eff. Dynamics 4dr

    Regis Philbin Date: 06/10/2008
    • Overall verdict
      5 out of 5 stars
    • What's it like to drive
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Running costs
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Quality, practicality and equipment
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Average MPG
      36

    My car

    The 335d is effortlessly powerful, twin turbos bring the grunt on so smoothly and keeps pushing on with little fuss. Lovely V6 engine note for a diesel - once it's warmed up a bit you'd find it hard to tell the difference. Ultra refined, a very satisfying drive whether leisurely or determined. Suspension firm on M Sport, a little unsteady on rough surfaces, might worry some - however when the conditions are favourable this firmness delivers brilliant cornering with a reassuring predictability for a heavy(ish) car. Be warned though, even though this car has all manner of computer aided driving assistance, too much power on a bend in the wet and you WILL loose the backend if you're not ready for it. Take care in the wet...

    Gearbox very good, sport mode is useful if a little clumsy on the odd occasion. Wheel-mounted 'paddles' need practise, they allow one handed up/down shifts but need time to become second nature. Fabulously fat steering wheel and weighty feel, needs a bit much effort at very low speeds but makes up for it above 30 mph. Cruise control, auto lights, auto wipers, voice control... it's like being in KITT sometimes.

    Other points: DAB Radio lovely but blackspots here and there, phone integration very good, nav excellent but limited postcode entry hinders slightly, usb/ipod integration great but ipod requires £40 cable (standard usb will not do), getting about 36mpg but I have fun.

  • 318d M Sport 4dr

    KRISHAN KUMARASINGHE , WARWICKSHIRE . Date: 01/10/2008
    • Overall verdict
      4 out of 5 stars
    • What's it like to drive
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Running costs
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Quality, practicality and equipment
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Average MPG
      51

    My car

    I bought this car on 57' plate with under 3k miles on it after owning a Toyota Celica 190. The gap between the two cars is too big to compare them to be honest. Ive only done 1k miles so will write another review later after more miles have been covered. Engine is superb(have to double check that its a diesel as it very quiet) and has efficent dynamics engine(ie stop/start, brake regeneratin etc). Was worried about the stop/start system, but starts up in a blink of an eye after clutch is depressed. Also there is a switch to turn it off. Cracking fuel economy, which will improve as engine runs in more and drives great around country roads.

    The only gripe so far is a dash rattle. Not sure if this is because of the vibrations from the transmission as it a diesel, but on bumpy roads its louder. Will run it more to see of whatever is out of place sorts itself out. Would of got 5/5 otherwise, bit picky I know.

BMW 3 Series Saloon

Continue to prices, equipment and options »

What Car? buying help and car info

Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive

Haymarket Logo What Car? is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media
What Car? is part of Haymarket Motoring
© Haymarket Media Group 2014