Used BMW 3 Series 2005 - 2012 review


(2005 - 2012)
BMW 3 Series (05 - 12)
Review continues below...

What alternatives should I consider to a used BMW 3 Series saloon?

The Audi A4 has long been the closest competitor to the 3 Series, and in 2007 a new version was launched with much improved interior space and some very frugal 2.0-litre TDI engines. It was never as good to drive as the 3 Series, but has proved itself to be a reliable car.

The Mercedes C-Class was also being replaced at this time. A little smaller and less practical overall than the 3 Series, it represented a return to form for Mercedes in quality terms and was also very comfortable.

The Jaguar X-Type was launched in 2001 as a potential 3 Series rival, but it never troubled the BMW in the sales charts. It’s nevertheless a decent car, as long as you can live with its old-school styling.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here


BMW 3 Series (05 - 12)
BMW 3 Series (05 - 12)
Open Gallery9 Images


It was introduced more than a decade ago, but this BMW 3 Series remains a hugely desirable car because it's excellent to drive, well-made and has useful interior space.

  • Premium image
  • Understated looks
  • Classy, spacious interior
  • Great to drive
  • Frugal diesel engines
  • Firm ride on run-flat tyres
  • Cheapest models are pretty basic
  • Some reliability issues