The BMW 3 Series is an excellent car that boasts high quality, attention to detail, and a long list of high-tech features. Sure, it's a bit less engaging to drive than it used to be, with less tactile steering. But the car is agile, steady, and well balanced -- even when pushed hard. And it still delivers a very satisfying and balanced overall driving experience.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
NA
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
NA
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
NA
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
NA
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags standard. Head protection air bags standard from 2000. ESC standard from 2001. FCW and AEB standard from 2019.
Road Test

The BMW 3 Series is an excellent car that boasts high quality, attention to detail, and a long list of high-tech features. Sure, it's a bit less engaging to drive than it used to be, with less tactile steering. But the car is agile, steady, and well balanced -- even when pushed hard. And it still delivers a very satisfying and balanced overall driving experience.

Ride comfort, cabin quietness, and interior fit and finish are all impressive. The rear seat has received a little breathing room over the years, but it's still tight. And some controls remain needlessly complicated.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Rear
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
wagon
4-door hatchback
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 7-speed Sequential
  • 8-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 hybrid (248 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (240 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (180 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbodiesel (180 hp)
  • 3-liter 6 turbo (425 hp)
  • 3-liter 6 turbo (300 hp)
  • 3-liter 6 turbo (320 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2016 BMW 3 Series owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen goes blank

"I was able to repair the display screen myself by removing and reinstalling. A connector had come loose and was easy to repair. It was worth trying before taking to the dealer and worked out for me."

Anonymous, (2016 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"system does not find an address, have to rely on Google maps frequently due to this defect; also routes off of the freeway due to traffic (apparently) and then immediately puts you back on at next on ramp."

Robert W., CA (2016 BMW 3 Series 340i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"The problems started when I bought the car; at first there was no connectivity (I couldn't send the car addresses and it didn't receive real-time traffic reports). That was fixed, then later it started randomly losing its bearings, saying we were somewhere 0-20 miles away from our actual location. I brought it back and it was fixed after a 2-day stay (they gave me a nice loaner). It worked for two months or so, then the problem reoccurred. The next time they brought in some experts and the fix lasted longer. I brought it in again and it was fixed again. Each time a different component was replaced. In May of last year I brought it in and they brought in their regional genius. The main Navigation unit was replaced. This worked until recently. The good news is that my car was always returned in perfect washed and vacuumed condition, and one time they threw in a full detailing. There are no rattles or marks or ill-fitting pieces anywhere in the interior following the services. Since my lease is almost up, I called BMW USA customer service and they offered to send me a $1000 check towards my next BMW. I would've liked better but possibly because I work for a company (Holman) that owns many dealerships, my car was leased through the Executive Lease program at a huge discount compared to normal terms. Other than that problem, my fully-loaded car has been 100% trouble-free and yes I will definitely get yet another BMW. Possibly a 540i."

John G., NJ (2016 BMW 3 Series 340i xDrive 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"very difficult to use. Voice command system does not work one dealer was unable to do anything to fix it. other aspects of the system very distracting to use while driving"

William T., AK (2016 BMW 3 Series 320i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"crashed could not use phone or nav delayed appointment for service long wait for drop off and pick up"

Anonymous, ON (2016 BMW 3 Series 340i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Freezes and restarts randomly."

Anonymous, PA (2016 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)

"Routes don't refresh quickly enough especially when there is obvious traffic on route; it sometimes doesn't select the fastest route even though that is what is selected."

Anonymous, MA (2016 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Erratic minor problems, the most serious of which is that the first few words of the voice commands get cut off, I.e., "... urn right" instead of "In a quarter mile turn right." Cannot recreate these problems for the dealer. Dealer installed updated software; too soon to see if it is working"

Robert H., MA (2016 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)

"Satellite receiver system failed, nothing.requiring satellite data worked... covered by warranty"

Anonymous, AL (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"outdated at purchase; inaccurate directions, not intuitive; false traffic information"

Michael B., CA (2016 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Radio

"system intermittently loses presets and channel list . Happens just after car is serviced by dealer, then comes and goes intermittently"

Robert W., CA (2016 BMW 3 Series 340i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"Pushbuttons do not work correctly. Difficult using radio/Sirius while driving"

D H., CT (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Software update fixes

"Software to update all systems stopped operating and the dealer eventually figured out and updated after 3 visits."

Anonymous, WA (2016 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Speakers

"speaker sounds bad."

Anonymous, WA (2016 BMW 3 Series 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"There was a seal leak found in the rear windshield. This caused a water leak that pooled in the area of the trunk where the Audio power system (powers the speakers) was located and shorted out the system. My rear window and audio unit had to be replaced under warranty."

Brendan H., NY (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"windshield needed to be re-installed"

Michael D., NY (2016 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"windshield was not installed properly causing air to leak. Required re installation."

Anonymous, NY (2016 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"All the doors creek when driving on uneven surfaces. It is a know issue for this model and it is reported in the internet in various forums."

Jd R., BC (2016 BMW 3 Series 340i xDrive 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Squeaks or rattles

"rattle came from the package shelf. dealer indicated it was a common problem."

Shawn P., FL (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"There was a rattle when we drove on rough roads. Took the dealership a couple of test drives to find it in the steering column. Fixed and no problems since"

Anonymous, OR (2016 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)

"Rattle started after service and was resolved after next service"

Michael W., CA (2016 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)

"There is a rattle that comes from the rear passenger side when it gets warm, but not when it is colder"

Anonymous, PA (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Wind noise

"it rides noiser--partly wind and partly the high speed tires."

Barry P., NC (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

"After the last service visit, the automated climate control is not setting the temperature as effectively as previously it had been."

Jeff B., CO (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Was not cooling properly"

Anonymous, TX (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Worked perfectly for about 2 years, then fluctuated temperature, had to constantly lower thermostat to cool. BMW dealership worked on it, didn't fix to previous operation."

Anonymous, (2016 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The temp control would stop working after two or three hours of driving. I would have to turn it completely off. And then it would work again after about an hour."

Anonymous, (2016 BMW 3 Series 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Blower (fan) motor

"Problem cropped up within the first 20000 miles during a warm summer rendering the a/c useless. It was a warranty repair at no cost to us."

Anonymous, OH (2016 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Mid summer and the blower on the a/c failed. Dealership arranged a loaner for the 3 days it took to fix. Not what you would expect for a vehicle with 7590 miles"

Anonymous, OH (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Heater system

"Heater valve controlling cooling system water to the heater froze shut. Climate System Heater would not provide heat. It started the first time we tried to use the heater after purchasing the certified pre-owned car. BMW Warranty covered the full cost of repairs."

Anonymous, (2016 BMW 3 Series 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Refrigerant leaks

"Road debris appears to have bounced up into the engine compartment and cracked the refrigerant reservoir and damaged the A/C Compressor. This is not a warranty failure, however, I do think that a better design would prevent normal rocks and read debris from bouncing up into the engine compartment. My service tech says he sees 4 to 5 of these per year."

David S., CA (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"The emergency system (SOS button) failed and had to be replaced by the dealer. It took two visits to fix the problem."

Anonymous, LA (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Gauges

"Instrument cluster failed twice while driving. BMW replaced the entire cluster under warranty"

Anonymous, PA (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Headlights

"The stock halogen headlights on the BMW 3-Series are total garbage. They barely light up the road at night. The high beams don't add much additional light. I have had better halogen headlights on cars costing half as much. If Toyota can put a good halogen headlight on a base model Corolla or HID headlights on a Camry, BMW can do better without charging $4000+ for their technology package to get HIDs on a $40K+ car. I love the car. The driving dynamics, the handling, reliability, comfort are all"

Anonymous, NY (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Keyless entry

"The doors would not lock and unlock properly."

Anonymous, WA (2016 BMW 3 Series 320i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Tire pressure monitor

"Warning light came on multiple times. Dealership kept saying it was okay. Friday it came on and they okayed it. Saturday I had them check it again to assure me the tires were fine before a road trip. Sunday the tire was totally flat on a highway 250 miles from home."

Anonymous, FL (2016 BMW 3 Series)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Normal routine brake wear

"Brake wear seems to be higher than normal for this type of vehicle that is not driven hard or in stop and go traffic. In addition, the cost of repair is ridiculous compared to prior vehicles I've owned -primarily Honda and Toyota."

Anonymous, OH (2016 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Premature brake wear

"Brakes replaced after only 45,000 km"

Anonymous, ON (2016 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Brakes needed to be reclined after very few miles"

Dorsey G., MA (2016 BMW 3 Series 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Squeaking

"The M brakes squeak because of the metal pads. You have to burnish them. Aggressively apply the brakes then it will stop for a short time period."

Jd R., BC (2016 BMW 3 Series 340i xDrive 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"The engine light went on. The BMW dealer would charge 295 to do diagnostics on it. I went to a local mechanic who did diagnostics who told me it was the EAC. Since I was having no problems with the driving of the car he said I didn't have to do anything now, or I could replace the radiator at a cost of about $800/"

Anonymous, (2016 BMW 3 Series Unsure)
Fuel pump

"It had to be replaced. It was under warranty and did not cost us anything."

Anonymous, DC (2016 BMW 3 Series 335i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Failed"

Franklin M., MA (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Check engine light kept going off and a defective vacuum line was found with a leak."

Anonymous, NY (2016 BMW 3 Series 340i xDrive 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

"After I hit a big hole in the road the struts start to touch the tire. It will happened in any car."

Anonymous, (2016 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Springs or torsion bars

"Shock Tower brace came unscrewed from the factory. Dealer had to screw it in"

Anonymous, CA (2016 BMW 3 Series 340i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Steering wheel vibration

"Excessive steering wheel vibration"

Anonymous, TX (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Differential

"BMW recall"

Anonymous, QC (2016 BMW 3 Series None 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Electrical failure

"There is a sensor that controls the auto shut off and fuel economy. In addition there was a crack in the system."

Anonymous, (2016 BMW 3 Series 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Head gasket

"Leaking oil noted that pointed to a much larger problem with a bad head gasket. Cost was $4,000 to repair."

Anonymous, HI (2016 BMW 3 Series None 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Pipes

"Rattle noise due to defective Exhaust butterfly valve. This valve routes exhaust gas through a longer path to reduce noise at lower RPM's."

Hank B., FL (2016 BMW 3 Series 340i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Oil leaks

"Oil gasket leaked, seal failed at 9000 miles, and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2016 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint on front bumper just started coming off in the car wash. Dealer is repainting"

Shellie B., MO (2016 BMW 3 Series 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Sunroof

"Sunroof exploded without warning while driving"

Dorothy C., TX (2016 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

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