The BMW 3 Series has long been a sports sedan benchmark -- and perennial best-seller to boot. Not only is the 3 a focused sports sedan, it also boasts a well-crafted interior with high-tech electronics and thorough attention to detail. Recent updates have helped this BMW regain some of its sporty driving characteristics, while being one of the roomiest and most fuel-efficient models in this class.
Alerts
There are 2 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 has long been a sports sedan benchmark -- and perennial best-seller to boot. Not only is the 3 a focused sports sedan, it also boasts a well-crafted interior with high-tech electronics and thorough attention to detail. Recent updates have helped this BMW regain some of its sporty driving characteristics, while being one of the roomiest and most fuel-efficient models in this class.

That said, other rivals like the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are almost as engaging to drive, and those German rivals have a more comfortable ride and quiet cabin. With typical options, the 3 Series also ends up costing more than the Audi and Mercedes, although lease rates are comparable.

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 (248 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (180 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbodiesel (180 hp)
  • 3-liter 6 turbo (425 hp)
  • 3-liter 6 turbo (320 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2017 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

Apple CarPlay

"Oftentimes it would not synch with my iPhone"

Anonymous, CT (2017 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)
CD player

"Does not play CD's"

Anonymous, MA (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Display screen freezes up

"The iDrive System crashes consistently at least once/week. During normal commuting. This happens in stop-and-go traffic as well as cruise control highway driving. Have updated the system. It seems to be an ongoing issue BMW has yet to resolve."

Lonnie M., MN (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Hardware replacement

"This issue was described, and was part of the navigation issue."

Anonymous, (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"The navigation would drop me in the middle of nowhere. All locations are selected from the navigation list, and it still can't get you to the place you want to go. This problem was sporadic. I have kept a journal both written and pictorial to keep a log of the undesirable navigation flaws. It has been at Chapman BMW in Chandler, AZ on three separate occasions. The first two times. The techs used half of a tank of fuel only to say they couldn't duplicate the issue, then they updated the software. The 3rd visit after even more logged proof, they suggested a tech ride along. We went two places. First one, the vehicle went right there. Second, we decided to choose a circle k convenience store from the list in the navigation. It dropped us in a place a convenience store would never be. The tech at that point suggested we replace the head unit. At this point. I have not experienced any failures in navigation, but I've only had the vehicle back for two weeks."

Anonymous, (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The main computer failed, requiring replacement under warranty. All of the problems I listed failed because of this. It would have cost at least $2000 if not under warranty"

Frank F., VA (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"Phone pairing was sporadic. Sometimes it would pair, sometimes it would not. Getting it to pair was a multi-step, time consuming process"

Anonymous, CT (2017 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)

"System would not recognize the iPhone it was already paired to on previous session. This happens repeatedly."

Jeffrey B., MA (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Radio

"The satellite radio module was improperly programmed at the factory. It took the dealer a week to determine what was wrong and then order the parts to fix it."

Barry K., FL (2017 BMW 3 Series 320i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Car came with subscription to satellite radio. It stopped working. It took 4 requests up to and including the service manager before BMW would correct the problem. They replaced entire radio/navigation system."

Anonymous, TX (2017 BMW 3 Series 330e 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"Hard to believe the a newer car (in Minnesota) would have the A/C go out after only 18k miles. This is definitely an issue others should be aware of. I've had other Makes which A/C had lasted over 150k without issue. This is ridiculous."

Lonnie M., MN (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"The compressor stopped working entirely making charging the PHEV battery impossible and driving in hot weather also impossible."

Anonymous, OH (2017 BMW 3 Series 330e 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"Air conditioner was blowing out hot air."

Anonymous, NY (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Care purchased in Nov and over the winter AC was not used in north east). Hot day in Feb, the car blew hot air when AC was turned on. Again occurred in April. Overall, dealer spent 2 weeks keeping the car trying to determine root cause. Currently no root cause found. Concerned that it may be an ongoing problem and forced us not to drive it on vacation to Myrtle Beach in April for fear of the AC not working."

Daniel L., MA (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Automatic climate control

"It needed to be brought to BMW repair for computer upgrade to fix ac problem. Car wouldn't blow cold air."

Anonymous, NY (2017 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"noise in the road"

Rosendo A., PR (2017 BMW 3 Series 320i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Rattling noise sometimes comes from the passenger side, at the area of A pillar and dash in hot weather, it is like vibrating sounds and cannot detect where it comes from."

Anonymous, CA (2017 BMW 3 Series 340i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

"interior trim vibrates and buzzes at some highway speeds."

Anonymous, OR (2017 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)

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

Glass defects

"Car was delivered to me with a windshield that was improperly installed. Had to have it removed and resealed within 24 hours of leasing the vehicle."

Anonymous, CA (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"The trunk opens itself. It appears to be related to the remote. They did reprogram it so that you have to hit lock and then open before it would open and that has stopped a lot. I also had to disable the "kick to open" feature since it would false as you just walk by the car. I can never trust that the tunk will stay closed."

Anonymous, TX (2017 BMW 3 Series 340i xDrive 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

Engine computer

"replaced ECU because of engine stalling"

Anonymous, CA (2017 BMW 3 Series 328d 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Fuel leaks

"The gas apparently was leaking into the oil via some part. And it three trips to have it found out. And computer stopped working once and had to be reloaded"

Anonymous, WI (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 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

Driveshaft or axle

"Recall on driveshaft due to a safety concern, caused no major issue to me but took a very long time to get a replacement part."

Jonathan M., NC (2017 BMW 3 Series None 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Electrical failure

"Mouse/rodent nests in vehicle which led to damage to wiring controlling the transmission. Not covered under warranty and dealer cleaned the mess us and replaced wiring harness at a cost of bit over $1,000"

Anonymous, MD (2017 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl diesel)

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

"Replaced rear brake pads. Dealer said it was normal wear/tear, but it seems rear brake pads should last longer than 17,000 miles ."

Charles S., NJ (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Replace brake pads warning appeared on dash display. This surprised and startled my wife (owner of vehicle) because it seemed to indicate that there was a problem which should be addressed immediately. Turned out to be a timer that's set to advise that the replacement interval for the brake pads had elapsed."

Anonymous, PA (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Loose/rattling heat shield

"Mounting bracket broke causing rattling noise. It was repaired under warranty."

Anonymous, CA (2017 BMW 3 Series 340i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)
Other/unsure

"The driver side blind spot indicator sometimes illuminate while nobody around on the highway. The dealer fixed it at the 2nd time I visited them"

Anonymous, CA (2017 BMW 3 Series 340i 3.0-L 6 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Minor

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

What Owners Say

Transmission computer

"Transmission hesitated while driving. Drive train malfunction warning came on. Transmission stopped working and would not go into any gear before I could get to the dealer. Currently being repaired so I don't know what caused the problem."

Anonymous, TX (2017 BMW 3 Series 330e 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"Once started and Transmission in Park, after 4-5 seconds, car would slip one cog of the transmission gear."

Rick S., AZ (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i 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

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Left brake light has been flickering. I have not yet had time to replace it."

Anonymous, NY (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i xDrive 2.0-L 4 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

Fuel injection system

"A fault in the Injection/computer wiring system"

Anonymous, FL (2017 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

"Noticed several times that the coolant level in reservoir was low. Took it to the dealer twice but they couldn't find a leak. Car eventually overheated and had to pull of the road. Dealer found and resolved the issue under warranty."

Anonymous, (2017 BMW 3 Series 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

Loose interior trim or moldings

"The entire car rattles like it's a 1991 Daewoo. It's embarrassing to call this a luxury sport sedan. Terrible interior rattles nearly everywhere. The Glass Windshield had to be removed and reinstalled due to wind noise. By far the most problematic and poorly built car I've ever owned."

Anonymous, CA (2017 BMW 3 Series 330i 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Major

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

What Owners Say

Turbo or supercharger

"Turbo charger failed around 20k miles. Car was driveable. Replaced under warranty by BMW."

Anonymous, (2017 BMW 3 Series 2.0-L 4 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

Springs or torsion bars

"Noise when pass over a bump"

Anonymous, (2017 BMW 3 Series 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

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