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Nissan LEAF vs. BMW 3-Series Reliability

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Results are for year ending December 31, 2015. Only successfully completed repairs are currently included in the analysis. Routine maintenance, most wear items, recalls, and problems fixed with just a reflash or warning light reset are not included.
Year Make/Model Repair Trips Per 100 Cars Compared to all models for the same year    
2015 BMW 3-Series / M3 26
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  80 3-Series / M3s, 7.5 months of data per 3-Series / M3, average 7400 miles

Includes 4-Series.
2015 Nissan LEAF 10
10% 10% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  41 LEAFs, 8.5 months of data per LEAF, average 8100 miles

 

2014 BMW 3-Series 39
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  95 3-Series, 10.0 months of data per 3-Series, average 16900 miles

Includes 4-Series.

 

2013 BMW 3-Series 2dr   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  13 3-Series 2drs, 10.0 months of data per 3-Series 2dr, average 20000 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2013 BMW 3-Series 4dr 36
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  73 3-Series 4drs, 8.6 months of data per 3-Series 4dr, average 27200 miles
2013 Nissan LEAF 23
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  46 LEAFs, 9.2 months of data per LEAF, average 21100 miles

 

2012 BMW 3-Series 2dr and wagon   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  21 3-Series 2dr and wagons, 9.3 months of data per 3-Series 2dr and wagon, average 35900 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2012 BMW 3-Series sedan 67
100% 100% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  32 3-Series sedans, 8.4 months of data per 3-Series sedan, average 36200 miles

First year for F30 3-Series sedan.
2012 Nissan LEAF 21
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  43 LEAFs, 9.3 months of data per LEAF, average 29200 miles

 

2011 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  23 M3s, 9.7 months of data per M3, average 44900 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2011 BMW 328 51
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  116 328s, 9.8 months of data per 328, average 46200 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Common problem with the water pump in the 335i.
2011 BMW 335 66
90% 90% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  43 335s, 8.9 months of data per 335, average 47300 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Common problem with the water pump in the 335i.
2011 Nissan LEAF 27
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  53 LEAFs, 10.0 months of data per LEAF, average 41500 miles

 

2010 BMW 328 73
100% 100% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  28 328s, 8.8 months of data per 328, average 56400 miles

Small sample size for the 335i could at least partly explain very high reported repair frequency.
2010 BMW 335   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  15 335s, 9.5 months of data per 335, average 55700 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2009 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  11 M3s, 9.6 months of data per M3, average 40100 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2009 BMW 335 36
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 335s, 10.2 months of data per 335, average 65300 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.
2009 BMW 328 59
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  44 328s, 9.7 months of data per 328, average 67300 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2008 BMW M3 45
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 M3s, 10.2 months of data per M3, average 51800 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Non-M repair frequency spiking, possibly because CPO warranty ending.
2008 BMW 328 85
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 328s, 9.3 months of data per 328, average 77700 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Non-M repair frequency spiking, possibly because CPO warranty ending.
2008 BMW 335 89
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  37 335s, 10.2 months of data per 335, average 74200 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Non-M repair frequency spiking, possibly because CPO warranty ending.

 

2007 BMW 328 81
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  58 328s, 9.2 months of data per 328, average 86600 miles
2007 BMW 335 88
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  48 335s, 9.6 months of data per 335, average 80900 miles

 

2006 BMW 3-Series 2dr   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  21 3-Series 2drs, 9.2 months of data per 3-Series 2dr, average 74200 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2006 BMW 3-Series 4dr 81
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  73 3-Series 4drs, 8.3 months of data per 3-Series 4dr, average 99200 miles

First year for the E90 4-door.

 

2005 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  17 M3s, 9.8 months of data per M3, average 75700 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2005 BMW 3-Series 100
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  27 3-Series, 9.4 months of data per 3-Series, average 101500 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2004 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  15 M3s, 9.5 months of data per M3, average 97700 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2004 BMW 3-Series 113
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  60 3-Series, 9.0 months of data per 3-Series, average 114300 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2003 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  16 M3s, 9.3 months of data per M3, average 90900 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2003 BMW 3-Series 68
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  41 3-Series, 9.0 months of data per 3-Series, average 119000 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2002 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  12 M3s, 10.1 months of data per M3, average 92800 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2002 BMW 3-Series 106
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  40 3-Series, 8.8 months of data per 3-Series, average 122100 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2001 BMW 3-Series 98
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  35 3-Series, 9.5 months of data per 3-Series, average 141600 miles

 

2000 BMW 3-Series   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  23 3-Series, 4.8 months of data per 3-Series, average 137400 miles

* Small sample, members only.

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Nissan LEAF vs. BMW 3-Series Reliability Comparisons

You won't find Nissan LEAF or BMW 3-Series reliability information like this anywhere else. Actual repair frequencies, not just vague dots, to make it clear how much the Nissan LEAF and the BMW 3-Series truly differ in reliability.

These stats are promptly updated four times a year, to much more closely track Nissan LEAF and BMW 3-Series reliability as the cars age. Others tell you how reliable the Nissan LEAF and the BMW 3-Series were a year ago, when the cars were a year younger and had 12,000 fewer miles on them. Only TrueDelta tells you how reliable the Nissan LEAF and the BMW 3-Series have been recently.

What People Are Saying about Reliability and the Nissan LEAF

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What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability and Durability of the Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF Reliability and Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2014 4dr Hatch 107-horsepower Electric
1-speed automatic FWD
-AC line broke twice - fixed under warranty
2011 4dr Hatch 107-horsepower Electric
1-speed automatic FWD
One of the advantages I was looking forward to, owning a Leaf, was the fact that the power train is so much simpler than a gas powered car. These are some of the parts in a gas powered car that can't go wrong with my all electric Leaf: 1) No gears/transmission to ever slip or go out, just a gearshift knob that is really just an electric switch, with no moving parts other than the switch itself. 2) No fuel pump/filter to need maintenance on. 3) No fuel injection or carborator to go out or have problems. 4) No air filters for the motor to replace. 5) No oil to change or oil filter to replace. 6) No radiator to repair. No coolant level to check. 7) No spark plugs, cap, rotor or points to replace or maintain 8) No belts, pullies or chains to break, wear or replace. 9) No engine overheating possible. 10) No catalytic converter to replace. 11) No muffler or exhaust system to replace/maintain. 12) The electric motor acts as a generator that slows the car down when I take my foot off the accelerator and it charges the battery as I coast to a stop. Also, the regenerative breaking means that the Leaf has a generator attached to one of the rear wheels that also slows the car down as I apply the breaks and that also charges the battery as I break to a stop. This regenerative breaking and electric motor generation means that I use less of the actual breaks on the car and this improves the lifespan of my break pads. I will change the break pads and rotors a lot less often than a normal gas powered car or even a hybrid.
Nissan LEAF Reliability and Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2011 4dr Hatch 107-horsepower Electric
1-speed automatic FWD
The build quality was in line. HOWEVER, what destroys this car as a purchase choice is one thing: The cutting corners and bad engineering decisions (political or otherwise) to make the car battery air cooled. This simply doesn't work very well in warmer climates. The folks up in Seattle don't see this but where it gets above 95 degrees such as CALIF, TX, ARIZONA are the folks are starting to seeing this battery fade rapidly with pernament heat damage. Read about how to care for a LI-ON. We baby'ed this car battery for all the things we could, but the heat is getting it. This vehicle is edging toward being the orphaned 3rd car because it won't be long before it cannot do our simple 35 mile roundtrip commute. A very expensive loss for us. Learn from this and DON"T BUY THIS CAR MODEL. Buy a Chevy Volt instead. We have that car too....and we fight over who drives it. It has a conservative approach...liquid battery management to keep the battery at its favorite temperature day and night, 24/7. That temperature is 70 degrees.
 

What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability and Durability of the BMW 3-Series

BMW 3-Series Reliability and Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2012 4dr Sedan turbocharged 240hp 2.0L I4
8-speed shiftable automatic RWD
I traded in a 2005 BMW with 92,000 miles on it, if the realiability of the old one is any indication to the experience I hope to have with the 2012, then I have little to nothing to worry about.
2011 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
All things aside it boils down to reliability. I previously owned a 2009 335 (same color combo and options) and didnt have one issue. This one however: the water pump went last month @ under 50k miles, the fuel pump also went approx 2 months earlier, the VANOS bolts needed to be replaced, an oil leak after the dealer serviced the vehicle (and no they still charged me) and there was one more episode of limp at home mode which I don't recall. The plus side it's a cpo so the bulk cost nothing. The last few trips cost $50 plus tax a pop. I would not ever recommend anyone purchasing this car without the CPO warranty. example the water pump and labor hovers around a grand to replace. Wheels And Tires - the summer tires are especially prone to road damage. I replaced all 4 tires not due to wear but due to potholes and other hazards... To which any other normal car wouldnt have an issue...
2009 0 My car has been very reliable. I got a cerfited pre owned so all things a free at dealer. If you are buying one, then get a cpo one. well worth it.
2009 0 My car has been very reliable. I got a cerfited pre owned so all things a free at dealer. If you are buying one, then get a cpo one. well worth it.
2008 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed manual RWD
The car has a BETTER THAN AVERAGE frequency of repair record with Consumer Reports.
2008 2dr Coupe 414-horsepower 4.0L V8
7-speed automated manual RWD
Not yet tested to a full extent on my M3 under review, bust as previous BMW owner I enjoyed minimal component failures after many years of ownership.
2008 2dr Coupe 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
History is promising.
2008 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Historically, reliable
2008 2dr Hardtop conv. turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Have owned this car for 5 years; have had two replacement high pressure fuel pumps; replaced steering rack; new turbo gaskets (both turbos); replaced articulating hard top cables - all in the first 3 years and all under warranty! Nothing has gone wrong in the past two years so perhaps this was relatively new model growing pains.
2008 2dr Hardtop conv. turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Have owned this car for 5 years; have had two replacement high pressure fuel pumps; replaced steering rack; new turbo gaskets (both turbos); replaced articulating hard top cables - all in the first 3 years and all under warranty! Nothing has gone wrong in the past two years so perhaps this was relatively new model growing pains.
BMW 3-Series Reliability and Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2011 2dr Hardtop conv. 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Glovebox won't open.
2010 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Small things keep breaking or failing. The engine and drivetrain are solid though.
2010 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
I'm a little nervous about repair costs and frequency. I keep reading about 4-figure repair bills, but there are others who say they've done well with just normal maintenance. Consumer Reports gives the 2010 328i a lot of red dots which is a goo
2009 4dr Sedan 414-horsepower 4.0L V8
6-speed manual RWD
More prone to breakdowns than the Japanese competition.
2009 4dr Sedan turbocharged 265hp 3.0L I6 Diesel
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Always a glitch or two.
2009 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Fuel pump, oil cooler, and run flat tire issues on the 335i turned me off. Will likely be covered by warranty, but met multiple people who had week long+ repairs for these issues. After warranty, 1,200+ for each of these issues is apparently common.
2008 4dr Wagon 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Average is not good enough for a $40K+ car.
2008 2dr Coupe 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Historically, these cars have had their share of electronic gremlins.
2008 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed manual RWD
not as reliable
2008 4dr Wagon 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Poorer reputation than Lexus based on internet research. Stock run flat tires have short life and rough ride. Lack of spare limits options