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BMW 3-Series Reliability by Model Generation

Results are for year ending December 31, 2016. 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 and Model Percent of Average  
2012 - 2016 BMW 3-Series Reliability by Generation2012 - 2016 BMW 3-Series
50.5714285714% Best 126% Worst
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2006 - 2011 BMW 3-Series Reliability by Generation2006 - 2011 BMW 3-Series
53.4285714286% Best 131% Worst
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2000 - 2005 BMW 3-Series Reliability by Generation2000 - 2005 BMW 3-Series
49.4285714286% Best 124% Worst
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TrueDelta Reviews the Reliability And Durability of the BMW 3-Series

BMW 3-Series Reliability And Durability: Cons
YearComment
2016 For anyone planning to keep the car well beyond the warranty period, "reliability" might also constitute a "why not." The tweaks made for 2016 appear to have introduced some rattles and minor electrical issues. I wouldn't worry too much about these. BMWs tend to be about average for the first four years, and reasonably reliable for up to six. Longer than that, though, and expensive repairs can happen. (Our latest reliability stats for the 3 Series.) This noted, the same can be said about every competitor save the Lexus IS and perhaps the Infiniti Q50 (which doesn't yet have much of a track record, and which initially suffered from software issues). We don't have data on the XE, but Jaguars aren't renowned for their reliability. With this, I'm out of "why nots." A champion in the premium compact sedan all-around, the BMW 3 Series lacks glaring weaknesses. full 2016 BMW 3-Series review
 

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. full 2012 BMW 3-Series review
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. full 2009 BMW 3-Series review
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. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
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. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
History is promising. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Historically, reliable full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
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. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
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. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2007 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
No problems after 3 years full 2007 BMW 3-Series review
2007 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Tried & true technology full 2007 BMW 3-Series review
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. full 2011 BMW 3-Series review
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. full 2010 BMW 3-Series review
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 full 2010 BMW 3-Series review
2009 4dr Sedan 414-horsepower 4.0L V8
6-speed manual RWD
More prone to breakdowns than the Japanese competition. full 2009 BMW 3-Series review
2009 4dr Sedan turbocharged 265hp 3.0L I6 Diesel
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Always a glitch or two. full 2009 BMW 3-Series review
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. full 2009 BMW 3-Series review
2008 4dr Wagon 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Average is not good enough for a $40K+ car. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 4dr Sedan turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed manual AWD
The Achilles heel of all BMWs; reliability. They haven't made a reliable car since the mid 1980's. I am convinced that BMW 'engineers' their cars to barely scrape through the factory warranty period whereafter they care less what breaks. And in fact, as evidenced many times throughout the marque's history, they often let slip through some clunkers that even pound their own warranty claims. This car has the now infamous HPFP (high pressure fuel pump) failures, so egregious that BMW was forced to extend the warranty for this part to 10 years or 120k miles. My car is on its 3rd pump. But wait, there's more. Other ticking time bombs built into the car are its dainty piezo fuel injectors, turbo waste gates and of course, the turbos themselves, the latter of which will set you back THOUSANDS if one (of the two) goes. And of course, the electric water pumps lurk in the background too, waiting all the way to 65k miles before they strand you somewhere. As much as I love what the car is and what it can do, I almost 'hear' the ticking noises getting louder every day. Even though mine is a pristine low miles (44.5k) example, it's still now nine model years old, well out of warranty, and getting closer to 'the breaking points' with every passing day. Heck, they don't even take a jump-start well. My battery was accidentally drained while I was away on a two week vacation. The car jump-started exactly according to the owner's manual instructions but within minutes thought it was overheating and put the car into limp mode. Apparently, I was supposed to shut it down after a few minutes, not try to drive it for 30 minutes the way I have done for years to let the car recharge its own battery. No, no, no, you must let it run for fifteen minutes in the driveway, the shut it down, and THEN restart it so its multitude of onboard computers can properly reboot from their previous low-voltage condition. But nothing in the manual said that. Fussy, fussy, fussy little cars. The tragedy is that all of this should be avoidable this far into the 21st century. Every car should be able to get to 100k miles with no drama, and get to 250k miles with ordinary part replacement. That used to be true of BMWs.....not anymore. After this car, I'm out. There's too many really good cars out now (although fewer with manual shift) that make putting up with BMW's shenanigans unnecessary.Frankly, I'm thinking 2010-14 Acura TL SH-AWD 6-spd.....getting most of the cake, and getting to even eat most of it too. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Historically, these cars have had their share of electronic gremlins. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed manual RWD
not as reliable full 2008 BMW 3-Series review