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BMW 3-Series vs. BMW Z3 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
50.5714285714% Best 126% Worst
See problems for this generation
2006 - 2011 BMW 3-Series
53.4285714286% Best 131% Worst
See problems for this generation
2000 - 2005 BMW 3-Series
49.4285714286% Best 124% Worst
See problems for this generation
2000 - 2002 BMW Z3
19.7142857143% Best 72% Worst
See problems for this generation

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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 turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Been superb to date full 2007 BMW 3-Series review
2007 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
This vehicle has a great performance record. 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
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
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
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 2dr Coupe 414-horsepower 4.0L V8
6-speed manual RWD
I have never had major problems with my BMW's, but I have never kept them out of warranty either. M cars are ridiculously expensive to repair. The only car company where the coolant is designed to outlast the radiator. When they break, they brea full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Hardtop conv. turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Possibly expensive repair track record when 4-year warranty end full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 4dr Sedan turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Does not require explanation. full 2008 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
 

What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability And Durability of the BMW Z3

BMW Z3 Reliability And Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2000 2dr Convertible 170-horsepower 2.5L I6
4-speed automatic RWD
Car of the year in 2000. Best Consumer Reports value for 5 years in a row for its class. • Model Rating - Overall 4 stars • Trim Rating - Overall 5 stars • Appearance 5 stars • Comfort 5 stars • Performance 5 stars • Reliability 5 stars full 2000 BMW Z3 review
2000 2dr Convertible 193-horsepower 2.8L I6
4-speed automatic RWD
I got over a 150K miles and only minor items less then $500 dollars on repairs other then tires and brakes full 2000 BMW Z3 review
BMW Z3 Reliability And Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2000 2dr Convertible 193-horsepower 2.8L I6
5-speed manual RWD
I experienced continued problems with the A/C system and the engine cooling system. Also, the rag top did not hold up well and developed a leak. full 2000 BMW Z3 review