BMW 3 Series Saloon 2005-2008

BMW 3 Series Saloon 2005-2008

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Superbly constructed and handles extremely well too
  • Spacious interior even in the convertible
  • Economical diesel engines
  • An impressive folding metal roof

Cons:

  • Firm ride
  • The iDrive can prove to be a bit too fiddly
  • Expensive to buy and run

Overview

The BMW 3-Series comes in the form of a Convertible, Saloon or Tourer with all being exceedingly comfortable and lavish. The handling that is second to none and has proven to be an even better drive than its predecessor was which at the time seemed impossible. The convertible comes with BMW's first ever folding metal roof that changes it from a convertible with the roof down to a smart coupe in less than 30 seconds. There is also a phenomenal array of engines to choose from with one to suit everyone's needs.

Exterior and Interior

The interior of the Saloon and Tourer are spacious with the seats being extremely comfortable and supportive. There is plenty of room and this allows five adults to sit comfortably. It's not quite as spacious in the Convertible though with only enough room for two adults on the back seats, but they do receive plenty of head and leg room. The boot in the Saloon and Tourer are spacious being able to carry enough luggage for a week away for all the occupants. The boot in the Convertible is significantly smaller especially when the roof is down, but what a roof it is. It is BMW's first ever hard top folding roof that is excellent to watch as it glides smoothly into the boot in under 30 seconds. All of the models are available with split folding rear seats, but they only come as an optional extra and not as standard! The interior is well made and robust with the centre console and dash is cleanly and clearly laid out. The optional iDrive makes the centre console less cluttered as it controls most things that you usually find there, but that is controlled only by a single knob and can be fiddly.

Performance and Economy

The entry level 318i is a decent engine offering good performance and economy, however, the 320i is definitely the better choice. The 320i goes from 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds and achieves a fairly impressive 46mpg, which is the best of the petrol range. The 325i is quicker, but only just and the drop off in fuel efficiency isn't worth it. The 330i improves things though only taking 5.9 seconds to go from 0-60mph and achieves 39mpg. The top of the range 335i is monster of an engine going from a standing start to 60mph in just 5.4 seconds although the fuel economy drops down to 31mpg and you are unlikely to achieve this. The diesel engines are just as quick and offer better fuel efficiency than the petrol's making them the obvious choice. The entry level 318d is the most economical at 60mpg and is surprisingly quick going from 0-60mph in 9.0 seconds. The 320d isn't far behind when it comes to fuel efficiency at 58mpg but is nearly a second faster at 8.6 seconds. The 325d is even quicker going from 0-60mph in 7.7 seconds, but it isn't as frugal as the previous engines only managing 49mpg. The 330d proves to be just as frugal and is quicker too making it the obvious choice over the 325d and with it only taking 6.8 seconds to go from a standing start to 60mph. The 335d will go from 0-60mph in an amazing 5.9 seconds (in a diesel!!) and will still provide a return of 42mpg.

Like to Drive

The 3-Series is a superb car to be behind the wheel of with the handling proving to be even more impressive than the previous generations. The steering is sharp and responsive feeling perfectly balanced at all times and turns accurately into corners. There is limited body roll and there is always plenty of grip, even in the wet weather thanks the exceptional weight distribution and rear wheel drive. The suspension is stiff and feels bumpy on rougher roads, but not uncomfortably so and as for wind and road noise there is almost none to speak of. The convertible is just as good with the roof up feeling like a coupe and with it down even at motorway speed you won't feel any wind buffeting in the front seats and can easily hold a conversation without having to shout.

Faults and Repairs

There isn't any major stand out problems with the 3-Series and the majority of owners have nothing to negative to report with their cars. Still you should check the suspension and brakes on the more powerful engines as they were bought to be driven hard. Also check all the electrics especially the hard top on the convertible and make sure there are no squeaks or jerks from it as it is lowered and raised flowing up and down in one smooth motion. Also if possible check that it doesn't leak. BMW do have the highest hourly rates though so when it comes to servicing and repairs be prepared to part with a fair amount of your hard earned cash.


Overall Rating:
Review by Guest
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"Locking system..."

Exterior and Interior

Great body work, looks fab. Interior is comfortable in the front but less so in the rear, not really suitable for baby seats as one we got had to be returned as it didn't sit right. Driver and passengers seats were great though.

Performance and Economy

Great to drive, smooth and easy on fuel. If it wasn't for the two recurring faults that are both expensive to repair it would have been perfect.

Like to Drive

Great car for driving short or long distances. Smooth running and easy on fuel. The car was a dream to drive, really to suited to cruising long distances. It was the best car I have ever driven, will be glad to get another. <

Faults and Repairs

The locking system had to be replaced just after the warranty ran out. That was two years ago and its starting to go again. The turbo pump has also went twice.
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value