BMW 3 Series Best and Worst Years

BMW 3 Series Best and Worst Years (Top Picks!)

The BMW 3 Series is the product that the corporation sells the most. Around 30% of the total number of cars the company sells result from it.

This only sometimes means it has continuously been operating at its best.

Here is the history of the BMW 3 Series best and worst years.

BMW 3 Series Best and Worst Years
BMW 3 Series Best and Worst Years

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VIDEO: Best BMW 3 Series Cars

Best BMW 3 Series Cars

BMW 3 Series Best and Worst Years

Depending on the source, there are different best and worst years for the BMW 3 Series. According to the first generation (1975–1983), the fifth generation (1998–2005), the fourth generation (1990–2000), the third generation (1982–1994), the second generation (1997–2006), and the seventh generation are all ranked as being the best. The best years, in their opinion, are 1982, 2006, 2007, 2019, and 2021. The best years, in their opinion, are 1982, 2006, 2007, 2019, and 2021. The best generations, in their opinion, are E46 (1997–2006), E30 (1982–1994), E36 (1990–2000), G20 (2018–present), and F30–F80. Last, dependable BMW 3 Series model years include 1982, 2006, 2007, 2019, and 2021.

What Years of the BMW 3 Series Are the Most Reliable?

If you’re considering buying a used BMW 3 Series, you might be eager to discover which model years have a reputation for being the most dependable.

Even though all BMW 3 Series vehicles are generally well-built and long-lasting, some model years are incredibly dependable.


Regarding dependability, the BMW 3 Series from the 2006 model year has the best reputation. This particular 3 Series model year had the least amount of repairs necessary, according to Consumer Reports (CR).

This is probably due to several factors, one of which is that the 2006 BMW 3 Series was built using higher quality and more durable materials than those used in earlier models.

Also, all of BMW’s 3 Series vehicles received six-speed automatic transmissions for the first time in 2006, making this year a significant milestone. In addition, the reliability of these gearboxes has shown to be higher than that of the earlier five-speed models.

A model made in 2006 with relatively low mileage is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to purchase a used BMW 3 Series that you can rely on.

Also, because these vehicles are now more than ten years old, you can purchase them for more affordable prices.


Compared to previous years, this year’s 3 Series vehicles had the fewest reported defects, according to CR figures.

Regarding overall reliability, BMW was deemed to have had successful years in both 2006 and 2007.

The only two years since 2000 in which BMW did not create a single model with below-average reliability were 2006 and 2007.

In light of this, a used BMW from one of the models above years will be a reliable car if you are interested in buying one.

Reliability is, of course, just one of many factors to think about while looking for a used car.

Also, you should ensure that the car you select has the features that suit your preferences and needs as standard equipment.

A BMW 3 Series from either 2006 or 2007 should serve you well if dependability is critical.


An outstanding option for a used premium compact car is the 2019 BMW 3 Series. The BMW 3 Series offers three different body variants: powerful engines, dynamic handling, a smooth ride, and excellent gas mileage.

The 2019 BMW 3 Series has an expected reliability rating of three out of five, putting it in the group’s center.

Its interior is furnished with two rows of roomy, comfy seats and a plethora of standard and optional devices.

There is a large quantity of cargo space available. The 3 Series, however, needs to catch up to its rivals in terms of the interior’s quality and the entertainment system’s functionality.


The 2021 BMW 3 Series has an expected dependability rating of 79 out of 100.

According to J.D. Power, a dependability score between 91 and 100 is considered the best, between 81 and 90 is considered significant, between 70 and 80 is considered average, and between 0-69 is considered poor.

This indicates that the 2021 model has a very high-reliability rating.

Unfortunately, the car’s power is only fair and regarded as below average.

Even if the 2021 BMW 3 Series’ handling is engaging and its engine generates enough power, the cabin is not as spectacular as some of its rivals.

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Which BMW 3 series years should you steer clear of?

You need to be aware of the BMW 3 Series models to stay away from if you’re interested in buying a used one.

There is no definitive response to the question of what makes a BMW model year “avoidable” because there are several viewpoints on the subject.

Most people generally think the years 1995-1999 and 2005 are wrong. This is because, throughout these years, several manufacturing and design problems were present, making driving unpleasant.

Avoid these years while searching for a vehicle if you aren’t specifically looking for one to modify or restore.

The following BMW 3 Series years should be avoided:


In general, you should avoid purchasing a used car from 2005.

The first year of the new generation’s existence was challenging. The vehicle’s electrical system had issues, and the engine’s dependability was subpar.


Another rough year, with individuals complaining about everything from the noise their suspensions made to the dependability of their engines.

Also, the 2008 model year marked the end of production for the earlier E46 version of the 3 Series, so the car you receive is already beginning to age.


Because it has a reliability rating of just one out of five stars and an owner satisfaction rating of just two out of five stars, you should precisely steer clear of the 2012 BMW 3 Series.

Notably, the 2012 model year experienced significant engine issues that negatively impacted reliability.

Do you have no other options if you want a BMW 3 Series but can’t afford a brand-new one?

The 2019+ BMW 3 Series’ most recent batch is typically regarded as having a respectable level of reliability.

If it helps, the general rule is always to purchase the best and most recent 3 Series model you can afford.

It is preferable to return when you have a larger budget if you struggle to afford it.

What Are Some Common Issues With BMW 3 Series Automobiles?

Over the years, there have been some issues with the BMW 3 series. The BMW 3 series frequently encounters issues such as the ones listed below:

Bushing for a crankcase bearing

The crankcase bearing bushing may have been incorrectly pressed into the engine in some models of the BMW 3 Series built between March 11, 2019, and July 9, 2019.

These automobiles were created between March 11, 2019, and July 9, 2019.

If you wish to learn more about this issue, even though it might not initially appear significant, speak with a BMW dealer. It will be necessary to install brand-new engines in afflicted automobiles.

Engine sensor

In some cases built between May 16 and June 7, 2018, the engine may enter an emergency reduced power mode that will limit performance if there is a problem with the crankshaft sensor.

If your 3 Series is affected by this problem, a BMW dealer can tell you and help you replace the sensor if necessary.

Perhaps stalling

The fuel pump can cause the engines in some BMW 3 Series cars to stall. Models created between September 1, 2013, and April 1, 2014, are covered by this.

A warning light and an error message may come on before the engine shuts down.

You should contact a BMW dealer to find out if your specific model is affected by this problem and whether the fuel pump has to be replaced.

EGR cooling

Several BMW cars, including the 3 Series, have been recalled because of leaky EGR coolers.

For the 3 Series, however, it only affects automobiles built between September 2015 and November 2017.

It would help if you spoke with your dealer to learn more because the affected model years span significantly. If you suspect that your car may be affected, you must have it inspected.

Back headrest

We advise having your nearby BMW dealership inspect your 3 Series to determine whether the foldable central rear headrest needs to be replaced if it isn’t operating as intended and is produced between July 5 and December 31, 2019.

Both brakes and suspension

Owners have reported that the BMW 3 Series has a reputation for wearing out brake discs and pads at an alarming rate.

A rattling sound from an electrically adjustable damper in your car does not always indicate a problem. However, we advise bringing your vehicle to a reputable BMW repair shop if this continues.

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How Safe Is BMW 3 Series?

, the BMW 3 Series is a particular vehicle. The 2021 BMW 3 Series received the highest possible rating for overall safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and was given a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating. Three significant crash tests were performed: frontal, side, and rollover. The 2021 BMW 3 Series received a perfect score on each test. For the BMW 3 series sedan models produced between 2019 and 2023, the Institute reportedly gave moderate overlap frontal ratings. The 3 Series received a thorough Good rating from the IIHS in every section of crashworthiness. Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian frontality are standard. The 2022 BMW 3 Series received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. In addition, more stars indicate safer cars, and the NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings are said to help consumers compare vehicle safety while looking for a car.

Reliability of BMW 3 Series

Depending on the source, the BMW 3 Series dependability varies. According to J.D. Power, the 2022 BMW 3 Series has an average expected reliability score of 79 out of 100. There is a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty included with the BMW 3 Series. The 2023 BMW 3-Series is rated as one of the top three carmakers for reliability and is thought to be the most dependable new BMW. On a scale of 1 to 5, Consumer Reports rates product dependability, and generally speaking, the newer the model year, the less trustworthy the product is. Finally, based on J.D. Power criteria, the 2022 BMW 3 Series gets a predicted dependability score of 81 out of 100, which is excellent. A BMW 3 series has a mediocre reliability rating, although it gets better as you move up the model range.

How To Find The Best Deals on BMW 3 Series?

Comparing lease offers from many dealerships is the most straightforward approach to finding offers on a BMW 3 Series. The most excellent lease offers and bargains for the BMW 3 Series are on Edmunds. According to CarsDirect, there are prices, offers, and lease options for the 2023 BMW 3-Series. TrueCar claims to have 2023 BMW 3 Series lease offers and promotions. The prices, rebates, and lease offers for the 2022 BMW 3-Series are listed on Cars. usnews. Finally, according to BMW USA, the 3 Series, 4 Series, and 5 Series models are available for lease and financing.

Tips for Maintaining your BMW 3 Series

You can use the following advice to maintain your BMW 3 Series:

1. Keep your car out of the sun and in the shade. Your car’s paint and interior may become damaged due to exposure to sunshine.

2. Wash and maintain a clean car. Frequent cleaning helps stop the accumulation of dirt, which can result in scratches and other damage.

3. To ensure all required maintenance is completed on schedule, adhere to the BMW Maintenance Plan Service Items.

4. Regularly check tire tread. Tire wear can have an impact on handling and safety.

5. Change the cabin air filters, brake fluid, air filters, and spark plugs as necessary.

6. Regularly wax your vehicle. This shields the paint from the effects of the environment.

These suggestions will help you maintain your BMW 3 Series’s performance for many years while preventing problems and expensive repairs.

How Can You Tell Whether Something Is a Lemon?

Purchase a vehicle history report.

There is no better initial step when purchasing a used car than to obtain a car history report. Two well-known services offer this information for little money: Anyone looking to purchase a used car will find the information provided by CarFax and AutoCheck extremely helpful. The reports let you know the number of past owners, whether or not it had any accidents, how frequently it required maintenance, and the current title. The final section is among the most crucial since it contains the lemon label, which attests that the car followed the correct legal procedures to be designated as a lemon.

However, in some areas, dealers must inform a customer if the vehicle is a manufacturer buyback, which is a reliable way to determine whether a vehicle has a lemon title. However, it is the responsibility of the buyer to conduct a thorough investigation into the vehicle’s history. Therefore, consumers may need help if they accidentally purchase a secondhand lemon because they must inspect it first.

Owner Background

You can view the owner’s history on the vehicle history report, which should indicate whether the manufacturer has purchased the vehicle back. While owners can claim a car is a lemon in a legal dispute and ask the automaker to buy back the problematic vehicle, that is a guaranteed technique to determine if the car was labeled a lemon. You can also determine if the vehicle was sold or traded before it was given a lemon tag if the prior owner may have missed an issue. It also implies that the car’s persistent issue must be apparent.

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Repair Record

Look carefully at the vehicle’s repair record and try to identify any recurring issues. Recurring problems in cars with lemon histories are simple to spot. You can determine whether the issues with the car are minor wear and tear concerns, such as those with the clutch or brakes, or a more severe problem. Check to discover if the repairs were necessary or carried out even when the car was brand new. It can assist in determining whether the car is a lemon or if an incident like a collision or modification caused a misdiagnosed issue.

Are the repairs significant or minor? A severe repair would deal with the drivetrain or suspension, whereas a superficial one would address non-driving-related issues like window or seat controls. Severe repairs would be more challenging, but handling a car might not be a hassle if a car was considered a lemon for a less severe cause.

The report also shows whether repairs are being made at a dealership or a general shop. Like you would with any used car, examine the vehicle’s general condition and health and determine whether routine maintenance has also been carried out. This will assist you in deciding whether or not you should consider purchasing this car.

Inspection before purchase

Is the car still a good investment? You should get a pre-purchase inspection if the flaws are not too concerning or if you believe the automobile may have been incorrectly labeled as a lemon. A mechanic can determine whether the problems are repairable and why the car was considered a lemon. A technician can assist you in determining whether or not a recurring issue is indicative of more severe problems or worries about the quality of the vehicle.

Their satisfaction with the car might help determine if it is a worthwhile investment or a lost cause.

BMW 3 Series FAQ’s

Which BMW 3 Series model year is the most dependable?

If you’re looking for a used, dependable 3 Series, the E90 330i produced from 2005 to 2007 is unquestionably your best option.

What years are favorable for the BMW 3 Series?

The Consumer Reports’ Most Reliable Used BMW 3 Series Model Years. Share: The most dependable models among them are the 2019 and 2021 3 Series.

Which BMW 3 Series generation is the best?

What is the finest 3 Series model? The best 3 Series vehicle to date is the fourth-generation E46 BMW 3 Series. With more than 3.2 million units sold during the course of its nearly ten-year production, it was also the most popular BMW model ever.

What BMW 3 Series should you avoid?

Buy no 3 Series between 2007 and 2011. If at all possible, we advise purchasing a certified pre-owned BMW.

The finest BMW 3 Series engine?

It’s difficult to criticize any of the engines that are offered in the 3 Series because they all strike an outstanding balance between performance and fuel efficiency. Yet the M340i xDrive’s 374hp 3.0 liter six-cylinder petrol engine is unquestionably the show-stopper.

Lead Writer and Editor at Discover Seldric | + posts

John Valdez - Passionate Car Enthusiast and Accomplished Writer

Meet John Valdez, a dedicated car lover and seasoned writer whose passion for automobiles is as vibrant as his words are eloquent. With a keen eye for detail and a heart that beats to the rhythm of engines, John brings a unique blend of expertise and enthusiasm to the world of automotive journalism.

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