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2008 BMW 3 Series

Overview
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2008 BMW 3 Series Review

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Now in its fifth generation, BMW's 3 Series carries on as one of the world's premier driving machines. Both Sedan and Sports Wagon variants received a major engine upgrade last year, changing the familiar 325 and 330 name badges to 328 and 335, with the later receiving a twin-turbocharged engine. Even the more affordable members of the family -- rear-wheel-drive 328i Sedan and Sports Wagon and all-wheel-drive 328xi Sedan and Sports Wagon -- offer an impressive roster of comfort and convenience touches in addition to their crisply-tuned suspension packages, standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), powerful anti-lock brakes (ABS) and handling characteristics that continue to win rave reviews from driving fans everywhere.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're a genuine driving enthusiast who still believes that there's just something special about German automotive engineering, virtually any selection from the 328i and 328xi menu could be just what you're looking for. Even at its entry level, the 3 Series package provides an engaging mix of character, quality and performance.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you prefer a suspension tuned more towards ride comfort than control, want a rear seat with lots of legroom or need a spacious trunk, the 3 Series may be less attractive than some of its European or Japanese competitors -- although the Sports Wagon does offer impressive cargo room even with the rear seat up. BMW's iDrive integrated controller that's included with the optional navigation system also has been criticized for its unnecessary complexity.

What's New for 2008

Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters are available on models equipped with the six-speed STEPTRONIC transmission and Sport Package. The 328 models receive new 16-inch alloy wheels and chrome-tipped exhaust pipes, while HD radio is made available across the line.

Driving the 3 Series

Driving Impressions True to tradition, even the entry-level 3 Series offers a full measure of BMW's legendary driving DNA. Fortified with abundant power and torque, both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants, in either...

body style and with either transmission, are plenty fast from zero to 60 mph and easily capable of coping with any kind of traffic situation. There's a precise feel to the steering and the well-sorted suspension provides exceptional confidence through even the most challenging corners. While some may find the ride a tad too taut -- particularly when fitted with the optional Sport Package -- we think the handling advantages more than offset any minor comfort tradeoff. BMW's excellent xDrive all-wheel-drive system also makes dealing with inclement weather considerably less stressful.

Start-off Assistant
Order a 3 Series with a manual transmission and you'll enjoy the benefits of this subtle but effective helper that automatically applies the brakes for a few seconds whenever you're stopped on a hill to help prevent the car from rolling backwards while you engage first gear.

Optional Active Steering
This high-tech adjunct to the standard power steering varies the effective turning ratio to correspond with vehicle velocity, making it easier to maneuver at low speeds while enhancing stability under freeway cruising conditions.

2008 BMW 3 Series Details
Interior

Although slightly roomier than any of its predecessors, the 2008 BMW 3 Series remains a compact sedan that provides better accommodations in its firm but comfortably supportive front bucket seats than in the rear bench -- where six-footers are apt to feel a bit confined. The clean, elegant look is highlighted by standard leatherette upholstery set off by Burl Walnut, Poplar Natural Wood or aluminum trim. Legible white-on-black instruments and a multifunction steering wheel on a tilt and telescoping column reinforce its driver-centric character, while models fitted with the optional navigation package get an alternative "double-wave" dash to accommodate the central video display.

Exterior

A relatively long wheelbase coupled with short front and rear overhangs, plus a slight wedge shape, gives the compact 3 Series a dynamic flair that reflects common styling cues with the larger 5 Series and 7 Series, elements that are further reinforced by the signature twin-kidney grilles. Unique headlamp and taillight treatments help define the 3 Series' character, and the 17- and 18-inch wheels that are part of the optional Sport Package impart an even more aggressive stance than the standard 16-inch alloy rims. All 3 Series models are fitted with extended-mobility run-flat tires, so no spare is included.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In keeping with its performance heritage, the 2008 BMW 3 Series emphasizes precise handling by augmenting its well-tuned suspension with the comprehensive Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system. DSC interfaces with the car's powerful anti-lock brakes (ABS) as well as with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) on rear-wheel-drive models or Hill Descent Control (HDC) on all-wheel-drive vehicles. In addition to the expected power assists, the 3 Series offers numerous comfort and convenience touches, including cruise control, 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system and a single (Sedans) or dual (Sports Wagons) power moonroof. All models feature run-flat tires, dual front and front-side airbags plus BMW's front- and rear-seat Head Protection System (HPS).

Optional Equipment

Key single extras include a six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, eight-way power front seats with driver memory, corner-following Xenon Adaptive Headlights, Comfort Access keyless entry and start, distance-maintaining Active Cruise Control, Active Power Steering that varies effort and ratio with vehicle speed, a navigation system with real-time traffic information and iDrive integrated multifunction controller, Dakota Leather upholstery, Logic7 Sound System, HD radio and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The Cold Weather Package includes headlamp washers and heated front seats, while a Premium Package brings leather plus a subscription to BMW Assist that includes real-time help and concierge service at the push of a button. The Sport Package nets tauter suspension, sport seats and 17-inch wheels and tires.

Under the Hood

Although the 328i and 335i share the same 3.0-liter engine displacement, how BMW tweaks each engine makes all the difference in the world. In the 328 models, an ultra-smooth 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine makes a respectable 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. In the 335, twin turbochargers up the output to 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Another welcome touch is BMW's sophisticated Double VANOS variable valve-timing system that bolsters low- and mid-range responsiveness while helping make the engine even more efficient.

3.0-liter in-line 6
230 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
200 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 (Sedan, manual, 2WD), 19/28 (Sedan, automatic, 2WD), 17/27 (Sports Wagon, manual, 2WD), 18/27 (Sports Wagon, automatic, 2WD), 17/25 (AWD)

3.0-liter in-line 6 twin-turbocharged
300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (manual, 2WD), 17/26 (automatic, 2WD), 16/25 (manual, 4WD), 17/25 (automatic, 4WD)

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2008 BMW 3 Series Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 1040 Ratings for the 2006 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

I've enjoyed it, my favorite BMW to date

By on Saturday, April 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun Reliable Convenient"

Cons: "cup holders are shallow"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought the car new, it's a 2008, and it was perfect for me. I love to drive, and thoroughtly enjoyed the handling of this car. I just couldn't live without the carrying capacity and convenience of a wagon, and love the sporty look along with the zippy drive. Back home, the road are windy and hilly, and this car loved the terrain. I particularly liked the panoramic roof, it opened wide enough that I didn't miss the convertible I used to have! Have I mentioned how great the wagon is? I transported a full kitchen of ready to assemble cabinets from an Ikea back home to my place on the the Gulf Coast of Florida. Another time, I drove straight through 1100 miles, to make a deadline and definitely wished the seat was more plush, but that might have been the case with any car. I've had several BMW's through the last 25 years, and this is the smallest one yet, and it's been a gem, reliable, convenient and very fun to drive. I'm replacing it, because my husband has a long upper body, and at 6'3" and 245# finds the headroom a bit cramped for his height, but his head nearly touches the roof of his car, so he often offers to drive, even though I prefer to drive, hence the reason why my mileage is so low. (I secretly think he's jealous how much I love my car, and that the local fireman during the boot collection remarked that he didn't realize BMW made wagons, and that it looked sexy!) I wish BMW made this body style still, I'm not as fond of the "chunky" looking X1, so, not sure what else I'll buy. Maintainance was always done at the dealership, and since I never had anything beyond oil changes, tires and brakes, I can't complain about maintenance cost, but I also spent $4000 for the platinum extended warranty since I often travel long distance alone. Not that I expected to use it, but that I haven't needed it. As insurance, BMW warranties are expensive, but if I had needed it, I wouldn't have complained about the price! If I had any complaint, the cup holders were adequate and held my large Iced Tea securely. However, none of my BMW's had cup holders to get excited about, but I knew this going in. This car is for driving, so pay attention and leave the snacks behind!"

Good 2nd car for single person

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "Extremely high cost of ownership"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"An auto mechanics dream. AC repair, brake sensors, brake pads, and other less costly repairs plus high cost routine maintenance and I have spent almost $5000 in the past 5000 miles. No wonder the warranty ends at 40,000 miles."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

BEST CAR EVER OWNED

By on Saturday, April 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great price and great car"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"From the time I steped on the lot this was the vehicle that caught my eye. A rare BMW color of barrique red. I then looked at the nomenclature (the number) and noticed that it was an XI model. 6mt, awd, 4 door, beautiful color, with brown lether interior and burled walnut accents. What a perfect car. Handling is great in all weather conditions. Will instill confidence in your driving ablities. Great car to own and drive."

12 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Best Car BMW Makes

By on Wednesday, April 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Torque, ride, handling, mileage"

Cons: "Run Flat Tires"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is absolutely amazing. It drives great, sporty but with a decent ride. The 425 lb ft of torque combined with terrific handling make it a blast to drive. And, to top it off, it gets between 35-40 mpg going about 80 mph. Out of 7 previous BMWs, this is unquestioningly the best I have owned. My only quibble is BMW's practice of using run-flat tires. They are horrible. I changed them out the first week I bought the car, drastically improving ride quality, handling, and tire noise."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

highly recommended for a sporty family car

By on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Consumer reports said unreliable but not for me!"

Cons: "Too fast for teens!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Relative expensive new but it proved to be worth the price I will buy a new one again. Once the turbo cutting out was fixed under warranty the car proved to be very reliable! The power of this car is spectacular but driven normally I average 27 mpg and better! My car is 2 wheel drive but with good snow tires I never feared getting stuck in ne pa. I now have 88'ooo and the car is still tite and runs like new."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Solid car great handling and economical

By on Friday, March 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This is my third BMW three series and I'm not disappointed. This is a solid car,great handling and economical."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?