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2008 BMW 3 Series

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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 1070 Ratings for the 2006 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

2007 335i Awesome car!

By on Friday, January 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great car, fun to drive, engineered to last"

Cons: "seems too small in the front passenger seat."

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

"I ordered this car and picked it up in Spartenburg, SC great experience at the performance driving center. Basically I never had any issues with this car. After two weeks of ownership I had installed the performance programming which dramatically bumps the power and torque. Despite the added power hwy mileage stayed at 26 mpg cruising at 80+ mph and all the options including the active cruise still works flawlessly and much better than my newer 2013 infinity QX a testament to BMW's engineering."

2011 - Best looking 3-series model, last I-6

By on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

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
7/10

Pros: "Styling, stance, engine power, fun to drive"

Cons: "Interior designed for smaller people, beware"

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

"This 2011 328i xDrive is my first BMW. I waited 20 years to buy one. I've owned three Saabs, two classic VWs, and a handful of Chevrolets. Last car was a reliable 2007 Chevy Impala with a V6. I bought this 1-owner BMW two years ago from a certified pre-owned dealer with ~27K on it. Daily-driver. ZERO mechanical issues so far. Oil changes, wipers, brakes, etc. all covered by my warranty, zero maintenance cost so far except two new rear tires. The inline 6-cylinder is a dream. No turbo, no gimmicks, just power. The 2011 is the last model year with this engine, for what that's worth to you. Car looks great - front fascia, rear lights, hood shape - the 2011 looks better than the 3's before AND after it. The only complaint I have is the backseat - it is small and tight, and that's with the front seat positioned forward for a short guy like me at 5'7". Tall people look elsewhere, front or back seat. Thankfully my wife and I only have one child, and she's short too. Fun to drive, great styling, great engine."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

unreliable

By on Saturday, December 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "too much maintenance. cheap plastic parts"

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

"I had 3 series since 2000. The first one, a 1987 model was very good, a daily driver. The second was a 2002 model, very good that my son now drives, at 151kmiles. Then I bought my wife a 2011 328 which now has 55kmiles and I drive a 09 335i. Both Late models consistently eat a quarter of oil every 3000 miles. They also like chewing on spark plugs and ignition coils. The 2011 had plugs replaced at 50kmiles, completely worn, along with a 5th cylinder ignition coil. Water pumps go between 45k miles and 70 k miles, expect to spend around $1,200, and don't delay replacing these, they are plastic made and will fail. If you drive on a failed pump your engine will fry. Window regulators are made of cheap plastic, expect to replace them after 50 k miles. A/C compressor used to fail at 120 k miles, the E90 models start growling at 60 k miles. Also, the heat in Texas makes the interior panels peel off. In summary, it seems like BMW currently makes 60k mile cars. I doubt I will have another one. I will miss the sharp driving but it is just not worth the hassle."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Good Car But ...........

By on Saturday, December 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Very good performance"

Cons: "Very poor standard equipment"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I bought it with 32K a year ago. Today it has 54K miles. I had to replace two coils, other than that only regular gas (24 MPG) and premium oil change (Each 17K miles). I will get a temporary spare tire so I won't use anymore run flats, they are very expensive. The car handling , acceleration, brakes and general performance are very good. The rear seat do not fold down, there is no rear view camera. Can you believe it? They are standard equipment on any Ford. I won't buy any car without them as standard equipment. Are you listening BMW."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Fun to drive but expensive to own past 100K miles

By on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive, perfect size, great seats"

Cons: "expensive to own past 100K miles"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"My 8 year old car drives better than it did when it was new because I'm running Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires instead of run flats. I still love driving it, it's tight and according to automotive journalists, it drives better than new 328s! And reliability was excellent until about 100K miles, I've never been stuck on the side of the road and nothing major has gone wrong. BUT based on personal experience and extensive research, quite a few items need to be repaired between 100K and 200K miles that cost $500-$1,000 each. So the question is: "Do I keep this great sports sedan with a smooth in-line 6, sports and premium packages and manual transmission or do I sell it to avoid fairly high maintenance costs?" I wish I had a crystal ball that could tell me what's going to need attention during the next 80K miles so I could make an informed decision. As it stands now, I'm spoiled. It would take $50K to replace it with a better car (like a M235i)."

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

NO longer the ultimate driving machine

By on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "CAn't think of one"

Cons: "loud road noise, run flat tires no spare"

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

"I had a 3 series x drive from 2003 - 2014 and I LOVED that car. Loved it! When the miles racked up, I knew I had to let it go. So based on my experience with my old BMW I bought a 2011 328x drive. I have never hated a car as much. Now, compared to other brands, perhaps it's not the worst, but compared to every other car I've had, I hate this one. Run flat tires! Whose brilliant move was that? Drives like a truck and there is no spare! 4cyl engine? Who knew? I thought they were all straight 6's -my fault for not researching better. It is the most gutless thing I could imagine. where are the manual shift BMW's? What's the point of a BMW with an automatic. The heater/AC fan is so poorly designed that it makes so much noise when on(even low) I can't hear rear seat passengers. No back seat storage bins at all. Did I mention how much I hate this car? I'm going to lose about $10k but am trading on an Audi. At least there is a spare tire, and a reasonably quiet fan."

10 people out of 29 found this review helpful

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