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BMW 3 Series : Used

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Justin Pritchard
E90 3 Series loved for driving experience
History/Description: The last-generation BMW 3 Series sedan was one of the most desirable luxury cars on Canadian roads, and available in its “E90” iteration from 2006 to 2011 (inclusive). Look for all the luxury-car goodies you’d expect of a world-class sports sedan, as well as rear- or all-wheel drive.

The 323i model started the range, offering up a 2.5L engine with 175 or 200 horsepower, depending on the year. A 3L straight-6 made anywhere between 215 and 255 horsepower in up-level models. A mighty twin-turbo straight-6 was added as well, creating the new 335i which packed 300 horsepower.

2008 BMW 3 Series front 3/4 view
2008 BMW 3 Series (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Shoppers should note that models wearing the “xi” or “xDrive” badge were fitted with All Wheel Drive (AWD), and that manual or automatic transmissions were available on most models.

What Owners Like:
No surprises here: Owners rave about styling, luxury, status, refinement, performance, handling, ride quality, and the overall feel of the 3 Series in most variants. This is a sedan with a long history of award-winning performance and luxury for a reason.

What Owners Dislike: Typical complaints include limited rear seat space, limited headroom for taller drivers, and a harsh ride on some models, particularly with large wheels and low-profile tires. Some also wish for an easier and more straightforward infotainment interface.

Common Issues With A Used BMW 3 Series: Begin with a full inspection of the 3 Series’ interior and body. Look for cracking or chipped paint, and inspect all seats and “leather” surfaces within the car for signs of wear, rips or cracking. Some owners have reported cracks and tears in their leather after just a few years.

Ensure all door locks and the trunk release work properly. Ditto for the keyfobs. And, as it goes with any German car, inspect the 3 Series exhaustively for signs of electronic and wiring problems. Ensure any and every feature and system that runs on electricity within the 3 Series is working as expected.

Start the engine (make sure the seller hasn’t pre-warmed it) and listen for any unwelcomed ticking sounds from the cylinder head. Some owners have reported issues with noisy valve lifters, which may require replacing.

2009 BMW 3 Series moteur
2009 BMW 3 Series (Photo: Matthieu Lambert)
Justin Pritchard
Justin Pritchard
Automotive expert