2008 BMW 3 Series 328XI 3.0L from North America


Unless you have loads of money for engine work, avoid this car


It needs an oil gasket and the head gasket is going bad.

Stalls when the engine gets hot.

Burning oil smoke comes through the vent system into the cabin of the car.

General Comments:

The car is fun to drive and responsive to the gas pedal.

A little difficult for someone 6' to climb in and out of, but comfortable to drive.

Too bad the engine is junk.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th September, 2018

2008 BMW 3 Series 328xi 3.0 from North America


Highly recommended; very reliable, great handling, great driving vehicle


At approximately 45,000 miles, nearly all of the warning lights illuminated. The dealer reset the computer, which fixed the issue (covered under warranty).

A slightly rough idle developed at approximately 135,000 miles. Original/factory spark plugs and coil-packs (with 135,000 miles on them) were replaced, fixing the issue.

General Comments:

This vehicle has been extremely reliable, with only two minor issues having developed in over 140,000 miles. Excellent handling, very comfortable, and good fuel economy. Always ran great over the past 100,000+ miles of ownership.

All wheel drive (xDrive) system is excellent. In the horrible New Jersey winters, there were never any issues getting through the snow or ice.

The sedan makes a great family vehicle, with plenty of room for passengers and cargo.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2015

2008 BMW 3 Series 320d M Sport 2.0 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


A decent all round car


The plastic intercooler return pipe came loose from the intercooler, resulting in oil covering everything under the bonnet.

General Comments:

So far, apart from the intercooler issue (fixed for a few £), the car has been faultless.

For an M Sport with run flats, it is firm but comfortable.

The handling is brilliant, very safe in the dry, and much more manageable in the wet than BMW's of old.

The 177bhp engine pulls well for a 2 litre diesel, but it's no rocket ship in the real world. 0 - 60 can be achieved in just under 8 seconds, which I've tried and apparently it will run on to 143mph.

This car's best attribute has to be its MPG figure, which even though at an average for me of 44.8 MPG, still less than the claimed 58.9 MPG average, is excellent, especially when you consider the 0-60 and top speed.

The cabin is a great place to be; black leather seats, iDrive and aluminum trim in places all make it a pleasant place to be.

Plenty of space in the boot too, even if the boot hatch is a little on the small side and the rear seats don't fold down.

Overall the car has exceeded expectations in some areas, and not been what I was expecting in others.

I would recommend one if you're looking, but there are lots on the market so take your time, choose wisely, and don't get ripped off just because it says BMW on the bonnet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th January, 2013

23rd Dec 2014, 13:14

Watch out for cam chain failure caused by poor crankshaft sprocket design, which slowly eats the chain. Whole cam chain assembly is located at the bulkhead end of this infamous engine (N47 designation). Extremely expensive to rectify.

2008 BMW 3 Series 318i SE 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Nice package, ruined by poor reliability


Clonking from front suspension at 16,000 miles.

Misfire (coil pack) at 24,000 miles, and again at 43,000 miles.

Drivers side bonnet catch difficult to engage from new.

Intermittent erratic idle (never fixed).

Rainwater entering the passenger foot well from a door seal at 40,000 miles.

General Comments:

Beautiful car in many ways, but the reliability has been unacceptable for a car of this price and so-called quality.

The 318i uses a detuned version of the 2.0 engine from the 320i, and isn't exactly a ball of fire, but if you work it hard, it goes reasonably well. It's very smooth and eager to rev, and there's a noticeable pick up in both pull and response past 3500 RPM, which makes it worth using the revs.

The gearbox isn't as sweet as BMWs of old, with a slightly stiff feel to it, which hasn't really got better with miles. There's also quite a whine on 2nd gear, which has been there from new. BMW tell me this is normal.

Handling is lovely. The balance of the car in fast corners is a joy, and the steering, while being slightly artificial in feel like most electric PAS systems, is beautifully accurate, fast, and has no free play or slack.

Equipment on this SE is pretty good. Dual zone climate, parking sensors, cruise control, CD/radio with aux input for the iPod, electric folding mirrors and 17" alloys. No bluetooth as standard though, which is a disappointment.

The interior overall though is a great place to be. Materials, with the exception of the easily marked plastic "aluminium" trim, are all of high quality, and the standard of construction is flawless. Great seats and driving position too.

Biggest gripe is reliability, which frankly is appalling on a car of this price. Lots of problems, which Google suggests are well known and frequent on this model. Thankfully the dealers are good and helpful, although there's often a 2 week wait for a courtesy car.

I've also never known a car with such soft, easily marked paint. It looks very secondhand at 3 years old, despite regular washing and polishing, and never being subjected to an automatic car wash. The slightest thing seems to leave a scratch or a chip behind.

This is a company car, but if I'd spent my own money, I would have to say the reliability and quality problems would definitely take the shine off owning it. BMWs are not what they used to be in quality and reliability terms, by a long way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 27th September, 2011

29th Jul 2019, 14:34

Well written, and I know this review was written a while ago, but it reflects perfectly the experience I had with BMWs from the same time period. I've no idea why so many people think they are perfectly solid cars - their reliability is average at best and comparable to any car.

And the fact you hear about problems on these newer 3 series cars at only a few years old to me is shocking when I think back to the 10 year old Ford Sierra and Mondeos and other so called average cars back in the day I had, that ran well even at high mileage. Maybe it's the post year 2000 complexity of cars, because incidentally, when I had the old Fords and Vauxhalls, around about the same time I had a 1995 model 3 Series (company car) and it was great, but the later 2008 one I had was terrible. Progress? I do not think so. At least that was a company car also so the company was paying for the expensive repairs, not me :o)

Don't get me wrong, I like BMWs, they are great looking and fun to drive, but that's about it.

30th Jul 2019, 11:58

It's all because of complexity, often driven on the back of tightening regulations. The cars now have more sensors that never existed (and they haven't even perfected the reliability of those sensors, before they are rendered obsolete by newer EU regulations they used to comply with). They're lumping in several control computers into one to control everything from the engine and gearbox, now to include the battery charging algorithm based on how old the battery is (you need to register a new battery to the car else the car will charge it too aggressively thinking it's old and unable to hold the charge and decrease the lifespan of the new battery).

Add to that German recyclability laws which result in plastics of a certain quality. Now the EU has dictated tyre pressure monitoring, and the use of the new Y1234 (or whatever) aircon refrigerant which leaks easily and is very expensive to top up (R134A was fine).

Some of the BMWs now have electric water pumps - whose electronics fail at 100-150K km (but the pump mechanics themselves are pretty good).

Simpler is better - but simpler will mean the new cars cannot meet requirements. Reliability? Look at Toyota - the epitome of modern reliability. Their direct injection engines are nowhere near as good as their normal ones (just like BMW's N43, and many other direct injection units, designed to be efficient to meet newer regulations while being more powerful).

30th Jul 2019, 21:12

Very well spoken :)