Other BMW 3-Series (2005 - 2013) models:

BMW 2009 3-Series M3

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In their own words

I went from a manual to the DCT dual clutch and am not a fan; I won't buy another given the choice as it takes so much enjoyment out of the experience. The engine also lacks torque, even if you work it - it doesn't really come into its own until you're travelling at license losing speed, at which point it becomes pointless on a UK road. Get caught in the wrong gear and it doesn't matter what "mode" you're in you'll be left behind by a forced induction competitor. It's also way more complicated to setup for your driving mode than it needs to be. The presence of 6 drive modes in "manual" mode and 5 in auto, accelerator responsiveness, M button - all way over the top. Normal and sport would be absolutely fine for 98% of the people that buy this car (who won't take it anywhere near the limit). iDrive is horrible as well - entering a post code using a click wheel is 90's technology and BMW need to learn to follow the cheaper competition and start using touchscreen. Ultimately it does have a bit of a mid-life crisis car feel about it - I've met many badge snob owners who don't really know much about cars but want to show off to their mates and think it's better than anything else on the road - it's not, but in terms of compromise it's a very good car! Positives - it is fast, it's comfortable, handles better than any car I've previously owned and pretty to look at, but in terms of driving enjoyment - especially power delivery - I felt it was too clinical and a little dull - much of that is definitely attributable to the auto gearbox. Handling and performance wise it's better than all the Audi alternatives - the S4, S5, RS5 and RS3 all ride way worse to the point of bouncing down the road in their comfort mode, are nose heavy and aren't as well weighted in terms of handling; they're fast in a straight line but in corners they're more on the limit - the BMW is better balanced. The only one I didn't try was a C63 AMG, but having gotten fed up quickly of the DCT on the BMW, and with the C63 and Audis all only available in auto, I discounted it straight away. As a luxury every day car it's superb and better than the M4 in terms of power delivery, looks and sound, but make sure you don't overstretch your budget - you may need money for failed throttle actuators (go in pairs typically around 20-30k miles, £1000 per side), tyres (£200 each for fronts, more for the rears), and earlier cars which can suffer from engine failure due to poor clearances on the internals (££££!). In other words - buy a BMW approved car with a warranty!

How reliable do you find the car?

Windscreen washers blocked (really!?) and gearbox fault within the first month where the car bunny hopped down the road. Went back twice for the gearbox as the first visit didn't fix it. Needed the whole software updated (covered under warranty thankfully). Manifold pressure sensor failed after 6 months, again covered under warranty. Not impressed for a 3 year old top of the range car that would have cost £60k+ new.

Does the car do everything you expected it to do?

I bought this to replace a Fiesta ST as my daily driver and a heavily modified 440bhp Subaru Impreza as my weekend toy as I wanted something practical that could serve me for both, but whilst the v8 sounds nice, the DCT gearbox and the lack of torque have led me to look elsewhere.
  • How they rated it

  • Reliability: 3 out of 5 3.0
  • Meets Expectations: 2 out of 5 2.0
  • Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 3.0
  • Damien Spoon recommends this car

About their car

  • Fuel type Petrol
  • When purchased January 2016
  • Condition when bought Used
  • Current Mileage 21,000 miles
  • Average MPG 18 mpg