Browse BMW 3-Series inventory in your area.
SEE LOCAL CLASSIFIEDS
Save this car now, and view it in your Showroom!Save to My Showroom
TheCarConnection.com has read some of the best reviews on the new 2008 BMW 3-Series to produce this comprehensive review that covers both the sedan and wagon. TheCarConnection.com’s editors have also driven the BMW 3-Series sedan and wagon models and add their impressions to help shoppers distill the information.
The 2008 BMW 3-Series is BMW's best-selling vehicle line--a series of compact sport sedans, wagons, coupes, and convertibles. The 2008 BMW 3-Series sedan covered in this review comes with one of two different inline six-cylinder engines, with models designated 328 and 335. The 328's engine makes 230 horsepower, while the 335 gets the 300-horsepower, twin-turbocharged version. The 328 is available in rear-wheel-drive 328i or all-wheel-drive 328 xi layouts, but the rear-wheel-drive 335i is the only way to pick up the high-performance engine.
Between the two engines, there's quite a variation--both on paper and in execution--and the 2008 BMW 3-Series has a decidedly different personality with each, but both the 328 and 335 deliver satisfying performance. Each model can be had with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission; steering-wheel paddle-shifters are included with the latter. The 328i sedan with the six-speed manual can reach 60 mph in about six seconds, yet gets 28 mpg on the highway; the 335i provides tremendous thrust from almost any speed and doesn't have the lag of most turbocharged engines. With near-perfect driving dynamics, the 3-Series threads through corners with great balance and poise--even on rough pavement surfaces. A sign of great suspension tuning, it does so without a sacrifice in ride quality; the 2008 BMW 3-Series has a ride that's firm, yet absorbent over all but the most threatening potholes and heaves. For a car that provides such engaging handling, the 3-Series tracks well on high-speed highway cruises, too.
The 2008 3-Series sedan has firm, supportive seats that are good for long-haul driving, but the backseats are sorely lacking in legroom, and overall, the interior is rather tight. However, the cabin is a very refined place, with well-muted road and engine noise, a very attractive instrument panel design, and impressive materials. Top-tech options include xenon adaptive headlamps and active cruise control; satellite radio and an iPod/USB adapter are available. Vehicles optioned with the navigation system also get the iDrive system, which requires a complicated, screen-driven interface for some controls.
Good, but not stellar, showings in crash tests from the federal government and insurance industry sully the 3-Series's reputation for being on top. The 2008 BMW 3-Series was rated four out of five stars in the federal frontal test and five stars in the side test, and a sedan was given the top "good" rating in frontal offset and side tests but "acceptable" in rear impact.
- Responsive, smooth, and refined
- Firm but absorbent ride
- Nice, supportive front seats
Next: Interior / Exterior »
- Controls not as straightforward as they could be
- Wide center console and narrow footwells
- Backseat space is still too tight for most