2009 BMW 3-Series Review

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8.6
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9.0
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Performance
10
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Comfort & Quality
8.0
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Safety
8.0
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Features
8.0
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Consumer Reviews
6 Reviews
2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2009 BMW 3-Series is an enthusiast's dream, yet not-quite-perfect safety ratings, smallish rear seats, and some fussy controls might wrinkle potential buyers' noses.

Expert reviewers at TheCarConnection.com consulted what the most authoritative auto critics have written about the new BMW 3-Series to produce this conclusive review of the new BMW 3-Series. TheCarConnection.com editors have also driven the 3-Series in its several body styles in order to interweave our expert opinion and help you make the right decision on a new vehicle.

The 3-Series was completely redesigned for 2007, but given some mild styling changes for 2009, the 3-Series continues to dominate the segment with an uncanny mix of luxury, sportiness, driving pleasure, and laudable attention to detail. The line includes coupes, sedans, and wagons, though variants share the same powertrains.

Either inline-six in the 2009 BMW 3-Series delivers excellent power and notable smoothness; the base engine is surprisingly frugal. Styling is elegant and graceful both inside and out. The base 3-Series represents good value for the money, but options and the uplevel 335i quickly send prices skyward.

BMW's 3-Series has thankfully been spared the styling excesses of the recently departed Chris Bangle. Retaining a graceful, athletic stance, the sedan is handsome and the coupe beautiful from nose to tail. Bits of Bangle's flame-surfacing add interest and flair, but here they are restrained and fitting with the 3-Series' mission. The interior in the 2009 BMW 3-Series is traditional BMW: elegant, purposeful, and luxurious in purity and restraint. Too bad the rightfully maligned iDrive ends up on many editions; the base edition's unbroken dash and simpler operation keep it focused on devouring every foot of tarmac it traverses. BMW claims to have made iDrive a bit easier with shortcut menu buttons surrounding the controller, but it's only a modest improvement.

BMW's 3-Series doesn't have that big a backseat, especially in the coupe version, where the rear is best reserved for short hops. Clever seatbelt extenders eliminate the awkward reach in the coupe, and despite admirable solidity, the long doors avoid being too heavy or unwieldy.

The base and optional sixes in the 2009 BMW 3-Series, both 3.0 liters large, continue BMW's steadfast allegiance to the inherently balanced inline cylinder layout. The base engine yields 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque; it feels far more powerful than those ratings suggest. The uplevel twin-turbo, at an even 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, melds turbine-like smoothness with blistering acceleration.

The base 2009 BMW 328i model is no slouch, combining a 6.2-second sprint to 60 mph and impressive EPA ratings of 18/28 mpg with the manual (6.8 seconds, 19/28 mpg with the auto). The 335i isn't hugely quicker, at 5.3 seconds to 60 with the manual, 5.5 seconds with the auto, but the 300 lb-ft of torque—available nearly all the time, due to a quick-spooling twin-turbo setup—means there is never any waiting for copious power. Passing maneuvers in the turbo are breathtaking. And EPA numbers only drop to 17/26 mpg with either the manual or the automatic. All-wheel drive (xDrive in BMW parlance) is available with both engines and transmissions, but it adds weight, loses some of the nimble feel, and reduces mileage; this option is best reserved for icy climes.

Ride and handling are perhaps the 3-Series' most outstanding features. The steering is telepathic regardless of speed, surface, and all but the worst pavement irregularities. The ride is plush, planted, and secure, and it's difficult to fluster in corners. Active steering is an expensive option on some models, but we advise against tampering with perfection; some have criticized the system as feeling occasionally strange and artificial.

The 10-speaker sound system includes two subwoofers and is as crisp, usable, and powerful as everything else on this vehicle. Alas, only an auxiliary input jack comes standard; if you want the radio to interface with and charge your iPod, you need to pony up an extra $400 for the USB option. A host of options in the electronics department ramps up the price of the 2009 BMW 3-Series models quickly and doesn't add to the car's driving excellence, but buyers in this segment appreciate and often buy such items as active cruise control ($2,400), the cursed iDrive navigation/infotainment system ($2,100), power front seats ($995), and Logic7 Surround Sound ($875).

The most compelling options for the 2009 BMW 3-Series are the aforementioned USB/iPod interface and the $750 BMW Assist with Bluetooth. A Sport Package, at $1,450, ups wheel size to 18 inches and includes grippy run-flat tires and well-bolstered sport seats; this is a good pick for the serious driver. The Premium Package, a pricey $3,350, doesn't represent a great value (auto-dimming mirrors, digital compass, Bluetooth, power seats, lumbar support, universal garage door opener) unless you simply must have all those features.

Good, but not stellar, showings in crash tests from the federal government and the insurance industry sully the 3-Series' reputation for being on top. The 2009 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.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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January 29, 2017
2009 BMW 3-Series 4-Door Sports Wagon 328i RWD

I love this car . It meets my expectations in so many ways , performance being being #1 .

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It's a great car car for those of us who enjoy the sports car feel!
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August 25, 2016
2009 BMW 3-Series 4-Door Sedan 328i RWD

Btw 3218i Sport

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Great car with the M Sport pkg , Has a116,000. Miles so far been great , average 31 mpg on the road. No problems, bought the car used 1 owner 3 yrs ago. This is our. 2nd Bummer. 1st was a 330cic.
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February 21, 2016
2009 BMW 3-Series 4-Door Sedan 328i RWD

Fun Car and is a great value used.

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I bought used with 70k miles on it. The car was a great deal and has been wonderful so far. The engine is very smooth and Powerful. Gas milage has been great so far . 32 on the highway and mid 20 in town... + More »
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October 24, 2015
2009 BMW 3-Series 4-Door Sports Wagon 328i xDrive AWD

circling the wagons

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This is our third 3 series wagon. Some of the 2002 interior amenities were better and the 2004 had killer brakes, but this is definitely more refined and more efficient. It has almost as much power as our 98 M... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2009 BMW 3-Series 4-Door Sedan 328i RWD

Fun, reliable, economical and very solid.

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This is my first BMW and although I just loved the drive and looks when I bought it new I was apprehensive about reliability and maintenance. Well its 90,000 miles later and I realize that other than a Lexus... + More »
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April 13, 2015
For 2009 BMW 3-Series

A very, very nice car in every way!

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I bought a 2009 BMW 328i two-wheel drive (somewhat unusual in that most here are X drives). I bought it four years ago with very low mileage from my BMW dealer. It had 25,000 km on it when bought and now has... + More »
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May 21, 2017
2017 BMW 3-Series 330e iPerformance Plug-In Hybrid

As promised

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Quite a bit of power for an electric, tested the Fusion and it wasn't even close. I can go 2 days using a charge and my last fill-up I was at over 500 miles and still had a quarter of a tank. Very smooth ride... + More »
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January 22, 2017
2016 BMW 3-Series 4-Door Sedan 340i RWD

comfortable very fast fun car

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A very fast comfortable car with every electronic convince imaginable. Acceleration from any speed is is about as good as you can get without being an exotic. I loved my 335 but this is much better. My only... + More »
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October 4, 2016
2016 BMW 3-Series 4-Door Sedan 328d RWD

BMW 3-Series

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Hi I am from India, In India, the bad road conditions and poor service & maintenance. but still this car doing well
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June 3, 2016
2016 BMW 3-Series 4-Door Sedan 328i xDrive AWD SULEV

An extreme pleasure from Start button to Stop button!

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There's nothing this car can't handle from twisty turns in sport mode, to around town driving in comfort mode to economical highway driving in eco-pro mode. Comfortable for 4 adults and plenty of trunck space... + More »
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