2008 BMW 3-Series

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2008 BMW 3-Series Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 BMW 3-Series was new.

The 3-Series' combination of world-class performance and luxury in a midsize sedan is unparalleled in the class.

9.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.8
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 7.9
Safety: 9.2
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Unparalleled balance and handling
  • Sports car power in a sedan
  • Outstanding active safety systems and excellent crash test performance
  • Better than average long-term cost of ownership, even in an expensive class
  • Some confusing electronic controls

2008 BMW 3-Series Overview

Offering one of the most exhilarating driving experiences anywhere, combined with excellent safety features and a sleek exterior, the 2008 BMW 3-Series has long been considered the upscale midsize sedan against which all others are compared. Any perceived shortcomings the car might have -- such as the frustrating iDrive system -- are overlooked in favor of the 3-Series' impressive performance, elegant cabin and prestige.

The 2008 3-Series is part of a generation of cars that BMW redesigned in 2006, adding cleaner lines and more powerful engines. It's now on lots with no significant changes from last year's model. However, the 3-series' history of stellar performance goes back much further. Introduced in 1975, the 3-Series is BMW's most popular model, and has consistently been an award winning car. For example, the 2008 3-Series is once again one of Car and Driver's 10 Best Cars thanks to its smooth engines, supple ride quality and comfortable seating. It has been recognized by the magazine a consecutive 17 times, a Car and Driver record. The magazine notes "no other carmaker has quite managed to package these attributes as successfully as BMW, although many have tried." The 2008 3-Series was also selected as one of The Auto Channel's "All-Stars."

The 2008 BMW 3-Series is available in several trims, and also comes as a two-door coupe or convertible. Early reports indicate a 2009 3-Series will have a diesel option and a more intuitive iDrive interface.

  • "Thanks to BMW's fanatical pursuit of driving excellence, not to mention increased pressure from the likes of Infiniti, the 335i has a death grip on Automobile Magazine's back-road crown." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The 3-series continues to be the perennial benchmark of the entry luxury-sports-coupe, -sedan, -convertible class." -- Car and Driver
  • "There are many worthy competitors in the entry-luxe category these days -- and it's getting more crowded all the time -- but the 3 remains at the head of the pack." -- U.S. News
  • "With streamlined aggression and more power and performance, the 3 is clearly stronger than ever, so much so that there may be no competition at all." -- Motor Week
  • "Maybe we should give it a lifetime achievement award. We didn't set out hoping to give the 3-Series another All-Star award-this is the car's thirteenth-but then we got in the car and started driving … The 3-Series is the car that instantly makes any mope who slides behind its wheel a better driver." -- The Auto Channel
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