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The 5 Best Years for a Used BMW 3 Series

When looking for the best year for a used BMW 3 Series, the E36 is an excellent choice to consider.

The 5 Best Year for a Used BMW 3 Series

BMW is one of the leading car manufacturers in the world. This is not just so but a result of their consistent release of reliable and long-lasting vehicles. One of BMW products that still help maintain long-term dignity is the highly celebrated 3 Series.

The first model of the 3 Series was unveiled in 1975, and since that time, BMW has continued unveiling more reliable models of the 3 Series to the world. This means that the BMW 3 series has many models in its history. The question is, how do you know the best year of a used BMW 3 series to buy?

This article contains the best years that the BMW 3 series will always be proud of, even with more generations to come.

1E21 (1975-1982)

The 5 Best Year for a Used BMW 3 Series: E21

This was the first generation ever released. The first model of this generation was introduced to the market in 1975, and the last model debuted in 1982, which was nearly three decades ago. As such, you should expect models from this generation to come with rust.

This generation was known for shot suspension with a shonky gearbox and blowing engine. While there might be nothing much particular about the E21 production generation, the transmission alone will beat your expectations. If you can find one without much rust, a tidy manual is a great choice to buy.

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2E30 (1982-1992)

The 5 Best Year for a Used BMW 3 Series: E30

This is another generation that has been around for decades, meaning models have suffered rust and probably declined in function. Other than this, the E30 has models of excellent performances. However, ensure there is no issue of oil leakage or signs of overheating. The last thing you want is battling with gasket issues.

Excellent models to consider under this generation include the 320i, 323i, and the 325i. Though the generation is much pricey at £11,750, you will get the value for your money.

3E36 (1992-1999)

The 5 Best Year for a Used BMW 3 Series: E36

Other than the old age of models under this generation, there have been reported issues with early model years. Issues with the timing chains characterized the 1992 and 1993 model years. While the issues have been addressed in later years (from 1994), the tensioner can fail and cause disaster.

Other than these, there is nothing to stop you from buying any model of this generation. One major reason to shop for this is the affordable price. You can find an E36 model with a great engine at just £9995.

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4E90 (2005–2012)

The 5 Best Year for a Used BMW 3 Series: E90

There have been negative reviews about the modern BMW 3 series, which give the impression that new models are not as reliable as previous ones. As the E90 is concerned, there have been reported cases of issues with the Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) filters. As such, it is recommended to be on the lookout for blowing diesel turbo.

Owners of the E90 have also reported issues with the time chains, claiming that failure to service the vehicle regularly resulted in failing timing chains. Though the original 17in and 19in alloy wheels should have been revisited, they were reported for being prone to cranking on run-flats.

Other than these issues, the automatic 2010 325i is an excellent choice at £10,500.

5F30 (2012–2018)

The 5 Best Year for a Used BMW 3 Series: f30

Though the F30 might not be as strong as older generations, many long-term owners have nominated it as the most reliable generation for a used BMW 3 series. Most models under this generation have 19,000-mile service intervals, which emphasizes regular servicing. However, chain issues in the previous generation seem to have been addressed with fewer complaints from owners.

Buying the 2016 12,000-mile at £18,995 won’t be a wrong decision.

The Bottom Line

Owners have reported modern models of the BMW with more issues. As such, it would be wise to focus on older generations. When looking for the best year for a used BMW 3 Series, the E36 is an excellent choice to consider.

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