BMW 3 Series review - Reliability and safety

Proven mechanical components bode well for reliability, while its safety systems are among the best in class

BMW has a reputation for making solidly reliable cars, but its disappointing 21st placing (out of 30 manufacturers) in our 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey shows there’s still areas that require some improvement. The 3 Series finished in 31st spot out of 75 cars in the Driver Power Best cars to own poll.

The 3 Series didn't feature in the customer satisfaction poll, although the latest 5 Series (which shares much of its technology with the newest 3 Series) was ranked in 40th place, so this should bode well for the new car’s reliability. Many of the 3 Series’ infotainment systems, as well as the car’s basic structure, engine and gearboxes, have fared well in the 5 Series, so we would hope the 3 Series can improve its overall ranking.

BMW has a reputation for making safe cars, and the 3 Series doesn't disappoint. Euro NCAP put the latest car through a rigorous safety testing procedure in 2019 and awarded it a full five stars. Adult and child occupant protection achieved 97% and 87%, respectively.

Additional safety systems come under what BMW terms Active Guard Plus. This includes speed limit information, lane departure warning, a collision and pedestrian warning system with a city brake function, plus cruise control with braking function.

For a more comprehensive suite of safety systems, buyers can add the Driving Assistant Professional package for around £1,250. This includes active cruise control, steering and lane control assistant, lane keeping assistant with active side collision protection, priority warning and wrong-way warning systems and cross-traffic alert. BMW’s Connected+ service is offered as standard, which can alert the emergency services in the event of an accident.

Warranty

BMW offers a three-year unlimited mileage warranty on the 3 Series, and this also includes a three-year subscription to the BMW Emergency breakdown service. This is broadly similar to the warranty offered by Mercedes, but better than the 60,000 mile limit favoured by Audi. The BMW warranty can be extended after the initial three-year period with either monthly or annual payments and differing levels of cover.

BMW’s paintwork warranty lasts for three years, while its anti-corrosion warranty is of 12 years in duration.

Servicing

The 3 Series will require servicing approximately every 20,000 miles, dependent on the car’s use and mileage covered. 

To ease the burden of unexpected costs, BMW runs its Pay Monthly Service Plan with prices for the 3 Series starting from around £25 per month.

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