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In-depth reviews

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 rankings in our 2019 Driver Power survey show that there’s definitely room for improvement. The 3 Series is too new to be individually ranked, but BMW itself finished in 25th position out of 30 manufacturers.

The previous generation 3 Series finished 38th out of 75 cars, while the latest 5 Series (which shares much of its technology with the newest 3 Series) was ranked in 21st 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.

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BMW has a reputation for making safe cars, and while the 3 Series has not yet been tested by Euro NCAP, the previous generation 3 Series, as well as the 5 Series, both garnered five-star ratings. The 3 Series comes with a range of standard-fit safety systems such as stability control and dynamic brake lights, as well as adaptive LED headlights. 

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.

Included as standard is BMW’s Connected+ service, 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 a scheme called Service Inclusive which offers fixed price servicing for three years or 36,000 miles. This will cover all standard scheduled servicing including oil changes, replacement air and fuel filters (depending on model) and spark plugs if required. Prices for Service Inclusive start from around £400 and it can be taken out at any time until the car’s first service is due.

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