BMW Would Love a Redo on the 2011-2013 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series, known as a great entry-level luxury car, has seen many improvements over the years. With the latest model, you can get good fuel economy, plenty of high-tech features, and a comfortable driving experience. 

But a few model years saw some critical issues, Consumer Reports points out. The years CR says to avoid are 2011 to 2013 for poor reliability and owner satisfaction scores. Let’s take a look at what happened. 

Why were the 2011-2013 BMW 3 Series predicted reliability scores so low?

For all three model years (2011-2013), BMW received the lowest predicted reliability score of 1 out of 5. Some troubling problems plagued the car throughout those model years despite plenty of luxurious amenities

The first issue was with the engine. The BMW 3 Series saw major and minor problems during that time. Along with that, there were also minor issues with the transmission. Then there were the problems with the electrical and fuel systems. 

Consumer Reports says issues included bad engine cylinders, broken drive belt tensioners, faulty cam position sensors, failing coils and plugs, and loose timing rods. And those were only a few problems on a long list.

The transmission suffered from bad hydraulic pumps, lagging in shifting gears, failing gaskets, and malfunctioning computers. The fuel system saw some issues as well. There were reports of a failing diesel emission system, a heavy build-up of sludge within the manifolds, and bad sensors. 

What’s up with these BMW 3 Series’ owner satisfaction scores?

Consumer Reports rated owner satisfaction a 2 out of 5. Owners liked their BMW 3 Series’ styling and driving experience, but they weren’t keen on the comfort level or value. 

Owners complained of the bumpy ride when driving their BMW 3 Series. Others didn’t find the seats as comfortable as they thought they’d be. Some drivers even felt the seats were too low to the ground, making getting in and out difficult. 

However, value is the area that saw the most complaints. Owners weren’t too happy to have spent a good chunk of money for their BMW 3 Series and face problems out of warranty. Repair bills cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand, depending on the problem. 

Have there been any improvements?


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The BMW 3 Series had engine problems from about 2004 to 2014. It finally saw some improvements in the 2015 model. Though issues persisted, things were at least looking up for this sporty car. In fact, the next year, a few updates helped boost its performance.

Owners saw engine cooling problems in 2011 and 2012, but they improved, beginning a slow improvement for a couple of years. Fuel system issues also began a gradual improvement in 2015 and reached a good status in 2017. 

Electrical problems became an issue in the 2007 models. They continued until the 2012 model year. After that, they grew better as each model rolled off the production line.

So because of all the troubling problems the BMW 3 Series saw between 2011 and 2013, Consumer Reports suggests you avoid these model years. However, because the major issues began disappearing with the 2015 model, you can still find a decent used BMW 3 Series after that model year. Each redesign brings many upgrades and makes this little Beemer a pretty good vehicle.