BMW 3 Series interior POV driver's seat
|

How Long Does a BMW 3 Series Last? (Based on Real Data)

There are many discussions online about how long certain cars last.

And with good reason – when you’re spending a lot of money on something, you want it to last as long as possible.

So let’s look at one popular car model – the BMW 3 Series.

How long does it last?

We did some research to answer this question, and here is the result:

The BMW 3 Series lasts at least 250,000 miles or 400,000 kilometers with regular maintenance. This is based on multiple high-mileage BMW 3 Series on sale in the US and UK for the four latest BMW 3 Series generations.

Keep reading to learn more!

Overview: The highest-mileage BMW 3 Series for each generation

To find out how long a BMW 3 Series lasts, we used real-life data of how long people kept their BMW 3 Series!

If you’re in a rush, here is an overview of our main results:

3 Series generationFuel typeAvg. of 5 highest-mileage cars on saleHighest mileage
G20 (2019 – onwards)Petrol88,640 miles (142,650 km)95,450 miles (153,610 km)
G20 (2019 – onwards)Diesel104,770 miles (168,610 km)123,000 miles (197,950 km)
F30 (2012 – 2019)Petrol203,600 miles (327,660 km)214,280 miles (344,850 km)
F30 (2012 – 2019)Diesel199,460 miles (321,000 km)213,168 miles (343,060 km)
E90 (2005 – 2012)Petrol224,980 miles (362,070 km)232,000 miles (373,370 km)
E90 (2005 – 2012)Diesel216,520 miles (348,450 km)229,000 miles (368,540 km)
E46 (1998 – 2005)Petrol230,220 miles (370,503 km)256,000 miles (411,990 km)
E46 (1998 – 2005)Diesel177,270 miles (285,280 km)189,080 miles (304,290 km)

Keep on reading to learn about all the details!

Related article: A 2023 Study On BMW’s Reliability: Are They Good Cars?

How long does each generation of BMW 3 Series last?

To answer how long a BMW 3 Series lasts, we collected data from Auto Trader UK and Edmunds, two of the largest platforms in the UK and US with listings of used cars.

From analyzing the highest-mileage BMW 3 Series on sale, we can estimate how long a BMW 3 Series should last!

We researched the four latest generations of the BMW 3 Series in the following order:

  • G20 3 Series (2019 – onwards)
  • F30 3 Series (2012 – 2019)
  • E90 3 Series (2005 – 2012)
  • E46 3 Series (1998 – 2005)

Let’s check them out!

G20 3 Series (2019 – onwards)

BMW 3 Series G20 touring grey front

The seventh generation of the BMW 3 Series, the G20, was released in 2019 as a successor to the F30.

It features a range of significant improvements over its predecessor, including a lighter and stiffer chassis, a more powerful and efficient engine lineup, and an updated interior with the latest infotainment and driver assistance technology.

Hidden feature: Did you know that you can create many useful shortcuts in the iDrive system? Take a look at this article for more BMW 3 Series tips and hidden features!

Alongside these changes, the G20 BMW 3 Series also features a new exterior design that adds a sense of sportiness and refinement. Some people even call the BMW 3 Series a sports car!

But how long does the G20 3 Series last? Here’s what we found:

The G20 BMW 3 Series has been shown to last at least 123,000 miles. However, it’s important to note that the G20 3 Series is the newest generation, so with proper maintenance, it’s expected that the G20 3 Series can last much longer.

Here’s a summary of the data we found:

BMW 3 Series G20 (2019 – onwards)Avg. of 5 highest-mileage carsHighest mileageMost common trim
Petrol88,640 miles (142,650 km)95,450 miles (153,610 km)320i & 330i
Diesel104,770 miles (168,610 km)123,000 miles (197,950 km)320d
Highest mileage BMW 3 Series G20 on sale

F30 3 Series (2012 – 2019)

BMW 3 Series F30 sedan white front

The F30 generation of the BMW 3 Series was produced from 2012 to 2019.

It was the first generation of the 3 Series with turbocharged engines only!

So, does that mean anything for how long it lasts? Here is what we found:

From our research, we found that both the petrol and diesel trims of the F30 BMW 3 Series can last at least 213,000 miles or 343,000 kilometers.

Here’s a summary of the data we found:

BMW 3 Series F30 (2012 – 2019)Avg. of 5 highest-mileage carsHighest mileageMost common trim
Petrol203,600 miles (327,660 km)214,280 miles (344,850 km)320i & 328i
Diesel199,460 miles (321,000 km)213,168 miles (343,060 km)320d & 328d
Highest mileage BMW 3 Series F30 on sale

Note: If you own a high-mileage BMW 3 Series, make sure to pay attention to the symptoms of a worn timing chain.

E90 3 Series (2005 – 2012)

BMW 3 Series E90 touring black front view

The E90 generation of the BMW 3 Series was produced between 2005 and 2012 and was the first to be released with a turbocharged petrol engine.

It featured a wide range of new technology, including an iDrive infotainment system and an electronic parking brake.

Here’s what we found about how long the E90 BMW 3 Series lasts:

Our research found that the E90 BMW 3 Series petrol trims can last at least 232,000 miles or 373,000 kilometers. Meanwhile, the diesel trims of the E90 BMW 3 Series can last at least 229,000 miles or 368,000 kilometers.

Here’s a summary of the data we found:

BMW 3 Series E90 (2005 – 2012)Avg. of 5 highest-mileage carsHighest mileageMost common trim
Petrol224,980 miles (362,070 km)232,000 miles (373,370 km)320i & 328i
Diesel216,520 miles (348,450 km)229,000 miles (368,540 km)320d & 325d
Highest mileage BMW 3 Series E90 on sale

Tip: You can find our results on how much a BMW 3 Series depreciates over the years here!

E46 3 Series (1998 – 2005)

BMW 3 Series E46 M3 grey front view

The E46 generation of the BMW 3 Series is considered by many to be the best ever made. The design was evolutionary, building on the success of the previous E36 generation while also introducing several new features.

Here’s what we found on the life span of the E46 BMW 3 Series:

From our research, we found that the petrol trims of the E46 BMW 3 Series can last at least 256,000 miles or 411,990 kilometers. Meanwhile, the diesel trims of the E46 BMW 3 Series can last at least 189,080 miles or 304,290 kilometers.

Here’s a summary of the data we found:

BMW 3 Series E46 (1998 – 2005)Avg. of 5 highest-mileage carsHighest mileageMost common trim
Petrol230,220 miles (370,503 km)256,000 miles (411,990 km)325i & 330i
Diesel177,270 miles (285,280 km)189,080 miles (304,290 km)320d & 330d
Highest mileage BMW 3 Series E46 on sale

How do you ensure your BMW 3 Series lasts as long as possible?

Any car owner knows that regular maintenance is the key to a long-lasting vehicle.

Your BMW 3 Series is actually one of the most reliable BMW models.

However, to ensure it lasts for years to come, there are a few key maintenance tips to keep in mind.

First, it is essential to keep up with the scheduled oil changes. This will help to ensure that your engine stays clean and runs smoothly.

Tip: The 3 Best Motor Oil Choices For A BMW (+ How To Pick One)

BMW TwinPower Turbo engine

Be sure to stay on top of any necessary repairs or maintenance tasks. If something goes wrong with your car or if it doesn’t start, don’t hesitate to take it to a qualified mechanic to fix it.

Next, premium gas is highly recommended for the 3 Series, so keep that in mind for the next time when you’re filling up.

You should also frequently check and balance your tires to prevent uneven wear and tear.

Parking your 3 Series in a garage will also help protect the car from the elements and prolong its life.

Finally, try to avoid driving too hard or putting too much stress on your car. For example, while tuning your BMW 3 Series is a lot of fun, it can reduce its life span.

If you take care of your BMW 3 Series, it will take care of you in return!

Tip: You can minimize your chances of reliability issues by researching which BMW 3 Series years to avoid or to buy.

What are the pros and cons of a BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series is a hugely popular car, and for a good reason. It’s stylish, sporty, and perfect for those who need a little bit of everything in their vehicle.

But is it the right choice for you?

To help you find out, here are ten pros and cons of the BMW 3 Series:

  • Pros
    1. The interior is luxurious and has lots of modern features.
    2. It has a stylish exterior design.
    3. The ride is comfortable and sporty.
    4. There is a drivetrain option for everyone.
    5. The iDrive infotainment system is easy to operate.
    6. It’s available with multiple safety features.
    7. It’s a product of German engineering.
  • Cons
    1. It has a high price tag.
    2. There are high maintenance and insurance costs.
    3. Some may find the suspension too stiff.

Click here to read our article covering these pros and cons extensively!

FAQs about the durability of a BMW

Do you have any more questions about the durability of your BMW 3 Series? If so, check out the frequently asked questions below:

Can a BMW 3 series last 20 years?

A BMW 3 Series can last for 20 years or even more. Plenty of 3 Series currently on sale are 20 years or older and running perfectly fine.

Can a BMW 3 series last 300k miles?

A BMW 3 Series can last 300k miles as people drive one with this mileage or higher. However, we haven’t found any 3 Series on sale with this mileage. So, you should expect to spend considerable money on maintenance if you want your 3 Series to last 300k miles.

How long do the brakes of a BMW 3 Series last?

The brakes of a BMW 3 Series last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles. The life span of BMW 3 Series brakes depends on the brake pad type and the driver’s driving style.

How long does the transmission of a BMW 3 Series last?

The transmission of a BMW 3 Series lasts over 300,000 miles with proper maintenance. The lifespan of the BMW 3 Series transmission can be extended by replacing the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles.

How long does a spark plug of a BMW 3 Series last?

The spark plug of a BMW 3 Series can last up to 100,000 miles. However, the best practice is to replace the spark plugs every 60,000 miles.

How long does the battery of a BMW 3 Series last?

According to BMW, the battery of a BMW 3 Series lasts three to five years on average. However, some consumers have reported their BMW 3 Series battery to last eight years or more.

What is high mileage for a BMW?

As a general rule, high mileage for a BMW is any mileage above 150,000 miles. However, it’s important to note that this definition is subjective.

Why are 2nd hand BMWs so cheap?

Second-hand BMWs are cheap due to many of them being leased, their high maintenance costs, and their technology features that can become outdated quickly. Consequently, many BMWs are traded in sooner, causing higher supply and lower prices.

Conclusion

If you’re in the market for a BMW 3 Series, you’re probably wondering how long it will last.

Unfortunately, the answer is not simple; it all depends on how you take care of the car.

However, we’ve seen that a BMW 3 Series can last for 20+ years and 250k+ miles with proper maintenance!

Of course, no car is built to last forever, and eventually, your 3 Series will need to be replaced.

But if you take care of it, you can expect your 3 Series to provide years of trouble-free driving enjoyment.

And remember to check for the BMW 3 Series’ most common problems before buying one!

How long did your BMW 3 Series last? It would be amazing if you would let us know in the comments below!

Similar Posts

4 Comments

  1. I have owned an E90 318i automatic for the last 8 years, bought privately when it was already 8 years old at 40,000 miles, it now has 125,000 miles.
    Apart from a few niggles the car has been faultless.
    It’s brilliant to drive and feels as good now as it did when I bought it. I commute just 20 miles a day but do use it for longer runs (100 miles+) about once/twice a month.
    Occasionally the engine management light comes on with an emissions code, but goes off again after a little while. It also now blows a little smoke if stuck in traffic.
    My maintenance has not been perfect, I have it serviced regularly, but the garage was chosen more for cost than a reputation for quality, which probably accounts for the issues noted above.
    Lesson learned.

    1. Hi Malcolm,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with your E90 318i. It’s always great to hear real-life stories from BMW owners!

      It’s impressive that your car is still running so well after 16 years and 125,000 miles!

      The minor issues you’ve mentioned like the occasional engine management light or emissions code warning, and a bit of smoke when stuck in traffic, might be quite common in cars of similar age.

      One thing I’d suggest is getting those error codes read next time the light comes on. This can usually be done at most garages, and will help you understand what might be causing it. Similarly, the smoke could be a sign of oil or coolant burning, which might warrant a check-up just to ensure there aren’t any serious issues looming.

      Again, thank you for sharing your journey with your BMW. It’s been a great addition to the conversation and I’m sure it will be helpful to other readers. Safe driving and here’s to many more miles in your E90!

      – Patryk

  2. My 2009 E91 318d [ 143hp 6 speed manual ] is currently on 251,000miles. I’ve owned it for nearly 11 years [ its a 2 owner car]. Still on the original clutch and the engine hasnt been touched [ apart from oil and filters]. Rear wings now starting to corrode but not as soon or as badly as my previous E46. I do my own maintenance so have a good ‘feel’ for the car as it starts to age and would only really mention rear suspension wear which causes excess wheel camber – and thus inside edge rear tyre wear. I have fitted adjustable top arms to keep on top of this camber issue. This issue is common to many BMW models with multilink rear suspension. In summary, a superb car .

    1. Hi Jon,

      Wow, it’s impressive that your E91 318d has reached 251,000 miles and is still going strong! It’s interesting to hear as well about the rear suspension wear and the solution you’ve implemented with the adjustable top arms. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      – Patryk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *