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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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Old 08-13-2019, 09:17 AM
craig3x craig3x is offline
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willing to try again...maybe

I had a 2009 535i that was a total nightmare. It ran and drove awesome when everything was working...but it had so many problems. Water pump, both fuel pumps, sensors, turbo issues,etc. I got rid of it cheap, but have been missing driving a BMW. Can you recommend the most reliable BMW 3 series model from 2006-2012 and help restore my faith in these cars?

Last edited by craig3x; 08-13-2019 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:43 PM
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rdkind62 rdkind62 is offline
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328 with the N52 engine.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:29 PM
craig3x craig3x is offline
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328 with the N52 engine.
Thanks. What years came with the N52 engine?
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:08 PM
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BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Thanks. What years came with the N52 engine?
2006 (325i and 330i), 2007 thru 2011 (328i)

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Old 08-13-2019, 06:01 PM
wilt wilt is offline
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Originally Posted by craig3x View Post
I had a 2009 535i that was a total nightmare. It ran and drove awesome when everything was working...but it had so many problems. Water pump, both fuel pumps, sensors, turbo issues,etc. I got rid of it cheap, but have been missing driving a BMW. Can you recommend the most reliable BMW 3 series model from 2006-2012 and help restore my faith in these cars?

Simply don't assume that any car which has about 100-120k miles and/or 10-12 years of age can be owned with no unexpected needs to replace parts worn out or which have gotten brittle with underhood heat and age!!!
I have owned two prior BMWs (E30, E46), both purchased new, both maintained meticulously and per factory maintenance schedules, and both would need $2000-3000 in refurbishment, sometimes in alternating years (if lucky) or in consecutive years! Both were exceedingly reliable and with very few factory warranty repairs needed.

Last edited by wilt; 08-13-2019 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:10 PM
Mark963 Mark963 is offline
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The N52 seems to be most reliable, if boring engine in the family. No turbos, no direct injection (or carbon build up or high pressure pumps or high pressure injectors), etc. The N52 is naturally aspirated and that takes out a number of the big issues. Water pumps are still a problem, but at least the N52's run at half of the power of the N54's. I've heard rumors that ignition packs on N52 also last longer and run a little cooler. But the N52 has a lot less power. There's a guide floating around named something like "So you bought an E90" that reviews a lot of maintenance concerns and might give you things to look at if buying used, like oil leaks around the filter housing and around the valve cover. Generally it seems like the first few years of a new engine design are the worst for reliability. The ultra-low emission N51 variant are likely coming out of their extended warranties so avoid unless you dig in and know what you're getting into. Good luck!
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:30 PM
edycol edycol is offline
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Originally Posted by craig3x View Post
I had a 2009 535i that was a total nightmare. It ran and drove awesome when everything was working...but it had so many problems. Water pump, both fuel pumps, sensors, turbo issues,etc. I got rid of it cheap, but have been missing driving a BMW. Can you recommend the most reliable BMW 3 series model from 2006-2012 and help restore my faith in these cars?


That was model with infamous N54 engine. If you want turbo, go with 2011 E90 that has N55 engine. A lot of issues were resolved, though water pump is still not as stout as mechanical one (simply, electric pump cannot last that long). Now, in N55 water pump longevity depends on model, as weight of the car will determine how much pump works. In X5 they can do 50-60k, in 335 longer.
OFHG, valve cover are standard issues as usual.
But, N55 proved much more reliable but not that friendly for tuning like N54.
As other said, N52 is definitely most reliable. It has power. To say that car that does 6sec to 60 and without limiter can hit 145mph (and Euro versions are actually limited to 155mph) just tells how spoiled people got.
I recently drove 328i with stick. One thing that works for N52 is induction noise. There is no turbo version that can mimic that noise. It is pure porn for BMW enthusiasts.


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Old 08-16-2019, 02:04 PM
Mark963 Mark963 is offline
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I recently drove 328i with stick. One thing that works for N52 is induction noise. There is no turbo version that can mimic that noise. It is pure porn for BMW enthusiasts.
And if you can lay your hands on a manual E90 328i in good condition - just buy it. Automatics are unfortunately much more available. I had the software in mine updated just to improve drive ability and then replaced the power steering pump so I could hear the other sounds over it. While not overbearing like so many cars, it's freakin music - quality over quantity.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:21 PM
craig3x craig3x is offline
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Thanks for all the info. Which models are the most reliable from 2012-2016? I do not want a turbo. The less parts, the better in my book.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:34 PM
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rdkind62 rdkind62 is offline
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Thanks for all the info. Which models are the most reliable from 2012-2016? I do not want a turbo. The less parts, the better in my book.
Getting much harder to find normally aspirated engines in those years because they had mostly replaced the N52 with a turbo charged 4 cylinder designated N20. Not sure the 3 series even continued the N52 during those years.
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Old 08-16-2019, 03:04 PM
Mark963 Mark963 is offline
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I think the turbos got more reliable, but yeah, after 2011, I thought everything was turbo. The fuel injectors and pumps and things on turbos have gotten more reliable. They might have gotten a little more efficient. I have a friend with a Mazda 3 (non-turbo) and he's always talking about his fuel economy which is almost 2x better than what my 328xi gets around town.
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Old 08-16-2019, 06:30 PM
edycol edycol is offline
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Getting much harder to find normally aspirated engines in those years because they had mostly replaced the N52 with a turbo charged 4 cylinder designated N20. Not sure the 3 series even continued the N52 during those years.


E92 (i think E92 is coupe) until 2013 is inline 6 naturally aspirated.
F30 from 2012 until 2019 is all turbo.
Forget non-turbo engines now.


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Old 08-16-2019, 06:33 PM
edycol edycol is offline
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Originally Posted by Mark963 View Post
And if you can lay your hands on a manual E90 328i in good condition - just buy it. Automatics are unfortunately much more available. I had the software in mine updated just to improve drive ability and then replaced the power steering pump so I could hear the other sounds over it. While not overbearing like so many cars, it's freakin music - quality over quantity.


Next year I am getting myself 335 or 328 E90, but must be stick.
Thing with 328 N52 in my environment (high altitude) is that naturally aspirated engine looses a lot of power, 3% per 1,000ft. That is why I am personally attracted to 335. If I still lived in San Diego, I would get 328 RWD, hands down.


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