BMW 3 Series (E90)

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BMW 3 Series
2006-2010 BMW 335i (E92) coupe (2011-07-17) 01.jpg
BMW 335i (E92)
ProductionDecember 2004 – June 2013
Body and chassis
ClassCompact executive car (D)
Body style
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Front-engine, all-wheel-drive (Xi and Xd models)
RelatedAlpina B3 (E90)
Wheelbase2,760 mm (109 in)
Length4,520–4,610 mm (178–181 in)
Width1,780–1,820 mm (70–72 in)
Height1,380–1,420 mm (54–56 in)
PredecessorBMW 3 Series (E46)
SuccessorBMW 3 Series (F30/F31)
BMW 4 Series (F32/F33)

The BMW 3 Series (E90/E91/E92/E93) is the fifth generation of the BMW 3 Series compact executive car, which was produced from 2004 to 2013. The body styles of the range are:

Due to the separate model codes for each body style, the term "E9X" is sometimes used to describe this generation of the 3 Series.

The E90/E91 sedans and wagons began to be phased out following the introduction of their F30/F31 successors in 2012. However, the E92/E93 coupes and cabriolets remained in production until 2013,[6] when they were replaced by the F32/F33 models.

The E92 335i coupe, introduced in 2006, was the first 3 Series model to be sold with a turbocharged petrol engine.[7] The E9X family also saw the introduction of run-flat tyres to the 3 Series range. Consequently, cars with run-flats are not equipped with a spare tyre.

The E90/E92/E93 M3 is the only generation of M3 to be powered by a V8 engine. Released in 2007,[8] it uses BMW's S65 engine and was produced in sedan, coupe and cabriolet body styles.

Development process[edit]

The design for the fifth generation 3 Series was frozen in mid-2002, approximately 30 months before the start of production.[9]

The sedan and Touring were designed by Joji Nagashima,[10][11] and the coupe and cabriolet were designed by Marc Michael Markefka.[12]

Body styles[edit]

The range was introduced in 2005 with the sedan and estate body styles. The coupe was introduced in 2006 and the cabriolet was introduced in 2007.

Sedan (E90)[edit]

The sedan model was the first model sold of the 5th generation BMW 3 series, being launched on March 5, 2005[13][14][15] (as a 2006 model year) with the 318i, 320i, 320si, 323i, 325i, 325xi, 330i, and 330xi models. In later years, the following sedan models were added: 316i, 320d, 325d, 328i, 328xi, 330d, 335i, 335xi, 335d and M3.[16]

Optional features (some of which are standard on higher models) include Xenon headlamps, fog lamps, automatic climate control, power-adjustable seats, satellite navigation, premium audio, Dakota leather upholstery, glass sunroof, heated front seats, Bluetooth and USB audio input.[17][18][19] In 2011, the BMW 323i Luxury Edition was released, which included an automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, electric front seats, Bluetooth and USB compatibility, and an electric glass sunroof.[20][21]

This would be the last 3 Series to offer a naturally aspirated engine with the N52B30 (used in the 328i and 330i) and the S65B40 (used in the M3).

Touring (E91)[edit]

The E91 wagon body style is known as the 3 Series Touring or Sports Wagon. Optional equipment included a panoramic sunroof, which extends to the rear passenger area.

Trim levels typically were similar to the E90 sedan, however there was no M3 variant of the E91. As per the E90, powertrains used a range of petrol and diesel I-6 and I-4 engines, paired with RWD and/or xDrive AWD.[22] Markets such as the United States and Canada, however, offered but a small subset of their already limited E90 trims. In these two markets, only the 325xi with AWD was available prior to 2007,[23] and only the 328i in RWD and xDrive AWD forms was offered from 2007 onwards.[24]

Coupé (E92)[edit]

The coupe body style of the fifth generation 3 Series became available in August 2006 (as a 2007 model year), one year after the saloon. The E92 is available in the 316i, 318i, 320i, 323i, 325i, 325xi, 328i, 328xi, 330i, 330xi, 335i, 335is, 335xi, 320d, 320xd, 325d, 330d, 330xd, 335d, M3, and M3 GTS. This would be the last model to include the coupe and convertible as a part of the 3 Series; for the sixth generation (F32/F33/F36) onwards, these body styles changed to being marketed as the 4 Series.

The coupe has significant differences to the sedan, compared with previous generations. Differences include the tail-light design (L-shaped on the coupe), more steeply angled headlights and smaller side windows. The coupe door panels are also longer, it seats two passengers in the rear instead of the three-person bench, and also includes a rear centre console tray.

The coupé also features frameless doors like its E46 predecessor. There are also retractable arms that extend from the B-pillar to hand the seat belt to the driver and/or passenger when the key fob is in the ignition and the door is closed.

Cabriolet (E93)[edit]

Convertible with folding hard-top unretracted

The 3 Series cabriolet is the first model in BMW's lineup with a 3-piece folding aluminium hard-top roof, instead of the cloth roof used by previous models. The E93 was one of first retractable hardtops in its price range.[25] Other manufacturers have since produced similar retractable hardtop convertibles, such as the Lexus IS C and Infiniti G37 convertible.[26] The "Comfort Access" option allows the roof to be raised and lowered using the key fob.

Overall visibility is up 38 percent, thanks to the side windows which are 30 percent larger, compared to the E46 3 Series Cabriolet.[27]

The BMW 3 Series convertible was often priced higher than direct rivals, however reviewers have praised its passenger/boot space (even with the roof down), driving dynamics, weight and chassis rigidity.[28][29][30][31]


At the front, aluminium MacPherson struts are used. The rear suspension is a steel 5-link Multi-link suspension.[32]



Options could be ordered individually (such as Xenon headlights, park distance control, power rear sunshades, and audio upgrades) or combined into packages. Optional interior colours, known as BMW Individual, were also available at extra cost.

The contents of the Premium Package varies according to model year and market.[33] It included items such as leather seats[34] with power adjustments, memory seat function, lumbar support, auto-dimming mirrors, a digital compass, auto-folding exterior mirrors, BMW Assist w/Bluetooth, and universal garage opener.[35]

The Cold Weather package includes headlight washers, heated front seats and split/folding rear seats with a ski bag.[36][37]

The Sports package includes a leather 3-prong sports steering wheel, sports front seats, 18-inch wheels, sports suspension and an increase in the speed limiter to 148 mph (238 km/h).[37]

The Technology package includes iDrive, navigation, keyless entry ("Comfort Access"), selectable driving modes ("M Drive"), HD radio and Electronic Damping Control.[38][39]


Petrol engines[edit]

Model Years Engine Power Torque
316i 2007-2013 N45B16
85 kW (114 hp; 116 PS) 150 N⋅m (111 lb⋅ft)
2007-2013 N43B16
90 kW (121 hp; 122 PS) 160 N⋅m (118 lb⋅ft)
318i 2005–2007 N46B20
95 kW (127 hp; 129 PS) 180 N⋅m (133 lb⋅ft)
2007-2013 100 kW (134 hp; 136 PS) 180 N⋅m (133 lb⋅ft)
2007-2013 N43B20
105 kW (141 hp; 143 PS) 190 N⋅m (140 lb⋅ft)
320i 2005–2007 N46B20
110 kW (148 hp; 150 PS) 200 N⋅m (148 lb⋅ft)
2007–2011 N46B20
115 kW (154 hp; 156 PS) 200 N⋅m (148 lb⋅ft)
2007-2013 N43B20
125 kW (168 hp; 170 PS) 210 N⋅m (155 lb⋅ft)
320si 2005-2007 N45B20
127 kW (170 hp; 173 PS) 210 N⋅m (155 lb⋅ft)
323i 2005–2007 N52B25
130 kW (174 hp; 177 PS) 230 N⋅m (170 lb⋅ft)
2007-2013 149 kW (200 hp; 203 PS) 244 N⋅m (180 lb⋅ft)
325i 2005–2007 N52B25
160 kW (215 hp; 218 PS) 250 N⋅m (184 lb⋅ft)
2007-2013 N53B30
160 kW (215 hp; 218 PS) 270 N⋅m (199 lb⋅ft)
328i 2007-2013 N52B30
172 kW (231 hp; 234 PS) 271 N⋅m (200 lb⋅ft)
330i 2005-2007 N52B30
190 kW (255 hp; 258 PS) 300 N⋅m (221 lb⋅ft)
2007-2013 200 kW (268 hp; 272 PS) 315 N⋅m (232 lb⋅ft)
2007-2013 N53B30
200 kW (268 hp; 272 PS) 320 N⋅m (236 lb⋅ft)
335i 2006–2009 N54B30
225 kW (302 hp; 306 PS) 400 N⋅m (295 lb⋅ft)
2009-2013 N55B30
225 kW (302 hp; 306 PS) 400 N⋅m (295 lb⋅ft)
335is 2011-2013 N54B30
240 kW (322 hp; 326 PS) 500 N⋅m (369 lb⋅ft)
M3 2007-2013 S65B40
309 kW (414 hp; 420 PS) 400 N⋅m (295 lb⋅ft)
M3 GTS 2010-2011 S65B44
331 kW (444 hp; 450 PS) 440 N⋅m (325 lb⋅ft)

Diesel engines[edit]

Model Years Engine Power Torque
316d 2009–2011 N47D20
85 kW (114 hp; 116 PS) 260 N⋅m (192 lb⋅ft)
318d 2005–2007 M47D20
90 kW (121 hp; 122 PS) 280 N⋅m (207 lb⋅ft)
2007–2011 N47D20
105 kW (141 hp; 143 PS) 320 N⋅m (236 lb⋅ft)
320d 2005–2007 M47D20
120 kW (161 hp; 163 PS) 340 N⋅m (251 lb⋅ft)
2007–2013 N47D20
130 kW (174 hp; 177 PS) 350 N⋅m (258 lb⋅ft)
2010–2012 135 kW (181 hp; 184 PS) 380 N⋅m (280 lb⋅ft)
320d ED 2010–2013 120 kW (161 hp; 163 PS) 380 N⋅m (280 lb⋅ft)
325d 2006–2009 M57D30
145 kW (194 hp; 197 PS) 400 N⋅m (295 lb⋅ft)
2010–2012 N57D30
150 kW (201 hp; 204 PS) 430 N⋅m (317 lb⋅ft)
330d 2005–2008 M57D30
170 kW (228 hp; 231 PS) 500 N⋅m (369 lb⋅ft)
2008–2012 N57D30
180 kW (241 hp; 245 PS) 520 N⋅m (384 lb⋅ft)
335d 2006–2013 M57D30
210 kW (282 hp; 286 PS) 580 N⋅m (428 lb⋅ft)

M3 model[edit]

E92 M3 coupe
E90 M3 sedan

The M3 model was powered by the BMW S65 V8 engine and produced in sedan, coupe and cabriolet body styles.

Special Editions[edit]

Andy Priaulx's BMW 320si WTCC.

320si (2005–2006)[edit]

To satisfy homologation requirements for the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), BMW built 2600 units of the 320si.[40]

BMW WTCC works driver Andy Priaulx won two of his three consecutive World Championships in the 320si E90 as well as four other drivers achieving over 35 wins in the championship since the cars release. The BMW 320si is used by a few teams in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Colin Turkington won the 2009 BTCC Drivers championship using the BMW 320si.

335is (2011–2013)[edit]

BMW 335is (E93) with roof retracted

The 335is was produced in coupé and convertible models for the North American market. It sat between the regular 335i and the M3 in the model line-up, and approximately 6,300 units were produced. The 335is uses a higher performance version (N54T) of the N54 engine from the 2006-2013 335i, which increases boost from 8.7 to 11.6 PSI.[41] This results in 320 hp (239 kW; 324 PS) and 332 lb⋅ft (450 N⋅m) of torque, plus an overboost function raises torque to 370 lb⋅ft (502 N⋅m) for up to 7 seconds.

The 335is has stiffer engine mounts and an upgraded cooling system, with a heavy-duty radiator fan and two heat exchangers, one an engine oil cooler, the other a secondary coolant radiator. To accommodate these heat exchangers, which are located ahead of each front wheel, the 335is has larger air openings, similar to the M3. Fog lights were removed from the coupé version to allow for the openings, although they remain on the convertible version. In addition, the 335is is equipped with a revised, high-flow exhaust system, with the twin exhaust pipes finished in matte black, and a rear bumper that incorporates a diffuser-style piece.

Transmission options were a 7-speed double clutch transmission (DCT) with launch control (Same DCT transmission as the M3 but with different software programming) or a 6-speed manual transmission controlled by a short-throw "M" stick. The manual transmission has a heavy-duty clutch with more holding power than the regular 335i.

Interior upgrades include a thicker, "M" steering wheel, "M" steel pedals, standard sport seats, "M" door sills, and textured aluminium trim with "335is" badging on dash and in instrument cluster.[42][43] Exterior differences are black kidney grills, and "Style 313" split-five spoke "M" wheels in 18-inch or 19-inch size, standard Shadowline window trim (instead of chrome), gloss-black side mirrors (instead of body colored mirrors).[44]

Model year changes[edit]

2008 Facelift (LCI)[edit]

In September 2008, the facelift (LCI) versions of the Saloon and Estate were released for the 2009 model year. Compared to typically subtle BMW LCI changes, these changes were relatively extensive.

Mechanical changes included an increase in rear track of 24 mm (0.94 in) for some models, a power increase for the 320d from 177–184 PS (130–135 kW; 175–181 bhp) and the N57 engine replacing the M57 for the 330d model.[45]

Styling changes included front and rear bumpers, wing mirrors, headlights, taillights, boot lid, wider kidney grilles and revised crease lines for the bonnet.[46][47] The new 2009 - 2011 facelift (LCI) AWD models became known as "xDrive" models, unlike the previous 2006-2008 (pre-lci) AWD models, which were labeled as "xi" models. The new xDrive models received xDrive badges on the bumper and both the right and left sides right below the side marker lamps. For the interior, crash-activated head restraints were added to the front seats, the optional "Professional" navigation system was updated, iDrive was updated and the resolution of the display was increased.[48]


For the 2010 model year,[49] the Sport, Lifestyle and Exclusive Edition were introduced for Saloon and Estate models. The 316d estate model was added, as was the 320d EfficientDynamics Edition saloon.

Mechanical changes included compliance with the EU5 emission standard, EU6 emission compliance (optional) for the 320d and 330d models, power increases for the 318d, 320d, 325d and 330d models, the N54 engine in the 335i being replaced by N55 engine, and additional features for BMW ConnectedDrive.

N54 fuel pump failures[edit]

Some E90/E91/E92/E93 models using the N54 engine experienced high pressure fuel pump (HPFP) problems.


Euro NCAP scores[50]
Adult Occupant: 5/5 stars
Child Occupant: 4/5 stars
Pedestrian: 1/4 stars

The Euro NCAP noted the poor pedestrian protection awarding 4 points out of 36, reporting the 3 Series was "very disappointing" in this measure.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 3 Series a "Good" overall rating in both the frontal and side impact crash tests. The 3 Series received "Good" marks in all six of the frontal crash test categories,[51] and "Good" marks in six of the nine categories in the side impact test.[52] The IIHS also gave the 3 Series the Top Safety Pick award. The convertible is rated "Marginal" in side impacts,[53] making the 3 Series convertible the lowest rated vehicle currently sold in its class in IIHS tests.[54]

2008 sedan NHTSA scores[55]
Frontal Driver: 4/5 stars
Frontal Passenger: 4/5 stars
Side Rear Driver: 5/5 stars
Side Rear Passenger: 5/5 stars
Rollover: 4/5 stars


BMW plant in Leipzig, Germany: Spot welding of BMW 3 series car bodies with KUKA industrial robots.

In 2002, Norbert Reithofer and Development Chief Burkhard Goeschel started an initiative to halve the time it took to reach full production of the next generation 3 Series from six months to three.[56]

First marketed in March 2005, the car quickly became BMW Group's best-selling car worldwide, and by the end of the year 229.900 vehicles had been delivered.[57]

The BMW E90 series was the best-selling luxury car in Canada and the United States. The 2006 E90 marked the 15th consecutive year that the 3 Series was named on Car and Driver's 10Best.[58][59]

Production period[edit]

The production dates for each model are as follows:[citation needed]

  • Saloon (E90): December 2004 – April 2009
  • M3 Saloon (E90): January 2008 – September 2008
  • Saloon (E90) LCI: September 2008 – October 2011
  • Touring (E91): September 2005 – September 2008
  • Touring (E91) LCI: from September 2008 - January 2012
  • Coupé (E92): June 2006 – March 2010
  • M3 Coupé (E92): September 2007 – March 2010
  • Coupé (E92) LCI: from March 2010
  • M3 Coupé (E92) LCI: from March 2010 – November 2012
  • M3 GTS (E92): April 2010 – December 2011
  • M3 CRT (E90): June 2011 – October 2011
  • Convertible (E93): December 2006 – March 2010
  • M3 Convertible (E93): March 2008 – March 2010
  • Convertible (E93) LCI: from March 2010
  • M3 Convertible (E93) LCI: from March 2010 – July 2013

Units sold[edit]

Units sold according to BMW's annual reports:[60]

Year Total Sedan Touring Coupé Cabriolet Note
2005 256,981 229,932 27,049 - - Saloon launched in March, Touring introduced in September.
2006 463,820 336,232 105,483 22,105 - Coupé introduced in September.
2007 555,135 310,194 102,399 89,572 52,970 Convertible launched in March.
2008 474,208 246,231 93,191 79,248 55,538
2009 397,103 219,850 84,601 54,852 37,800
2010 399,009 242,831 74,008 46,358 35,812
2011 384,464 240,279 72,054 39,332 32,799
2012 112,707 - 59,144 29,525 24,038 F30 Sedan launched.
2013 32,658 - - 15,240 17,418 F30 Touring launched in autumn 2012.
Total 3,076,085 1,825,549 617,929 376,232 256,375


The E92 Art Car entered the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans race, with Andy Priaulx (GB), Dirk Müller (DE) and Dirk Werner (DE) driving the number 78 car[61][62] which failed to complete the race.[63]


  • In April 2006, the E90 was awarded the World Car of the Year title. The car was praised for its balance between performance and practicality, as well as between style and seriousness. The jury also praised the new diesel engines and the all-wheel-drive variants.[64]
  • Car and Driver magazine listed the E90 3 Series on their Ten Best list for the 16th time in 24 years of the list's publication.
  • The E90 was named "Best New Sports Sedan" in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards.
  • It was Japan's Import Car of the Year for 2005–06.
  • The British motoring magazine What Car? awarded it Car of the Year 2006. From 2006 to 2011, they also awarded it Compact Executive of the Year.
  • In April 2011, the E90 335d saloon won the 2011 Diesel Car of the Year award, an honour bestowed by The Diesel Driver magazine's readers, receiving 29,6% of the vote.
  • The British motoring magazine What Car? awarded the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Auto the Overall Winner Green Car of the Year 2012. The clean diesel BMW 320d has a UK combined fuel economy of 56 mpg and low emissions of just 110g/km of CO2.[65]


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