Wise or Foolish? Should You Buy a Used BMW 3 Series (F30) For the Price of a New Honda Civic?

The 6th generation BMW 3 series (F30) was launched in 2012 in Malaysia and was facelifted in 2015, also known as LCI or Life Cycle Impulse. The F30 BMW 3 series was sold here for seven years before it was replaced by its successor, the G20 BMW 3 series. The pre-facelift F30 BMW 3 series was available in four petrol variants – 316i, 320i, 328i, and the range-topping 335i but the latter only sold for a very short while. There was also a diesel option – 320d. On the other hand, the F30 BMW 3 series LCI was also available in four petrol variants but the 316i was replaced by the 318i while the 328i was replaced by the 330i.

In less than a year, a PHEV or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle BMW 330e was released, which was the first in a BMW 3 series.

A 2017 BMW 3 30E M SPORT 2.0 Automatic listing on Carsome

In this article, we will be focusing on the F30 BMW 3 series LCI as it adds a lot more features and improvements over the pre-facelift model.

All models came with different BMW trim Packages, namely the BMW 318i Luxury Line, BMW 320i Sport Line, BMW 320i M Sport, BMW 330i M Sport, BMW 320d M Sport, BMW 330e iPerformance Sport (also known as Sport Line) and BMW 330e M Sport.

The BMW Luxury line is an executive car aimed at buyers looking for the highest level of comfort available, the BMW Sport Line is an executive car aimed at buyers looking for a sportier looking car without sacrificing comfort and finally the BMW M Sport is an executive car with “aggressive” in mind in all respect. Do note however, the BMW 330e M Sport does not get the Adaptive M Suspension, which allows you to choose freely between comfortable or sporty driving styles. 

The most notable features at the time are as follow:

  1. New Petrol Engine(s)
  2. Improved BMW ConnectedDrive – includes Intelligent Emergency Call, Concierge Services and Remote Services

Brief Recap on Prices

  • BMW 318i Luxury Line: RM208,800
  • BMW 320i Sport Line: RM238,800
  • BMW 330e iPerformance Sport: RM248,800
  • BMW 330e M Sport: RM258,800
  • BMW 320i M Sport: RM258,800
  • BMW 320d M Sport: RM268,800
  • BMW 330i M Sport: RM308,800

Quick Run-down on BMW 3 Series (F30) Specs 

The exterior of the F30 BMW 3 series LCI came with redesigned headlights, redesigned rear lights, reshaped exterior, and different rims. The interior was also slightly changed to improve storage space in the center console (the middle compartment where the handbrake is). Moreover, it came with electric seats (memory function for the driver only), cruise control with braking function (the car automatically maintains a specified distance with the car in front and slows down the car when needed) and brake energy regeneration (when you brake, heat is produced, also known as kinetic energy, which charges the car’s battery) as standard. 

A 2019 BMW 3 30E M SPORT 2.0 Automatic on Carsome

Entertainment and communication wise you get an AUX-IN connection, Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, on-board computer with Check Control, BMW ConnectedDrive and a 6.5-inch media unit with 6 speakers while only the BMW 330e Sport Line and the M Sport trim gets an 8.8-inch media unit with nine speakers.

The on-board computer with Check Control basically monitors vehicle functions and alerts you to any malfunctions in the systems monitored such as when your tire air pressure is low. Furthermore, the BMW ConnectedDrive provides a few functions such as Intelligent Emergency Call (it automatically contacts the BMW call center during an accident to activate the chain of rescue as quickly as possible), Concierge services (you can connect with BMW Call Center, who will become your “personal assistant” to find the nearest destination of your choice instead of using your smartphone) and Remote services (which allows you to connect to your vehicle using your smartphone and control the functions of your car).

Interior features of a 2017 BMW 3 30E M SPORT 2.0 Automatic on Carsome

The biggest change in the F30 BMW 3 series LCI was the new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine (Codenamed B48) found in the BMW 320i, BMW 330i and BMW 330e while the BMW 318i gets the new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine (Codenamed B38). All models are paired to a ZF eight-speed transmission and power is delivered through the rear wheels only (this means that the rear wheels move the entire car). 

Here’s a summary of the power output for all models:

Model Power
BMW 318i 136 HP, 220 Nm
BMW 320i 180 HP, 290 Nm
BMW 320d 190 HP, 400 Nm
BMW 330i 252 HP, 350 Nm
BMW 330e 252 HP, 420Nm

Recap of BMW 3 Series Used Car Prices

Below are examples of some of the BMW 3 series (F30) available on Carsome:

YEAR MODEL MILEAGE (~) PRICE (~)
2016 BMW 330e Sport Line 82,530 KM RM103,500
2016 BMW 320i Sport Line 81,043 KM RM119,900
2017 BMW 330e Sport Line 78,975 KM RM121,500
2017 BMW 330e M Sport 61,815 KM RM135,400
2018 BMW 330e M Sport 65,942 KM RM158,900
2019 BMW 318i Sport Line 39,973 KM RM146,900

A Fair Price to Pay

From our website, the price for a used F30 BMW 3 series LCI ranges from RM103,000 to RM159,000 depending on the year, the model, the trim, the condition, and the mileage of the car. The term “fair price to pay” is purely a subjective opinion but we have chosen three models based on our expertise that are considered “fair”.

For what is considered the best of both worlds (M Sport without the Adaptive M Suspension as the replacement costs are higher), you can get a 2017 BMW 330e M Sport for RM135,400 with a mileage of 61,815 kilometers. With a 10 percent down payment, the estimated monthly installment is RM1,484 per month

Alternatively, if that is out of your price range then we recommend the 2016 BMW 330e Sport Line for RM103,500 with a mileage of 82,530 KM. With the similar loan calculations, you’re looking to pay an estimated sum of RM1,134 per month.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for the highest level of comfort available then we recommend the 2016 BMW 320i Sport Line for RM119,900 with a mileage of 81,043 KM. With a 10 percent down payment, the estimated monthly installment is RM1,314 per month.

Which BMW 3 Series Model to Buy?

We recommend the BMW 330e Sport Line or BMW 330e M Sport as it gets the upgraded 8.8-inch media unit with nine speakers, the equivalent performance of the BMW 330i on paper and better petrol consumption as it is a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

Carsome Certified BMW listings

Do note that the BMW 330i is quite rare and therefore the prices average higher than a BMW 330e (around RM160,000). This significant price difference does not come close to the replacement costs of the battery pack on the BMW 330e.

Pros & Cons of a BMW 3 Series (F30)

PROS CONS
Great handling Mediocre rear legroom
Comfortable Boring interior
More reliable engine (B48) Exhaust pipes are not split, not even on the M Sport trim
Smoother engine (B48)
Intuitive media unit (BMW iDrive system)
Timeless design

What Are the Common Problems?

Common Problems Replacement Costs (~)
Wheel speed sensor Failure RM300
Steering rack rattle RM10,000 (replacement at dealer),

RM1,300 (refurbish)

Oil leaks (Pre-facelift N20 engine) RM1,500
Timing Chain failure (Pre-facelift N20 engine) Up to RM10,000 (replacement at dealer)
Brittle coolant hose RM200
Sticky inner door handles RM250 per handle
Cracking interior buttons RM350 per set

How Much to Maintain?

Road Tax RM 90 (1.5-liter) 

RM379 (2.0-liter)

Tires/pc (~) RM380 – RM640
Minor service (Engine oil and oil filter) [~] RM536
Major service (with spark plugs, various filters, etc.) [~] RM1,300
Front brake pads (~) RM770
Rear brake pads (~) RM642

Money Does Buy Happiness

The BMW 3 series has always been preferred by many car enthusiasts because it has always been in BMW’s DNA to produce “The Ultimate Driving Machine” for “Sheer Driving Pleasure”. The F30 BMW 3 series was and still is relevant even after 10 years since it was launched. With the price depreciation, you can’t go wrong with the 6th generation BMW 3 series as it is a well-balanced car aimed at buyers who seek sporty driving without sacrificing comfort.

So, if you are browsing for a quality pre-owned BMW, you can check out Carsome Certified BMWs inventory here