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What's up with 2006?

Discussion in 'E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006-2011)' started by dhk42, Mar 28, 2009.

    dhk42 guest

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    Hi all,

    I'm in the market for a used 3-series and while doing my due diligence research I noticed that Consumer Reports specifically singles out the 2006 3-series as more problematic than other years.

    It is rated "Much worse than average" for "Electrical" and "Worse than average" for "Body hardware", "Power equipment", and "Audio system".

    That all seems like it adds up to some kind of general dissatisfaction with something electronic - maybe the iDrive for that year?

    Are there any generally known issues that are fairly specific to 2006? If so, are they solvable?

    Thanks,

    David
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    az3579

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    2006 was the first year for the E9x series. I personally think the engine is horribly lacking for such a heavy car (imagine what the Europeans got -- jeez), and it being the most complicated 3 series to date (it's always the case when a new one comes out) it's had its fair share of issues. I don't know why it received much poorer marks than "average", but a BMW without electrical problems in one form or another is a godsend.
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    CSBM5

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    It's odd a bit. I think the very early 2006s which were made starting in the Spring of 2005 had some teething issues. We special ordered and bought an E90 330i in Feb 2006. Amazingly, this has been one of the most reliable cars we've ever owned. In the first 20k miles, it had not one single warranty claim. Sometime around then it signaled (in iDrive of all places) that it wanted a sunroof position sensor. That was the only warranty item for the next 20k miles. Just recently it did have an issue with the phone control module that was causing issues, and that was replaced. (I can't imagine what owning a modern BMW will be like in 20 years time).

    So in net, in almost 35 years of driving, this E90 has been THE most reliable car I've ever owned (and it has a lot of options: sport pkg, premium pkg, cold weather pkg, sat radio, comfort access, pdc, iDrive/Nav, etc, but of course with a proper 6spd manual :) ).

    As for the engine and weight comments, I don't understand. The E90 330i engine has 255hp coupled with a broader torque curve than the E46. The E90 330i is about 70lbs heavier than the E46 330i which is very hard to notice in a 3400lb car. I also have an E46 330i (the peak of the series, a ZHP), and the E90 is every bit as quick and more so (test show it traps 1mph faster in 1/4 mile, has a quicker 5-60mph time, etc). Here's what C&D had to say about it:
    Anyway, after daily driving 5's and 7's for many years, my wife has been enjoying the E90 very much. We both regret the direction BMW has taken with the 5 and 7, but that's another story (and it isn't getting better with the new F-series it appears).

    dhk42 guest

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    I didn't mean to imply that it got much poorer than average overall. It was rated average overall, but that stands out because all of the other recent years (2008, 2007, and 2005 - which I realize is a different car) got above average and had no category that was much poorer.

    I must admit that I am particularly nervous about the potential for electrical problems...

    Thanks,

    David

    dhk42 guest

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    Chuck,

    I guess I must be spoiled, but I've had two Subarus that had no (warranty or otherwise) repairs other than normal wear and tear items for 100,000 miles.

    Of course now that I have actually driven a BMW, I doubt I'll be going back, even if I have to experience a couple of extra headaches. It is good to at least have anecdotal evidence that the car is fairly reliable, though.

    Thanks,

    David
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    az3579

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    This possibility is very real in any newer car because they have gotten so much more complicated with electronics. That isn't the issue though; the issue is that the newer cars have become more dependent on electronics; this is what is really scary.
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    CSBM5

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    Yeah, you are. Don't expect anything like that experience with a BMW. My M5 has been very reliable for a car of its caliber (I'm up to 52k miles on it now), enough so that when the factory warranty ran out in the summer of 2005, I self-warrantied the car which turned out to be a great decision since (for me) an extended warranty would have been a waste of money and expired already; however, others have had different experiences. My E46 has been more troublesome however. Both it and the E90 have just over 50k miles on them too, but the E46 easily takes the cake for having the greater number of problems/warranty repairs. I've been driving BMWs since the 1970s, and I'm pretty much used to routine issues I guess.

    We just went through two V70R Volvos (2004 and 2005), and I can confidently say they were the worst cars from a quality/reliability standpoint I've ever owned. By far. Still have an 850R we bought in 1996, and it's been so-so, but the new ones are total junk.

    dhk42 guest

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    Ha! Please don't say that where my wife can hear. :)

    David
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    Wretched

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    My E90 330i has not had one problem! Solid car just under 50,000 miles. This car is my garage queen when its parked for cleaning but as my daily driver it is used like a proper BMW should be! Lets not forget 2007 is a new model year for all of the 1,3,535 series also so thats two years of new models... They can't be that bad! I do regret a little bit now waiting for the 335 but I LOVE my 330i !!!
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    hefewzn

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    I pick up my E90 330i, Sport, Prem, Cold, 6MT and nav, with about 27k on it already. I love the car. If you drive 'nice' you can even get excellent highway mileage. I just took it on a trip, 280 miles each way, and got 33 on the way there and 35.1 on the return. I was really trying to be good on the way back.:D

    Issues:
    At about 28k the sunroof stopped working and required a reinitialization of the software. That is the thing I am most concerned with in new cars, software!

    I had the starter replaced at about 30k. The starter made whining/grinding noise the first time it was started on cold days. The dealer couldn't replicate the problem so they just replaced it. Fixed.

    Another issue is the annoying lifter tick if the car sits for a few days or is only taken on short drives (this issue was also addressed by the dealer at about 25k). A little spirited driving eliminates the issue. Visit this thread for more info this issue and I also posted the BMW service bulletin there: http://bmwcca.org/forum/showthread.php?t=4353. It seems to be problem on a few of the E90/92's.

    As far a power goes, I would always like more but I think when you combine the power, handling and braking of the E90 330i, it's a great package.
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    Zahnarzt

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    Great Car

    Hmmm... you know, I have to disagree with most of the negative 2006 claims above. While I'm sure there are always extreme exceptions to the contrary, my 2006 330xi daily driver has been simply great in both driving and reliability. Looking back through my service log, the only issues I've had involve run-flat tires (solved; put on PS2s for summer, Blizzaks for winter), a recall on the steering column due to an anti-theft mechanism not always unlocking, and some rattles that were caused by the dealer not reattaching some panels correctly. Everything electrical and engine-related has been just fine (knock on wood).

    As far as being underpowered, I completely disagree. Completely. No way. It's not as quick as the 335, but it's definitely fast, and with my 6-manual, there's not a lot I see on a daily basis that I can't easily leave behind. Hovers right around 30mpg on the Interstate, too. Autobahn experience when I took ED was also something to remember.

    I'm in my car for a little over an hour each for my spirited 35-minute per way commute, mostly highway, and will probably hit 50,000 miles next month. I follow Mike Miller's old school maintenance schedule using the products and intervals he recommends, and I don't see how this car won't be around for a long time with little trouble. Preemptively replacing some parts might cost more than a Japanese car in the long run, but it will be worth every penny if the car continues to be the highlight of my day like it is now--or at least until I get my M3. (And at that, I'd probably keep this car, too.)

    If you're still considering picking up a 2006 E90, see if you can find one listed in the back of Roundel from a club member who can tell you everything if anything has ever gone down. Definitely a good car and one that I would recommend to anyone.

    My $.02.

    :D Rick

    cwerley guest

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    I've had my 2006 330xi for 2.5 years and have had a few glitches here and there. Nothing major though - and nothing that prevents me from ordering my next 3-series in preparation for when my lease is up in a few months! fyi - I don't have iDrive.

    - Occassional ticking in the engine that goes faster when you step on the gas. The service department has heard it, yet can't seem to track it down since it's not consistent - only happens every now and then. They've indicated they don't think it's a problem.
    - Leaking windshield wiper fluid. After 4 service appointments they finally tracked that one down to a crack in the nozzle one of the headlamp washers.
    - Rattle (different from the ticking!) durring idle. I noticed this whenever getting out to get the mail. Honestly I was emabarrased by the noise at it didn't sound like a typical bimmer - sounded like it was falling apart! Turned out to require an idle chain replacement (I'm sure that's not the technical term but I don't have the ppwk with me)
    - Run flats going flat. Just on one tire and this issue whent away when I replaced the tires with a new set this winter. My husband thinks it was an issue with the seal on that tire.
    - Steering column lock light coming on. This is the only electrical issue I've had and I'm taking my car in Monday for service on this issue - for the third time. When I called yesterday the service tech asked if I'd had the steering column replaced yet (???). If the wheels are turned even a smidge I've had the car refuse to start until I straighten them, remove the key fob and try again. Annoying at best, scary when I couldn't get it to start after 15 tries...
    - Failure to sync with my phone. When I bought the car I had a Razr and the bluetooth pairing worked great. Then I got a Blackjack and pairing was sporadic. I recently bought another Motorola (Z9) thinking that would be a better match... No dice. Phone will pair up and then drop, pair up, drop, etc. I've asked for a firmware update at the service department thinking I have newer bluetooth on the phone than the car is set up for and get confused looks in response. I don't use that feature now and miss it terribly.

    Like I said above, this has been a great car to drive daily. My husband asked if I wanted to buy out the lease and the above issues kept me from saying Yes though...
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    Zahnarzt

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    Ahh! I forgot to mention that I had a leaking windshield washer fluid issue, too. Also took the dealership two visits to figure out. The first time, they "tested" everything with no fluid in the system at all. Brilliant. I dropped the car off dry because all the fluid had drained out! I think this is due to the TIS trouble-shooting tree they follow being utterly uninformative on this issue. The novice tech who was assigned the issue probably thought everything was fine. At least they didn't make the same mistake twice. I think it ended up being a headlight nozzle that was leaking under the bumper.

    As for the steering column locking up, there was a service bulletin some time ago about that. They basically have to take apart and replace the the whole column, something I'm surprised your dealership didn't jump on since it's free for you and they get paid by BMW to do it.

    Just as a matter of comparison, my friend's Lexus GS330 with 35,000 miles has had plenty of strut and sensor issues that are far more involved than any problem I've ever had with my 330.

    Rick
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    az3579

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    Just for reference, I was referring to the 325, not the 330. :p

    And I know plenty of people who have the 325 and would agree that it's a dog in the power department...
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    Zahnarzt

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    Oh, totally. Gotcha. There's no way I'd go with a 325 unless it's rental, etc. Even the 328 I had as a loaner left quite a bit to be desired.

    =D

    Rick

    dhk42 guest

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    Thanks all for your help, your replies definitely had me considering the 2006 330, but I ended up going with a 2008 328xi CPO with 10k miles. I wanted the 335xi, of course, but I couldn't convince my wife it was justified (and they are pretty rare as CPOs too).

    David
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    All hail the mighty 330i!

    Actually, the E46 330i with the Performance Package-a U.S.-only item-has turned into a pretty successful cult car. The 2006 E90 330i should be one, too: That was the only year the car came with the N52 engine. And when BMW dropped in the twin-turbo N54 in 2007-the now-legendary 335i-they quickly detuned the N52 for the 328i.

    For awhile, the only "true" N52 (around 255 to 265 hp, depending on the car) available here was the X3 or the Z4 3.0is. But now it seems to be coming back in the Z430i (okay, BMW calls it the Z4 sDrive 30i, but that's simply insane).
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    mrglock

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    We have two e90's. Gotta love them. No issue so far other than I don't want to sleep, I just wanna drive it!!!

    M3Driver guest

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    I guess I'm a bit old school in the regard I never buy the first year of a new model change but typically wait a year (or two). No matter how well the engineering is, real-world driving and events will typically shake out a few anomalies. Even BMW is not immune to this. That is pretty much why I waited until the end of the E46 run to get my M3. Many of you probably remember the rod-bearing recall on the first M3 batch that came out.

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