The ultimate buyers guide to the F30

"Everything you need to know when buying a BMW F30"

BMW F30 is one of the three compact executive cars of the sixth-generation vehicles. F30 was the first model of the sixth generation to enter the car market for sale.

The production was started in 2011 and the vehicle came to market as a 2012 model. BMW produced many models of F30 with various engine options available, after which the vehicle was subjected to a facelift in 2015.

BMW F30 is one of the best-selling premium BMWs out in the market. This vehicle set new benchmarks in terms of elegance, comfort, and sporting prowess.

The powerful exterior styling represents a conscientious development of this masterpiece, extending from outer looks to interior niceties.

The dynamic design of the BMW 3-series F30 serves as an inspiration for the sportiness of its successors.

It is available in three trim options: the Modern Line, the Luxury Line, and the Sport Line. You can choose the one best suited to your taste as each presents with a combo of high-tech interior and unbeatable build quality.

The post LCI models – F30 LCIs – were produced till its successor (BMW 3-series G20) was released in 2019.

After the facelift, the engines were modified from naturally aspirated 6 or 4--cylinder engines to turbocharged 4-cylinder or 3-cylinder engines.

For the first time, this 3-cylinder engine was introduced in the vehicles of BMW 3-series. In 2016, a new plug-in hybrid model of F30 was introduced.

The ActiveHybrid 3 model was discontinued after Life Cycle Impulse, and another 330e iPerformance plug-in hybrid model was added.

Other revised features include electronic stability control, front suspension mounts, shock absorbers, LED headlights, and tail lights.

Bluetooth audio streaming, Rev-matching for manual transmission, and GPS-based gear selection for automatic transmission, all were added as standard equipment. Pre-LCI models suffered problems with timing chains, which were fixed after the facelift.

Why the F30 was so successful.

F30 was a great success to BMW due to its fun-to-drive sporty chassis. It handles better than the outgoing E90. The conversion of naturally-aspirated engines to turbocharged engines was proved to be a turning point in the history of BMW at that time.

The F30 sedan has surpassed all the values of dimensions compared to its predecessor E90. The exterior style somehow resembles E90, featuring a short front overhang, a sweeping bonnet, and a long wheelbase.

The kidney grille got widened to connect the headlamps, a feature we really love. The legroom, headroom, and shoulder room were increased so it is bigger and better in so many ways. Other new features include satellite navigation, audio streaming, heated front seats, a widescreen display, and a split-fold rear seat. The mechanical shift lever got upscaled into a wire shifter.

Engine options/specs on the F30

The choice of engines meant there was a model for everyone's needs and tastes.

Turbocharged engines were introduced across the range along with a plug in hybrid version.


Upgrades and extra equipment was also plentiful, with many owners adding upgrades after the car left the dealership.

Entertainment / Car Data systems / Dealer options

  • BMW backup and front view camera retrofits
  • BMW soft close retrofit
  • BMW Alpha One speakers
  • BMW Premium Audio System upgrade
  • CarPlay & Android Auto MMI Prime
  • Map update
  • Wireless charger
  • Panoramic screen upgrade
  • 6WB digital Instrument cluster retrofit
  • Start/Stop button
  • Power trunk retrofit

Weak points & problems on the F30

We don't want to imply the F30 is unreliable or full of issues, but it does help to know what sort of things to look out for. Many used F30's have had these issues addressed and rectified.

The power steering of the F30 doesn’t feel as exciting as E90. But some suspension tweaks can improve that.

  • It may also suffer oil leaks from oil filter housing gasket and valve cover gaskets.
  • Some models may face electricity issues.
  • The bridge-stone run-flat tires started to wear out after one year and you need to replace them.
  • Drive chain malfunction may occur and you need to repair your car’s axle and differential.
  • Sometimes brakes give squeaky sound, you need to replace brake pads.
  • The transmission seal may leak out and you might end up replacing the whole transmission.
  • Some users also hear rattling sounds from the head-up display, behind the steering wheel, and from door locks. All things need to be replaced or re-insulated
  • The oil filter housing gasket may leak out and need repair.
  • The coolant line may burst sometimes and spread the coolant all over

Our recommendations for F30 buyers.

If you are searching for a used BMW 3 Series F30, we suggest you pick a car equipped with the Technology Package.

This package features advanced Real-Time Traffic Information, remote services, navigation system, head-up display, BMW apps & BMW online, and instrument cluster with vehicle information. Always take a test drive before buying.

We recommend you to buy the larger inline 6 powered 335i and 340i model if you prefer power and performance above all.

Otherwise, you can buy the 4-cylinder 320i, 328i, and 330i to have a joyous riding experience.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss F30 options in more detail with our F30 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased BMW tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which mods work best for them on each model of car. Your comments are used to improve the accuracy of these articles which are continually updated.


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