BMW 3 Series Review
With its sporty design, luxurious interior and fun-to-drive dynamics, the BMW 3 Series has defined the small luxury sedan class for decades. First introduced in the 1970s, the BMW 3 Series remains the brand’s best-selling model in America and continues to be a best-seller around the world. Here you can find Vehicle History BMW 3 Series Review.
BMW 3 Series buyers have long appreciated the models smooth ride, powerful engines and exacting fit and finish, as well as its well-earned reputation for safety, impressive fuel economy and high resale value. It’s a combination that has kept the BMW 3 Series ahead of its growing competition and has made it a smart new car purchase as well as a desirable choice for used and Certified Pre Owned shoppers.
Built in Germany, and now in its sixth-generation, the award-winning BMW 3 Series continues to outsell most other players in the extremely competitive entry-level luxury sport sedan class. The 3 Series also enjoys high buyer loyalty and it appeals to young and first time luxury car buyers. In fact, BMW 3 Series drivers continue to be among the youngest in the luxury car market.
In this article:
- 2018 BMW 3 Series Review
- 2014-2017 BMW 3 Series Review
- 2006-2013 BMW 3 Series Review
- 1999-2005 BMW 3 Series Review
2018 BMW 3 Series Review
This year, the 2018 BMW 3 Series is available in three bodystyles; a sedan, a four-door hatchback and a wagon. BMW continues to refine the 3 Series, making it more comfortable and more refined. The current-generation 3 Series is is larger than its predecessors with more interior space and a larger trunk, which has also made it more popular with American families. BMW has also revised its suspension and its steering systems for smoother operation and for 2018 it has updated its exterior with LED headlamps. Inside, BMW’s iDrive infotainment system has also been improved and now includes a touchscreen for more intuitive operation. Plus, onboard Wifi is available.
The most affordable 2018 BMW 3 Series is the 320i sedan with rear-wheel drive. Prices start at $35,000 but BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system is available for an additional $2,000. The 2018 BMW 320i is powered by a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 180 horsepower and it’s available with an 8-speed automatic transmission, which is standard, or a 6-speed manual.
For around $40,000, BMW 3 Series buyers can step up to the rear-wheel drive 330i sedan. This model is also powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine but power is increased to 248 horsepower. Again, BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system is available, but it’s standard on the 330i xDrive Sports Wagon and the 330i xDrive Grand Turismo, which is a four-door hatchback and features a longer wheelbase and increased rear seat legroom compared to the BMW 3 Series sedan.
Buyers looking for the most fuel efficient BMW 3 Series should check out the diesel powered BMW 328d, which is available in the sedan and sports wagon bodystyles. With its 2.0-liter turbo engine it delivers strong acceleration and exceptional fuel economy, including 43 mpg on the highway. BMW 3 Series diesel prices start around $42,000. For hybrid shoppers there’s the BMW 330e iPerformance sedan, which is powered by a gas engine in combination with a small electric motor and battery pack. It’s a plug-in hybrid and can be driven up to 22 miles on electricity alone. Its base price is about $46,000.
Driving enthusiasts have long loved the BMW 3 Series. For this crowd BMW offers the 340i sedan and Grand Turismo, which pack a turbocharged six-cylinder engine with 320 hp. But the big dog is the legendary M3 sedan. With a 444 horsepower twin-turbo six-cylinder it’s the most powerful 3 Series of all time and one of the quickest cars in BMW’s history. This rear-wheel drive super sedan sprints from 0-60 mph in less than 4.0 seconds. Prices start about $67,000.
2014-2017 BMW 3 Series Review
In online and magazine reviews the current BMW 3 Series has been praised for its exceptional dynamics, smooth ride and comfortable interior. Although some prefer its smaller and sportier predecessors, the current 3 Series, which was introduced in 2012, remains fun-to-drive with agile handling, quick response and strong acceleration. This makes the BMW 3 Series desirable for used and certified pre-owned shoppers looking for luxury, style and great performance at a low price.
First offered as the 328i and 335i with rear-wheel drive, the 2012 BMW 3 Series was offered as a sedan as well as a two-door coupe and convertible, which had a retractable hardtop for the first time. All-wheel drive was added in 2013 and a year later the two-door models become the BMW 4 Series and the 3 Series wagon and diesel models debuted. In 2016 BMW updated the exterior design of the 3 Series, created the more powerful 340i model and the 330e plug-in hybrid. More recently the entry level 2017 BMW 320i to the lineup and the 2017 BMW 328i became the 330i with a significant increase in horsepower. The current high-performance M3 was introduced in 2015.
2006-2013 BMW 3 Series Review
The fifth generation of the BMW 3 Series also received rave reviews from the press as well as owners. First offered as the 325i and 330i as a sedan, it was more powerful, more luxurious and offered more in cabin technology than previous versions of the 3 Series. Both were powered by inline six-cylinder engines, but without turbos. Power peaked at 255 horsepower. The BMW 3 Series Coupe followed in 2007 with optional all-wheel drive and the new 230 horsepower 328i and 300 horsepower 335i debuted.
In 2009 the diesel-powered 335d sedan hit the market and the entire 3 Series sedan and wagon received a styling refresh. Also BMW began calling its all-wheel drive system xDrive and it made its iDrive infotainment system considerably easier to use. Enthusiasts will like the high-performance 335is model which was new in 2011 and the M3, which featured a V8 engine for the first time, was available beginning in 2008.
1999-2005 BMW 3 Series Review
Known by its internal designation of E46 by BMW enthusiasts, the fourth-generation of the BMW 3 Series is thought of by many to be the best. Beloved for its steering feel, perfectly balanced chassis and high revving engines, the 1999 BMW 3 Series sedan was followed by coupe, convertible and wagon bodystyles in 2000.
Originally offered two inline six-cylinder engines with as much as 193 horsepower, the 3 Series lineup quickly advanced to include the 225 horsepower 330i and an M3 with over 300 horsepower and BMW’s first dual clutch automatic transmission. BMW freshened the exterior design of the 3 Series sedan and wagon in 2002 and gave the coupe and convertible a new face in 2004. Although the in cabin technology found in a 3 Series of this vintage would be disappointing to today’s buyer, the exterior design and driving dynamics hold up just fine and make the fourth-generation 3 Series a desirable used car option for many luxury car shoppers on a tighter budget.