The gold standard of sports sedans, the BMW 3 is now in its 6th generation renowned for an un-matched combination of smooth powertrains, brilliant handling, and comfortable yet driver-focused interiors
The BMW 3 Series delivers strong performance, excellent economy, fine handling and a luxurious and spacious cabin
The BMW 3 Series is the company's top seller and a favourite in the marketplace for many reasons:
It's a stylish entry-level luxury car well-endowed with world-class fit finish, providing dynamic performance and superb handling un-matched by most vehicles.For generation after generation, the BMW 3 Series has offered the same benefits despite constant evolution.Today's BMW 3 Series is offered as a sedan or a station wagon. It's broken down into 320i, 328i, 328d, 335i and ActiveHybrid 3 models.
The 320i and 328i sedans and 328i wagon get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces either 132 Kw power for the 320i or 176 Kw for the 328i.
The 328d sedan and wagon are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel-powered four-cylinder that also makes 132 Kw but considerably more torque.
The sedan-only 335i gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with 220 Kw. The ActiveHybrid 3 sedan pairs the 335i's engine with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, resulting in a healthy 246 Kw; however, fuel economy is about the same as in the 328i.
Transmission choices are limited to a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic, with the former not available in the wagon and ActiveHybrid 3. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all 3 Series sedans, while all-wheel drive is available on the sedan (except the ActiveHybrid 3) and standard on all wagons.
Standard features on the base 320i include alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, manual front seats, leatherette upholstery, Bluetooth and the iDrive electronics interface with a 6.5-inch display.
The 328i upgrades to power front seats, while the 335i and ActiveHybrid 3 throw in larger wheels, xenon headlights and a sunroof. As usual, the options lists is long and strong, including everything from a hard-drive-based navigation system with a larger display screen to a Dynamic Handling package with a sport-tuned suspension and variable-ratio steering.
The car always feels up to the task, even if its electrically assisted steering is less engaging than what previous generations of the 3 Series offered.
Inside, drivers will find a restrained show of luxury, with an emphasis on comfort and involvement. The supportive seats underneath are complemented by a clean, clear analogue gauge cluster dead ahead.
The four available design "lines"- Luxury, Modern, Sport and M Sport-add visual spice to what has historically been a rather drab interior. Materials and build quality are exceptional; even the standard leatherette (vinyl) upholstery looks and feels better than one might expect.
Overall the BMW 3 Series is still the standard-bearer in the compact luxury-sport class. Thanks to its wonderfully balanced dynamics, powerful and efficient engine line-ups and wide range of configurations, the 3 Series comes strongly recommended.