BMW 3 Series Review

BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series range...

List Price

£32,385 - £50,555

Acceleration (0-62mph)

4.4 - 8.4 seconds

Top speed

138 - 155 mph

Engine Power

150 - 374 bhp

CO2 Emissions

107 - 162 g/km

Fuel Economy (Combined)

47.1 - 64.2 mpg

Prices & Specification

Fantastic range of engines; the best handling in its class; stylish throughout.


Some of the extras are a bit pricey.

The BMW 3 Series really is a tremendous car. There is a wide range of engines to suit your needs and each one is very good. The 3 Series’ handling is unparalleled in its class and the build quality is magnificent. Just be careful what optional extras you pick as they can boost the price up considerably.


An excellent selection of engines is available giving a buyer a great choice of BMW 3 Series performance options. The diesels seem to offer the best combination of pace, performance and economy with the 2.0 litre 320d being particularly impressive, it offers a whopping 184bhp whilst still feeling controlled and classy. To be honest though this is probably more power than necessary for most and the two smaller diesels are fine choices, as is the 320d EfficientDynamics which is designed to be economical but still can do 0 – 62mph in 8 seconds flat. Don’t discount the BMW 3 Series petrol offerings though as they are also all very good engines. The smaller option is the 316i and despite the loss of two cylinders from its predecessor it still has enough power to overtake comfortably aided by the twin turbo. If you insist on 6 cylinders though there is the very rapid 335i which does the benchmark 0 – 62mph in a blistering 5.5 seconds.


The previous BMW 3 Series set the standard for handling in its class, but the new model is somehow even better. It is so refined, like an Olympic gymnast it makes the toughest of manoeuvres look simple whilst never having the slightest wobble. Having been tested round the windy roads of Wales the BMW 3 Series gobbles up country roads, and smoothes out the bumps and lumps of your average journey. The BMW 3 Series’ handling really is excellent.


With the new 3 Series styling BMW have just made the odd tweak here, and a slight cut there to improve the cars overall appearance. The new tail lights and wider arches give the car a more substantial feel, and the redesigned front just give it that touch of character that is sometimes lacking from BMWs.


The BMW 3 Series’ design flows from outside to in, meaning the car feels complete. The quality of the trim is excellent with the dash laid out nicely and everything feeling plush and sophisticated. The BMW 3 Series is ever so slightly longer than its predecessor and this extra length is put to good use with rear passengers having plenty of leg room. The boot also doesn’t seem to suffer from the car’s rear wheel drive system weighing in at 480 litres which is the equal of its competitors.


The BMW 3 Series specification list is longer than many novels, with so many options and so much equipment on offer. If picking gets too much for you and you’ve just plumped for the entry level ES, don’t panic, you’ll find that you have a pretty well equipped car, with Bluetooth, Climate Control, a 6.5 inch flat screen and 17 inch alloys all coming as standard. Above this are the SE, Sport, Modern, Luxury, M Sport as well as a greener EfficientDynamics model which is only available with certain engines. The SE will probably do best as it is well priced and comes with plenty of the gadgets you’d want, including rain and parking sensors. If you do want higher BMW 3 Series equipment levels though, the Sport gives you a few more gadgets, the Modern is the dark brooding version, black chrome tailpipe and black interior plus some sporty front seats. The Luxury is your more classic BMW plenty of leather and wood. The M Sport gets you a proper sports trim, with aerodynamics and suspension geared for sportier driving.


The BMW 3 Series received 5 stars in its Euro NCAP crash test and you can see why. 6 airbags come as standard, as does Dynamic Stability Control, which provides extra grip and assistance when it’s needed. The BMW 3 Series’ safety can be further improved by adding some optional extras including Lane Departure Warning System, and with higher trims you also get a heads up display to help you keep your eyes on the road.

Buying & Owning5/5

You really will have very few complaints if you go ahead and buy the BMW 3 Series, the build quality coupled with BMW’s excellent reliability record means you shouldn’t find yourself at the garage very often. The 3 Series isn’t even going to cost you loads at the pumps, if you opt for the EfficientDynamics model you can do up 70mpg which is very impressive and the other engines are not too thirsty either.

Reviewed by cars2buy