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BMW 3 Series

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2018
      Body type
      Premium
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, PHEV
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Genre-defining compact executive saloon”

Best bits

  • Exceptional to drive 
  • Well integrated technology
  • High quality throughout, and plenty of trim choices

Not so great

  • Not available with Android Auto
  • Some basic equipment is an expensive option
  • M Sport suspension is quite firm

Read by

BMW 3 Series Driving front

Overall verdict

BMW 3 Series Interior

On the inside

BMW 3 Series Driving Front

Driving

BMW 3 Series Gear Stick

How much does it cost to run

BMW 3 Series Driving Back

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The archetypal premium sporting saloon, the BMW 3 Series defines the segment it competes in against its key German rivals like the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class."

BMW 3 Series Driving front

It’s sold in phenomenal numbers, but this success does bring with it a degree of ubiquity. The 3 Series so common now it doesn't have the cache it used to but you can can console yourself in the knowledge that's it's still a brilliant car


The 3 Series saloon is available in rear- and four-wheel drive, manual or automatic transmissions (the manual only offered with the entry level 318i and 318d models) and with power outputs ranging from 150PS right up to 374PS. 


Always hailed as the drivers’ choice among, the 3 Series remains a fantastically enjoyable car to drive, regardless of whether it’s powered by that 150PS entry-level turbodiesel, or any of its other powerplants. That’s thanks to near perfect weight distribution, finely judged suspension and steering that’s both nicely weighted and direct. The 3 Series’ inherent balance means it's a nice car to drive at normals speeds, too.


It’s hardly surprising then that the BMW 3 Series has long been the benchmark car in the class for familiar rivals such as the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class, as well as more fringe players like the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia. 


You might also consider mainstream alternatives such as the Peugeot 508, Volkswagen Passat, Mazda 6, Volkswagen Arteon even if non can match the BMW's drive or sense of quality. Trim choices follow the familiar path, with SE, Sport and M Sport models, with xDrive denoting they’re four-wheel drive.


Is the BMW 3 Series right for you?

Almost definitely! Indeed, perhaps the biggest shortcoming of the 3 Series is its popularity, it doesn't stand out from the crowd quite like it used to.


A big fleet seller, it’s always had strong residual values, and BMW has worked to keep running costs palatable with low emissions and excellent fuel economy. A 320d is the answer to most motorist’s questions, while a 330e does all that while saving your environmental conscience – it can complete short journeys using electric power alone.


What's the best BMW 3 Series model/engine to choose?

Tempting as the six-cylinder models – petrol or diesel are – the 320d is a huge seller for good reason, it offering fine performance allied to great economy and tax-dodging emissions if you’re a company car driver. If your budget stretches to it then the 330e is well worth considering, it can cover up to 41 miles on electricity alone.


Trim levels include the Sport model, which blends sporty looks without a softer ride, the plainer looking SE, or the M Sport car which has aggressive looks and a firmer, sportier ride.


What other cars are similar to the BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series is joined by the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in the posh family car class, along with the Jaguar XE and the Alfa Romeo Giulia. 


Mainstream competitor include the Volkswagen Passat and rakish Arteon, while the Mazda 6 might tempt you, likewise, if boot and passenger space is a serious consideration, the Skoda Superb dwarfs the 3 Series on interior space.

Learn more

BMW 3 Series Interior

On the inside

BMW 3 Series Driving Front

Driving

BMW 3 Series Gear Stick

How much does it cost to run

BMW 3 Series Driving Back

Prices, versions and specification