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At nearly $3,300 less than the previously entry-level 328i, the new 320i gives BMW a lower entry point for the 3-Series without compromising its luxury pretentions. Other noteworthy additions for 2013 include available xDrive AWD and a new ActiveHybrid model, which teams a 55-hp electric motor with the TwinPower turbo-6 for a combined 335 horsepower and a modest boost in fuel efficiency.
While near the end of its product cycle, the 3 Series received a number of visual and functional updates in 2011. To that end, the existing models benefit from little more than fine-tuning. Notably, as of 2012 the M3 4-door is no more; this is a 3 Series variant those wanting to travel at 150 mph (with their kids) will certainly miss. Going forward, the new sedan makes its debut first, after which BMW will fill in the coupe, convertible and wagon gaps.
The seemingly still-new 2011 3 Series benefits from a number of small visual updates, including new hood and front fascia, new headlights featuring an "eyebrow" for the daytime running lights, reshaped exterior mirrors with enhanced aerodynamics, and a new rear treatment that visually widens the car. Additionally, the 3 Series coupe and convertible receive a new side-skirt design. On top of the visual changes is a host of new options, combined with new variations in color, trim and upholstery.
For 2010, the power moonroof is now optional on the 328i Sedan models, while both the 328i and 328ix Drive Sedan and Wagon gain new wheel designs and HD Radio. The newly available Automatic High Beams feature also can be ordered as a stand-alone option.
The 3-Series Sedan and Wagon receive a slight exterior and interior freshening, with a new front end, revised rear end and a more dynamic profile. Also new are an improved iDrive controller and the addition of a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel engine.
For more than 30 years, the BMW 3 Series has set the standard for entry-level luxury sedans. Despite the best efforts of age-old rivals like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Lexus IS, the 3 Series continues on as the undisputed benchmark in the category. This level of dominance is owed in large part to the variety of configurations that comprise the 3 Series line, including the multifaceted Sport Wagon, a fuel-sipping diesel, and an all-new Gran Turismo hatchback. To make the nameplate more accessible, the newly available 320i trim delivers 3 Series prestige at a buyer-friendly price. As for coupe and convertible versions, they will migrate to the forthcoming 4 Series platform, leaving the 2014 BMW 3 Series with an all-4-door portfolio. This is the story of why we named it one of the 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000 for 2014.
By Chuck (VA) on Sunday, July 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Well built, great handling, fuel economy, BMW feel"
Cons: "Could use more grunt, engine can sound weak"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my new 320i as my commuter car. I traded in a 2011 Subaru WRX which was a real hoot to drive, but was noisy and fairly crude. I had owned a 2005 325i so was not new to BMW. Firstly, my car came with the Premium package, heated seats, and leather. So-equipped it is luxurious, has tons of bells and whistles, and looks very upscale. I debated about the 320i over the 328i because of engine power. As it turns out, saving the $4-7k by going with the 320i was a good decision for the most part. Acceleration is more than adequate but won't take your breath away (no match for the WRX). Particularly in normal driving, it will keep up with anything. Handling is typical 3-series - planted, confidence-inspiring, and predictable. The 8-speed auto seems a little busy to me, but it helps with mileage and performance. So far I'm getting 33 mpg in my daily driving. I wish I could have found one with the sport package as well, but I can live without it. What I don't like about the car is as follows: could use a little more power, the seats are a little too flat for my taste (but nicely upholstered in leather), the iDrive (though hugely improved) is still a little odd at times, the engine can at times sound a little anemic even if not. If you've ever heard a WRX with the optional SPT exhaust, you'll know what a 4-cylinder should sound like. All of these are minor nits and I highly recommend the car. I looked at the Mercedes C250 (underpowered and some of the styling details are weird), the Audi A4 (great build quality but didn't feel as robust or fast the 320i) and the Acura TL (couldn't bring myself to buy a non-German car this time around though it was certainly well equipped and well built)."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Disapointed (CA) on Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,950overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Strong lease, awesome appearance, interior design,"
Cons: "Squeeks, rattles, steering, size"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Very disappointed! I don't like the bigger size or the new steering system. It is not as tight as before & does not transmit the road as well as my 2007 335i. Already had more squeeks & rattles on my brand new car than my used 87k mile 07"
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By vmerch (IL) on Tuesday, November 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fast, responsive, great fuel economy"
Cons: "Engine sound, some options require packages"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Traded a Mercedes C300 for this car. Some reviewers say the seats are hard - try a Mercedes and these feel like La-Z-Boy recliners. Everything works as expected, but the engine sounds just like a diesel; however, it also returns gas mileage like one as well - up to 38.7 on the highway. Transmission stays in a high gear, but is very responsive to throttle inputs. No turbo lag - the car is fast and responsive. Overall, I'd buy another one. BMW Office really only works fully with Blackberry phones. Haven't most companies gone with IPhones or Droids?"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful