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2010 BMW 3 Series

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2010 BMW 3 Series Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors


Now in its fifth generation, BMW's 3 Series carries on as one of the world's premier driving machines. Both Sedan and Sports Wagon variants are offered in 328 guise, while a fuel-efficient diesel engine can be had with the 335d. Even the more affordable members of the family – rear-wheel-drive 328i Sedan and Sports Wagon and all-wheel-drive 328xi Sedan and Sports Wagon – offer an impressive roster of comfort and convenience touches in addition to their crisply-tuned suspension packages, standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), powerful anti-lock brakes (ABS) and handling characteristics that continue to win rave reviews from driving fans everywhere.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're a genuine driving enthusiast who still believes that there's just something special about German automotive engineering, virtually any selection from the 328i and 335i menu could be just what you're looking for. Even at its entry level, the 3 Series package provides an engaging mix of character, quality and performance.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you prefer a suspension tuned more towards ride comfort than control, want a rear seat with lots of legroom or need a spacious trunk, the 3 Series may be less attractive than some of its European or Japanese competitors – although the Sports Wagon does offer impressive cargo room even with the rear seat up.

What's New for 2010

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.

Driving It Driving Impressions

True to tradition, even the entry-level 3 Series offers a full measure of BMW's legendary driving DNA. Fortified with abundant power and torque, both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants, in either body style and with either transmission, are plenty fast from zero to 60 mph and easily capable of coping with any kind of traffic situation. There's a precise feel to the steering and the well-sorted suspension provides exceptional confidence through even the most challenging corners. While some may find the ride a tad too taut – particularly when fitted with the optional Sport Package – we think the handling advantages more than offset any minor comfort tradeoff. BMW's excellent xDrive all-wheel-drive system also makes dealing with inclement weather considerably less stressful.

Favorite Features

Diesel Engine
Unique to this class, BMW's twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel engine provides the performance of a V8 with the fuel economy of a frugal four.

Optional Active Steering
This high-tech adjunct to the standard power steering varies the effective turning ratio to correspond with vehicle velocity, making it easier to maneuver at low speeds while enhancing stability under freeway cruising conditions.

Vehicle Details Interior

Although slightly roomier than any of its predecessors, the 2010 BMW 3 Series remains a compact sedan that provides better accommodations in its firm but comfortably supportive front bucket seats than in the rear bench – where six-footers are apt to feel a bit confined. The clean, elegant look is highlighted by standard leatherette upholstery set off by Burl Walnut, Poplar Natural Wood or aluminum trim. Legible white-on-black instruments and a multifunction steering wheel on a tilt and telescoping column reinforce its driver-centric character, while models fitted with the optional navigation package get an alternative "double-wave" dash to accommodate the central video display. The latest iDrive controller features preset keys to call up menus for the navigation, radio, CD and telecommunications.

Exterior

A relatively long wheelbase coupled with short front and rear overhangs, plus a slight wedge shape, gives the compact 3 Series a dynamic flair that reflects common styling cues with the larger 5 Series and 7 Series, elements that are further reinforced by the signature twin-kidney grilles. New headlamp and taillight treatments added last year signal the direction of future BMW sedan styling, adding more curvaceous features and softer lines. The 17- and 18-inch wheels that are part of the optional Sport Package impart an even more aggressive stance than the standard 16-inch alloy rims. All 3 Series models are fitted with extended-mobility run-flat tires, so no spare is included.

Notable Standard Equipment

In keeping with its performance heritage, the 2010 BMW 3 Series emphasizes precise handling by augmenting its well-tuned suspension with the comprehensive Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system. DSC interfaces with the car's powerful anti-lock brakes (ABS) as well as with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) on rear-wheel-drive models or Hill Descent Control (HDC) on all-wheel-drive vehicles. In addition to the expected power assists, the 3 Series offers numerous comfort and convenience touches, including cruise control, 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system and a dual (Sports Wagons) power moonroof. All models feature run-flat tires, dual front and front-side airbags plus BMW's front Active head restraints.

Notable Optional Equipment

Key single extras include a six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, eight-way power front seats with driver memory, power moonroof, corner-following Xenon Adaptive Headlights, Automatic High Beams, Comfort Access keyless entry and start, distance-maintaining Active Cruise Control, Active Power Steering that varies effort and ratio with vehicle speed, a navigation system with real-time traffic information and iDrive integrated multifunction controller, Dakota Leather upholstery, Logic7 Sound System, and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The Cold Weather Package includes headlamp washers and heated front seats, while a Premium Package brings leather plus a subscription to BMW Assist that includes real-time help and concierge service at the push of a button. The Sport Package nets tauter suspension, sport seats and 17-inch wheels and tires.

Under the Hood


{Although the 328i and 335i share the same 3.0-liter engine displacement, how BMW tweaks each engine makes all the difference in the world. In the 328 models, an ultra-smooth 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine makes a respectable 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. In the 335, twin turbochargers up the output to 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Another welcome touch is BMW's sophisticated Double VANOS variable valve-timing system that bolsters low- and mid-range responsiveness while helping make the engine even more efficient. The turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel features BMW AdBlue urea injection, which allows it to remain emission compliant in all 50 states. Generating a massive 425 pound-feet of torque, the 335d can sprint to 60 miles per hour in six seconds and is reported to achieve around 36 miles per gallon during highway driving.

3.0-liter in-line 6
230 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
200 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 (Sedan), 18/27 (Sports Wagon, automatic), 17/26 (Sports Wagon, manual), 17/25 (AWD)

3.0-liter in-line 6 Twin-turbocharged
300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26, 16/25 (manual, 4WD), 17/25 (automatic, 4WD)}

3.0-liter in-line 6 Twin-turbocharged Diesel
265 horsepower @ 4200 rpm
425 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/36

Pricing Notes

The 2010 BMW 328i Sedan's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at about $34,000, the 328i xDrive Sedan is just over $36,000 and Sports Wagon trims run close to $36,500. The 335i Sedan bumps the starting price over $41,000, and a fully loaded 335i xDrive can run as high as $58,000; that might be pretty steep for the car formerly known as the baby BMW. BMWs rarely sell close to invoice, but deals can be had so be sure to check the Fair Purchase Prices, which represent prices that consumers are actually paying. Historically, the 3 Series is among the industry leaders in resale value, besting the Acura TL, Audi A4, Infiniti G37 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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