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2013 BMW 3 Series

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2013 BMW 3 Series Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.4

The iconic BMW 3 may be the industry's most benchmarked vehicle. Virtually all competing automakers – most notably Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus – have tried to match (or surpass) its beautifully balanced dynamics, upscale image and enthusiast appeal with luxosport compacts of their own, and some have come close. But none so far has quite bulls-eyed that elusive target. Making that challenge even more difficult is the 2013 addition of available xDrive all-wheel drive (AWD), a still-quick but more fuel-efficient ActiveHybrid 3 model and (soon) a sports wagon. To make the nameplate more accessible to the masses, BMW offers a new entry-level 320i model that delivers 3-Series prestige at a buyer-friendly price. The previous-generation coupe, convertible and performance-based M3 variants are carried over as 2013s for now, but all-new versions on the new platform are not far away.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you are a true driving enthusiast (or want to be seen as one) and can afford a true enthusiasts' compact sports sedan, equipped as you want it and wearing that pricey propeller badge, you will enjoy the BMW 3's image, driving dynamics and (down the road) strong resale value.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you can see beyond the vaunted BMW badge and would like an equally satisfying luxury-sports compact for similar or significantly less money, there are a lot of excellent alternatives beginning with the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Infiniti G37, Lexus IS and the new Cadillac's ATS.

What's New for 2013

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.

Driving the 3 Series

Driving Impressions A major element of the 3 Series' appeal is its grin-inducing driving dynamics. We've tested the sedans and coupes on slow, fast, twisty and hilly roads and on challenging race...

courses, and they go, steer, corner and brake as well as, or better than, anything in their segment. Especially impressive is the balance of cornering prowess with comfortable ride. The fuel-saving stop-start feature shutters when it kills the engine at rest, and again when it restarts as the brake is released, but it can be switched off. The delightfully torquey turbo-6 is good for 5.4-second 0-60 bursts, but the surprising turbo-4 is only about a half-second slower, with the down-powered 320i version turning in a time of roughly 7.1 seconds. As a bonus, the twin-scroll turbo used on both powerplants are virtually free of turbo lag. But if the standard variety fails to arouse your senses, the 414-horsepower M3 is sure to plaster a smile on the face of even the most discerning enthusiast.

BMW PARKING ASSISTANT
This feature helps you to maneuver into parallel parking spaces by first measuring a potential space's size to be sure the car will comfortably fit, then automatically steering into it. The driver just has to operate the accelerator and brake and keep an eye on the area around the car.

SURROUND VIEW SYSTEM
Cameras in the outside mirrors provide a bird's-eye top view of the area around the car to aid maneuvering in tight spaces, while the selectable Side View function uses cameras in the sides of the front bumper to monitor traffic crossing in front of the car.

2013 BMW 3 Series Details
Interior

BMW calls its 2013 3 Series interior "straight out of the BMW design handbook," meaning an uncomplicated look with tight fits, simple shapes and upscale materials. The cockpit, angled toward the driver by seven degrees, presents important controls within easy reach, and the rear cabin is a bit roomier than before. The four circular dials are speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge and oil temperature – but there's no coolant-temperature or oil-pressure gauge. The console-mounted iDrive controller is handy to both driver and front passenger, and its freestanding central screen boasts a flat-TV-like trans-reflective, high-resolution display.

Exterior

When BMW's 1977 3 Series replaced the respected but ungainly 2002, its styling was a pleasant surprise. Thirty-six years later, its evolving design has never again surprised, and that's a good thing. Line up all six generations, and the evolution is apparent. Each new 3 Series logically follows the one before it, remaining conservative but contemporary for its time. Even to the casual observer, there is never a doubt what it is. Today's slightly longer and taller model differentiates itself mostly by adding more character lines and creases and visually connecting its headlamps to its signature twin-kidney grille. Similarly, the equally-iconic M3 maintains its long-standing tradition of elevating the 3 Series' athletic looks to the next level by way of distinctive front and rear fascias, quad exhaust outlets, and a wider, more aggressive stance.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

As expected, 2013 BMW 3 Series sedans come well equipped with Leatherette upholstery, automatic climate control, cruise control, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, halogen head- and fog lamps with automatic headlight control, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive brake lights, run-flat all-season tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 9-speaker audio system with HD Radio and a USB port. Still, a power driver seat and a fold-down rear seat are extra-cost options. Standard Driving Dynamics Control offers ECO-PRO, Comfort and Sport settings, while standard safety features include stability and traction controls, anti-lock braking, active head restraints and eight airbags.

Optional Equipment

The 3 Series option list boggles the mind. Among the more interesting are a Parking Assistant and the Surround View camera (see Favorite Features), navigation with real-time traffic, Active Blind Spot Detection, lane-departure warning, collision warning and automatic collision notification. Available Comfort Access pops the trunk lid when you wave your foot under the bumper, Variable Sports Steering offers different steering ratios for varying conditions, and a head-up display projects key information in the driver's line of sight. An M Sport package adds adaptive sport suspension, aero aids and M wheels, while three packages called "Lines" (Luxury, Modern and Sport) let buyers customize their car's appearance.

Under the Hood

Three gasoline engines are offered in 2013 3 Series lineup: A 2.0-liter turbo-4 in 320i and 328i models (detuned in the 320i), the 3.0-liter inline turbo-6 (now available in nearly all BMWs) in 335i models, and a potent 414-horsepower naturally-aspirated V8 reserved for the range-topping M3. Each boasts the unique combination of BMW "Valvetronic" fully variable intake-valve lift, "Double Vanos" dual-cam phasing, and direct gas injection. Both turbocharged mills offer a choice of 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission driving the rear or (with newly-available xDrive) all four wheels. A 6-speed manual gearbox or a quick-witted dual-clutch 7-speed automatic is available on M3 models. Unlike its high-performance challenger, the Audi S4, the M3 is not available in all-wheel-drive configuration. The new ActiveHybrid 3 marries a 55-hp electric motor (packaged inside the 8-speed automatic housing and driven by a lithium-ion battery) to the turbo-6 for a combined 335 hp (not the sum of both peak outputs, since both engine and motor can't operate at max power simultaneously).

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
180 horsepower @ 5,000-6,250 rpm
200 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/36 mpg (manual), 24/36 mpg (automatic), 23/35 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34 mpg (manual), 23/33 mpg (automatic)

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,200-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg (manual), 23/33 mpg (automatic), 23/28 mpg (AWD)

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (hybrid)
335 horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
330 lb-ft of torque @ 1,200-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 mpg

4.0-liter V8
414 horsepower @ 8,300 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg, 13/20 mpg (convertible, manual)

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2013 BMW 3 Series Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 77 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.7/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.7/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Wonderful Performance but overrated in other ways

By on Friday, July 24, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Didn't love it

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Great performance, good snob appeal."

Cons: "Uncomfortable, noisy ride. bad visibility."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I bought my 328i sedan new because i always wanted the "BMW Experience." The performance and handling of the car exceeded my expectations however, it started developing rattles and engine noise almost immediately. Something was loose in the right rear passenger space that rattled every time I went over a bump and i was never able to track it down. The car has a beautiful exterior but the interior is completely unremarkable, in fact, a bit poorly assembled and somewhat uncomfortable. The engine made a constant clacking noise that sounded like valve noise from the first day I owned it. The service people at BMW said it was normal fuel injector noise. Also, the most annoying thing about this car is it's automatic shutoff at stops. When the engine comes back on, the whole car quakes. The ride is noisy compared to middle of the line sedans like Honda or Toyota. For 40+ grand I guess I expected a bit more."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Not Impressed

By on Friday, July 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Drives well"

Cons: "Turbo sounds terrible"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Before this BMW, I owned a 2011 328I. Wish I never 'upgraded'. The engine sounds like a diesel, somewhat embarrassing. You pay for options which should be standard, like the leather. Really fake leather in a BMW, what are you paying for?? Look for used or wait until year end to get the best price. They do not hold their value whatsoever."

Sparingly used with easy care for 100,000 miles

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great value fr money, pleasure in driving"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Very sparingly used, extra warranty coverage for bumper to bumper for 100,000 miles or 6 years; sports package; new tires, beautiful red color"

Best car I've ever owned

By on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Acceleration, handling, gas mileage, comfort, fun,"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've owned several different cars including Infinity, Audi, Porsche, and several BMW's, but this one surpasses them all. Acceleration, handling, gas mileage, reliability, fun. I will let this go at 100,000 miles but it will be hard to do. Cant believe it books at only $23,500 right now. What a steal that would be for someone. the 100,000 mile/6 year maintenance along with the 100,000 mile/6 year full warranty means it doesn't cost me a penny until mid-2018. That is peace-of-mind."

14 people out of 25 found this review helpful

13 Bmw 328i xdrive

By on Saturday, July 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Performance , efficiency"

Cons: "Ride quality, interior materials,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Great car if you like performance and don't care about the ride quality. Interior materials feel kind of cheap and boring ( standard leather surface is hard and feels like rubber ) Run flat tires are loud, wear fast, and the ride comfort is just horrible, you will feel every bump and road imperfection. Idrive system is complicated and everything requires minimum of 2-3 steps. Climate system will never allow fresh cold air going thru, you need a/c turned on for that otherwise you will have warm air blowing in even at the lowest possible temperature setting. Interior storage amount is small and ergonomic are disappointing , USB outlet is under the arm rest and the second USB is in a very small glove compartment. All Service is covered for 4 years or 50K , after that it's going to cost you a fortune, parts at the dealership must have 50% mark up. And good luck if you want to check engine oil , no dipstick, 4 or 5 steps later using idrive and 2 minutes later, that is how long it takes , it's measured electronically ( the worst idea ever ! ) Is it worth some $ 40K,? You can decide on your own.."

12 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Amazing Car! From VW to BMW

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Power, looks, fuel economy, HK sound system, tech."

Cons: "Pricing-certain options should be standard"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"After 15 years of owning VW's I decided to get the BMW of my dreams. I had owned a 2015 VW GTI and the car had quite a few problems that VW could not resolve. I decided to look at a fully loaded 328i xdrive. I fell in love immediately. I love the power, handling, harmon kardon sound system, interior and exterior design, fuel efficiency, and all of the tech features, they work flawlessly. My only complaint is pricing, I feel like this car should come standard with the sunroof, leather, heated seats, back up camera, xenon lights. After I added all options my total was $54,000, that is $15,000 in options/packages."

28 people out of 47 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?