KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 4/26/2013
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
Automotive purists on the prowl for the most enthusiast-oriented sports sedan on the market need look no further than the 2014 BMW 3 Series. Although entries from Acura, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz are certainly advanced, well-equipped 3 Series models hold the edge when it comes to the latest in-car tech.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If value, style, and quality trump handling dynamics on your list of priorities, the new-for-2014 Lexus IS deserves your consideration. Other noteworthy alternatives include the sporty Cadillac ATS, the well-rounded Audi A4, and the popular Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
What's New for 2014
Two-door versions of the latest 3 Series platform are set to arrive in showrooms later this year under the new 4 Series designation. In addition, a new 4-door hatchback variant dubbed the Gran Turismo joins the roster.
A major element of 3 Series appeal is their driving dynamics. They consistently perform at or near the top of their segment in terms of ride and handling. The exception is the bigger, heavier Gran Turismo hatchback, which isn't as nimble as its siblings. The 3 Series' fuel-saving stop/start feature shudders during engine shutdown, and again when the system restarts. Drivers can deactivate stop/start by pressing a button on the dash each time they start the car. The delightfully torque-rich turbo-6 is good for 5.4-second 0-60 bursts, but the surprising turbo-4 is only about a half-second slower. The down-powered 320i gets to 60 mph in roughly 7.1 seconds. The diesel engine delivers strong performance and excellent fuel economy. As a bonus, the twin-scroll turbocharger used on all powerplants is virtually free of turbo lag. In late 2014, the next-generation BMW M3 will arrive.
iPhone users can access a number of popular mobile applications like Glympse location sharing data, audio books by Audible, and TuneIn radio via the standard navigation system display and iDrive controls. BMW Apps can even read aloud Twitter and Facebook feeds.
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.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…