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The biggest news is the 2015 BMW M3, a 425-horsepower high-performance model that forgoes some luxury coddling in the name of going fast. The rest of the BMW 3 Series lineup gets a few minor tweaks, with standard Bluetooth audio streaming being the most noteworthy.
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.
Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters are available on models equipped with the six-speed STEPTRONIC transmission and Sport Package. The 328 models receive new 16-inch alloy wheels and chrome-tipped exhaust pipes, while HD radio is made available across the line.
The BMW 3 Series has set the standard for entry-level luxury sport sedans for more than 30 years. Atop the heap it has remained, despite the efforts of age-old rivals like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4, and new challenges from the Lexus IS and Cadillac ATS. Part of the magic is the wide variety of configurations available. Last year, BMW unveiled the 320i model, which brings the 3 Series prestige to a more value oriented shopper. On the other end, this year hails the introduction of the 2015 BMW M3, the 5th-generation of the highest-performance 3 Series you can buy. Need more utility? There's the 3 Series Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo hatchback. If fuel economy is your thing, there are also hybrid and diesel models available.View BMW 3 Series vehicles for sale near you.
By Chuck 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)."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Lichking on Tuesday, November 06, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive, Looks Great, Innovative, Luxurious"
Cons: "Navigation, Auto Stop-Start, Complicated Controls"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Let's start with the cons: the navigation system is the biggest disappointment. The map is long outdated, even the BMW dealership where I purchased the car from has the wrong address. The map doesn't show the names of all the roads, only the major streets are shown, even if zoomed in. The system is very slow. However, BMW is releasing a new system this November 2012; unfortunately, I purchased my car before the announcement. The other con is the automatic stop-start system to save gas. Good feature on paper, but in practice, the car wakes up violently. It doesn't feel up to par with BMW quality. Finally, the controls are fairly complicated: the fog lights doesn't turn on automatically, neither does the wipers. The settings doesn't stay at the last user setting, instead everything defaults: like the driving dynamics defaulting to Comfort, the Auto-Stop-Start defaulting to on, etc. This becomes very annoying as you need to press a bunch of buttons before driving out. Now the pros: Driving in sport mode is incredibly fun, enough said. The car has incredible acceleration. The interior design is absolutely beautiful, not too many buttons as everything is integrated. Quality is nice. Everything else is expected from the BMW line."
38 people out of 40 found this review helpful
By ghoward on Wednesday, February 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ride, Acceleration, Fit & finish"
Cons: "Price is still high"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is my fourth BMW. It is starting my twentieth year having a BMW in my household. A word for the naysayers. For those that say, BMWs are unreliable, too complicated to drive, or too expensive, I would tell them that to own a BMW means you must learn how a BMW works. They are a distinct line of cars. Having owned other luxury cars- Mercedes, Lexus, and Infiniti- I have to say that nothing drives like a BMW and not everyone will like the way a BMW drives. It is in its own place. And that place is first understanding how a BMW drives- its dials, functions, and capabilities. Second, it is maintaing on a regular basis, one's BMW. This is one car that cannot be neglected. One can go a long way without regular maintenance with a Honda or Toyota- though I do not recommend neglecting those cars either. Not so with a BMW, but if one will keep it serviced, it will go as far as the aforementioned car lines. This 2012 328i is different than my older 328i. It drives differently, but better. I only recommend that you as a reader, go drive one. The drive will surpass the anything more I could say."
23 people out of 25 found this review helpful