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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.
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.
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.
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 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)."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Fred on Saturday, May 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Tremendous fun to drive, maintenance covered."
Cons: "Tight interior."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love driving this car with the top down along a winding road at good speed. It simply follows every command with maximum precision. The 335is is positoned between the 335i and the M3. I drove an Audi S5 and the BMW 335is and found the BMW to be the better car."
2 people out of 2 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."
36 people out of 37 found this review helpful