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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Chris on Saturday, November 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, comfortable"
Cons: "Interior materials could be better."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The 320i is a car that doesn't do very many things, but what it does do it does right. Some people might believe that the 320i is the "watered down" BMW for buyers that only want the badge, but that's the opinion of people that haven't yet owned one. It's feels just as balanced, it's just as sharp, and it's just as enjoyable as you'd expect a BMW sport sedan to be. My car does have the sport package that firms the car up a little, but it's still extremely comfortable to drive while giving the car a more sporty feel. Steering is on the lighter side due to the electric assist, but it's still very good and very sharp. The 320i is down on power from the 328i, but it doesn't feel underpowered at all. In everyday conditions, it feels very responsive and torquey down low with very little turbo lag. Honestly, it feels nearly as strong as the 328i in most driving conditions. It's only when you're driving hard do you realize how much less power the 320i has. It absolutely has more than enough power for most people. If you're looking for a sports sedan I believe it is the best bang for your buck not only in the 3-series line, but of any car in the small sports sedan class. Also, fuel economy is great with 27-28 mpg average. The interior is very nice, but it's kind of a mixed bag. Plenty of quality materials mixed with some cheaper materials that you wouldn't want to see in a luxury vehicle. Interior comfort and space is excellent for the class. Controls are easy to use for the most part, but you will spend some time learning how the iDrive system works. The car's interior is a very nice place to be overall. If there's one option that I think everyone should get, it would be the sport package. It isn't just rims and some black trim, it is a true sport package with a tighter sports suspension, a fantastic M sport steering wheel, better seats higher performance staggered rims and tires for about $1,500! That's a steal, perfect for someone that just wants to enjoy the driving experience and not spend $45,000+ on a car! Like I said, this car is everything you'd expect in a BMW 3 series but for several thousand dollars less."
3 people out of 3 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