KBB Editors' Overview
By Keith Buglewicz - Updated Date: 6/17/2014
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you want a practical luxury sport sedan that delivers on driving involvement regardless of the model you pick, then the 2015 BMW 3 Series should be at the top of your list. While there are alternatives from Lexus, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, none are as coveted by enthusiasts.
You May Not Like This Car If...
While the BMW 3 Series offers a lot, the familiar design and high price can be off-putting. The 2015 Lexus IS offers polarizing style, and the 2015 Cadillac ATS is a surprisingly fun and less expensive alternative. Of course, there's always the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
What's New for 2015
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.
It's hard to talk about the 2015 BMW 3 Series without paraphrasing the Bavarian automaker's famous tagline. These cars – from the base 320i to the all-conquering M3 – put a focus on driving pleasure, a trait that consistently puts them at or near the top of the segment in terms of ride and handling. The lone exception is the Gran Turismo hatchback, which isn't as nimble as its smaller, lighter siblings. The 335i's turbocharged 6-cylinder is good for 5.4-second 0-60 bursts, but the turbo-4 in the 328i is only about a half-second slower. The 320i gets to 60 mph in a still-quick 7.1 seconds. Even the diesel is no slouch, but it's the 2015 M3, with its 0-60 mph time of less than four seconds, that holds top bragging rights. Most 3 Series models come with a fuel-saving stop/start feature. Unfortunately it shudders when the engine restarts – luckily, you can deactivate it.
Among the apps iPhone users can use through the BMW Apps feature – apps like Glympse location sharing data, and audio books from Audible – BMW added a new feature: full integration with the GoPro camera app, including the ability to preview your video, and control the camera through iDrive.
SURROUND VIEW SYSTEM
We're starting to think that a 360-degree camera-view around a car should be standard equipment on everything. The BMW 3 Series has one of the better systems, offering the birds-eye view plus a selectable Side View function, letting you monitor traffic crossing in front of the car.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…