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2014 BMW 3 Series

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2014 BMW 3 Series Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.3

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.

Driving the 3 Series
Driving Impressions

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.

BMW APPS
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.

2014 BMW 3 Series Details
Interior

BMW calls its 2014 3 Series interior "straight out of the BMW design handbook," meaning an uncomplicated look with tight fits, simple shapes and upscale materials. The cockpit, angled toward the driver by seven degrees, presents important controls within easy reach. Overall, the cabin is quite spacious, and the rear quarters offer more legroom than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS and Infiniti Q50. The console-mounted iDrive controller is handy to both driver and front passenger, and its freestanding central screen boasts an HDTV-like trans-reflective, high-resolution display. On the practicality front, 3 Series Sport Wagon and Gran Turismo models maintain a sizable advantage over their sedan-only rivals like the Lexus IS and Infiniti G when it comes to hauling cargo.

Exterior
2014 BMW 3 Series photo

When BMW's 1977 3 Series replaced the respected but ungainly 2002, its styling was a pleasant surprise. Thirty-six years later, its evolving design has never again surprised, and that's a good thing. Line up all six generations, and the evolution is so apparent that even casual observers have no doubt what it is. Today’s slightly longer and taller model differentiates itself mostly by adding more defined character lines and creases, along with a visual connection between the headlights and the marque’s signature twin-kidney grilles. The Gran Turismo hatchback, on the other hand, is an acquired taste.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Straight out of the box, base 320i trims come equipped with leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, and a 9-speaker sound system with a 6.5-inch LCD display, a USB port, and HD Radio. For comparison, the less expensive Acura TSX and Audi A4 offer power front seats and leather as standard fare. Safety features standard on every 2014 BMW 3 Series model consist of eight airbags, active head rests to help reduce the severity of whiplash injuries, and impact sensors that unlock the doors, activate the hazard lights, and disengage potentially hazardous electrical systems in the event of a collision.

Optional Equipment

In typical BMW fashion, the options list for the 2014 3 Series is both extensive and pricey. Features we feel are worth their weight in gold include the above-mentioned Surround View camera, a hands-free power trunklid that opens by waving your foot under the bumper, navigation with programmable waypoints, a head-up display that projects pertinent driving information onto the windshield, and adaptive cruise control designed to maintain a preselected distance behind the vehicle ahead. The sport seats, aerodynamic enhancements, suspension tuning, and lightweight wheels of the available M Sport Package help bridge the performance gap between the standard 3 Series and the fire-breathing M3.

Under the Hood

Two turbocharged gasoline engines are offered in 2014 3 Series lineup: A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in 320i and 328i models (detuned in the 320i) and the 3.0-liter inline-6 in 335i models. Both engines drive the rear or all four wheels through a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. Diesel models get a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that packs nearly the same low-end torque as the 6-cylinder, but with significant fuel economy benefits. The ActiveHybrid 3 marries a 55-hp electric motor (packaged inside the 8-speed automatic housing and driven by a lithium-ion battery) to the turbo-6 for a combined 335 hp (not the sum of both peak outputs, since both engine and motor can't operate at max power simultaneously).

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
180 horsepower @ 5,000-6,250 rpm
200 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/36 mpg (manual), 24/36 mpg (automatic), 23/35 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34 mpg (manual), 23/33 mpg (automatic), 22/33 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
180 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 1750-2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 32/45 mpg, 31/43 mpg (AWD)

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
300 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,200-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg (manual), 23/33 mpg (automatic), 23/28 mpg (AWD)

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (hybrid)
335 horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
330 lb-ft of torque @ 1,200-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 mpg

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2014 BMW 3 Series Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 91 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.9/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.7/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

BMW with the mpg of a geekbox

By on Saturday, July 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great mpg, free maintenance/service - good value"

Cons: "lack of interior storage space (under seat, etc)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"If you drive a lot, you'll love the comfort, handling and mpg...and with diesel you'll save enough to pay for it. I cannot believe I'm getting 40.2 mpg combined in a BMW. I'm getting 48 mpg on the freeway...75mph with the a/c on. Driving range is over 600 miles on hwy. I went from $70 for a tank of premium to $35 for a tank of diesel (yes,it's 60 cents/gallon less) in Los Angeles...and i'm now filling up once per week or less, compared to every 4-5 days. Fit and finish is German. Instruments laid out as expected. Drink holders actually work in this model. Could use storage under front seat, but lack of spare tire (run flats) gives enough extra space in the car...just not up front. iDrive system works well, and short cut buttons on the dash come in handy. Will store 3 driver's information (radio presets, seats, short cut buttons, climate preference...really slick.) If you cannot find something to listen to, you're not trying...cd,radio, satellite, bluetooth, usb. Backup camera works well with sensors."

Great 3 series

By on Friday, July 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great handling, reliable, very much fun to drive"

Cons: "Backup camera wasn't installed"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Mine is 2014 328i with Sport package and black 20" BMW wheels with RFT Pirelli tires. The handling is exceptional with the sport package. I only wish the RFTs weren't so stiff and in my case low profile (30 in back and 35 up front). Excluding that minor annoyance (easy fix) the car is a blast to drive in any conditions. It's way quicker than the 240HP rating suggests. It tracks true and doesn't require any corrections to maintain a true line of travel. Electronic steering is not as good as hydraulic but that's expected. It will be years before they get it just right. The car feels solid and there are no squeaks or rattles of any kind. I like the sport seats as well, they keep you in place just right (adjustable). If you've never driven a 3 series at least test drive one and you'll understand. Bonus: with black exterior, interior and wheels, it looks awesome too."

Beatiful. Clean. Classy. Versatile.

By on Thursday, July 7, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,100

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, efficient, sporty, classy, techy"

Cons: "Price."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have the 2015 328I X-drive in silver and it is fantastic in all aspects. I have an affinity for well engineered machines, which is why I have gravitated towards BMW. They blend aesthetics with practicality, luxury, power and efficiency, and the end result is a car that capture the essence of who I am. The exterior of the vehicle is beautiful, clean, and classy. It is a pleasure to look at. The interior is well designed with elements that incorporate luxury with technology to envelope you in smart, classy, ergonomic, sporty and state of the art features. I was hesitant to go with a 4 cylinder engine...until I drove it. Again, even in this aspect BMW absolutely exceeds expectations. Most people expect a 4 cylinder engine to be sluggish and to under perform. BMW, however, changes that. They have optimized the performance of their 4 cylinder engine and added a "twin power" turbo. Everyone looks at horsepower, which appears a little low on these 328's, but what really throws you back into the seat isn't the horse power, it's the torque. This twin power turbo creates 255 lb-ft of ab strengthening torque. When you select sport mode, and step on the gas, it feels like you are getting launched off of an air craft carrier, pushing you from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. To give you some perspective, a dodge viper is a dedicated, 2 seat sports car with an 8 liter, V-10 645 horse power engine. A 2015 Dodge Viper GTC does zero to 60 in 3.4 seconds. The 328 is no dodge viper, but it really gets up and moves. But, if you select Eco Pro, your 328 suddenly becomes so gas friendly oil companies start laying off workers. Most of the time you will probably be in comfort mode, which is a very satisfying combination of performance and fuel efficiency. If you have an affinity for design excellence, class, performance, efficiency, and luxury like I do, this is absolutely the car for you."

Great Milage and Fun to Drive

By on Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great looks, handles great"

Cons: "Could integrate better with iOS. Rear leg room"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

BMW European Delivery

"328d has great highway milage. IF I'm doing the highway speed limit 47-50mpg is easy. M Sport package makes the car look great, love the M front seats. I'm 6'5" and fit in the diver seat comfortably. Harmon-Lardon sound system sounds great. 8-speed transmission is smooth. For a diesel, the car has some decent get up and go, though there is a brief turbo delay when you hit the accelerator. Once it kicks in, acceleration is strong enough for me."

BMW European Delivery

Exceeds my expectations

By on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "BMW handling and ride, gas mileage, looks"

Cons: "Rearview camera is not standard, mediocre seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my family’s fifth BMW. I had a 2010 328i sedan and loved the performance. I have also driven the 2016 328i as a service loaner and was very impressed. When I first considered the 2016 320i it was with a lot of skepticism about the reduced horsepower compared to the 328. I am so glad I took it for a test drive. The acceleration is better than I expected, especially in Sport mode. I have an X3 with the 2.0 L Turbo and I would say the 320 in Sport mode is about as fast as the X3. Highway driving is great. I was cruising at over 80 mph and it seemed effortless. The handling and ride is excellent. It is everything you would expect in a BMW. The steering is precise, it can turn and stop on a dime. For those who are used to other luxury brands like Lexus or Mercedes, it may not be what you are used to. BMW owners will feel right at home. The car has fantastic leg room in the back seat (better than Audi A3 or A4 in my experience) and a huge trunk. It is a great combination of practicality with sportiness. Gas mileage is better than what I am getting on my X3. My only complaint is that the seats seem a little flat, but they are good enough. The sport package seats are better. I saved around $5,000 versus the 328 and it is money well-saved. The 328 is noticeably better in acceleration, but the 320 is a better value in my opinion. Both are excellent cars."

24 people out of 43 found this review helpful

I used love it before having too many issues

By on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, good looking car"

Cons: "Issues, CPO is not worth it to buy, Not good warr"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I bought a 2015 used CPO with 8000 miles on it. It was a huge mistake to buy a CPO because it was just a name. After getting the car I had to take it back for service the day after for fixing the "Horn", "Bumper Scratches(never fixed via seller dealer" and also a week after for steering wheel vibrating shakes which has never been fixed after taking it to 2 different dealerships for more than 6 times. I though okay I have to deal with these issues and there is no other way. after using the car for 7000 miles and a few rain in California both of the side mirrors have a lot of spots like hard water and I tried to clean them up but they don't go away. I took it to the dealership and they declined to replace the mirror even I told them about the visibility issues driving overnight and they ignored me and told me all the BMW cars have the same issue when they get old. I opened a lemon case with my layer to return the car back and every week I have to take it to the service to get things fixed and there is something everyday wrong with this car. I also took it to other dealer ships to trade it in and they gave me 10k to 15k less than loan amount I have open for the car. I used to love BMW and it was my dream to drive a BMW but now I wish I never bought a BMW and I tell everybody not to buy. I hope someone from the company reads my message and help me to understand why they sold me a CPO car and low millage with too many issues and they don't even want to fix it.I wish I could return or sell this car without loosing any money and get another brand. I will never buy a BMW again. I hope USA BMW helps to get out of this bad situation and bad experience."

18 people out of 28 found this review helpful

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