The most recent BMW 3 Series is much better built than ever and great to drive – it is among the best compact executive cars ever
BMW has forged a reputation for making fun-to-drive cars, as well as the 3 Series is no exception. The exceptional hold and direct steering mean it’s simple to keep charge of the car at all times, and its own rear-wheel drive layout gives it a terrific feeling of agility and security on the road. All models get ESP to keep you on the straight and narrow if anything should occur in bad conditions. A system called Drive Performance Control offers four distinct styles to choose from: EcoPro, Comfort, Sport and Sport . It is not overly difficult to tell what each one does — EcoPro is set up for market, while Comfort and Sport just do what they say, adjusting the engine and gearbox settings (on automobile models). Sport ups the ante and restricts the number of electronic assistance — enabling quite little skid in the back wheels. Variable ratio Sport steering system and Adaptive Drive damping for the suspension will also be available as optional extras, and are hooked up to the Drive Functionality Control system when fitted. If your budget allows, the adaptive suspension transforms the way the 3 Series drives, allowing it to be sportier when you say so, but more comfortable on longer motorway drives. A wide range of three, four and six-cylinder engines can be found, with the 181bhp 320d 2.0-litre diesel offering a excellent blend of performance versus running prices.
The functionality master in the typical car is the 321bhp 340i’s 3.0-litre turbo petrol; it reaches 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds, and will reach 155mph flat out. The Audi A4 offered four-wheel drive first, but the 3 Series xDrive (only on the 320d, 320i, 330d and 335d) means additional handle is now accessible a BMW, bringing along with it additional peace of mind. All versions get a six-speed manual gearbox and a smooth and very processed eight-speed automatic is also available as an option. Head down a twisty back road as well as the 3 Series feels safe and well balanced. The steering system is positive, exact and nicely weighted, there is a lot of grip and you also can subtly correct your line using the throttle. There’s an ever-so-small flat spot in the steering when driving dead ahead, but BMW’s claims this has been introduced deliberately to prevent jerky manoeuvres at motorway speeds. The all-new C Class could have closed the gap when it comes to involvement and agility, but the 3 Series still has the border. Keen drivers should look in the Jaguar XE, however, as it’s brilliant to drive and took the Compact Executive automobile crown in the 2015 Auto Express new car awards.
Due to special fuel-saving technology and also the decreased weight of the present BMW 3 Series, all of the four-cylinder diesel engines now emit less than 120g/km of CO2. That makes it certainly affordable to tax, keeping running costs as low as possible. (Auto123.com)We’d select the 320d EfficientDynamics version, which emits just 99g/km of CO2 and returns an exceptional 74.3mpg for the automatic versions. Spec the sleeker-looking ED Sport model and that bound just above the 100g/kilometers threshold, but the improved residuals should keep prices down. The entire range is very good, in fact — even the turbocharged 2.0-litre 330i manages to keep CO2 emissions at a fair 151g/kilometer. Running costs were praised by owners in the Driver Power survey, plus it is clear why. There are still some decent prepaid servicing packages to help keep the car running smoothly at minimal cost. Link Prices are on a par with its competitions too, as the 3 Series range starts from around 24,000, but that is only for the three-cylinder 318i in the basic SE trim.
Given the success of the 3 Series, it’s not astonishing that BMW did not mess with a successful formula for the latest model. Facelifted in mid-2015, the traditional saloon form was given a sporty twist courtesy of a purposeful stance, new headlights, low bonnet line and smart double-kidney grille. All cars now get LED daytime running lights and all-LED rear light clusters as standard. Elsewhere, the M Sport styling package contains 18-inch alloys, a subtle bodykit, gloss-black trim for the window surrounds and discreet M badges on the front wings.
Indoors, there is a minimalist wraparound dashboard, with only a couple of buttons, clear digital read-outs as well as a big center console display that’s controlled using the iDrive scroll wheel and buttons next to the gearlever. It’s intuitive to utilize, as well as the graphics are spot on. Click here We have no complaints about the classy stuff, exceptional build quality and solid finish, either. The most popular M Sport seems amazing, but commands a strong premium — so unless you truly need it we had stick with the midrange Sport.
The present BMW 3 Series interior is roomy enough, meaning it now rivals the Audi A4 considerably more closely. There is lots of leg and headroom for all passengers thanks to a 50mm longer wheelbase compared to the old 3 Series. Elsewhere, cottage storage is reasonable, having a good armrest bin, roomy door pockets, a useful glovebox and several cup holders. With 480 litres available, the luggage compartment fits that of the Audi A4 and it’s a good shape for bags, too.
The lip is a little high, nevertheless, which does not help when loading heavy items — although the boot lid opens right back and the big, square opening means it is easy to load bulkier things. Helpful levers unlatch the 40:20:40 split seatbacks, also, improving practicality even further. The folding rear seats are a 650 optional extra, yet, but the folding rear seat can be purchased on its own for 390. It adds a little bit of an unexpected price to the price, though.
The newest 3 Series ended 51st in our Driver Power 2015 satisfaction survey, with predictably strong showings for performance and handling. Nonetheless, unhelpful staff and expensive repairs put BMW’s dealers 14th out of 32. As for safety, the BMW scored the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, but it’s second to the Lexus IS as it’s six airbags as opposed to eight in the Japanese auto. Adaptive brake lights are also standard on the 3 Series, along with automatic lights and wipers, and rear parking sensors. You may also purchase lane change assistance, blind spot warning and auto high beams as optional extras about the lower-spec models.