By Alexi Falson, 01 Jul, 2021
Review - BMW 3
AF By Alexi Falson July 01, 2021
The BMW 3 Series has, for a number of years now, been one of the cars that other mid-size sedans have aspired to match in terms of its overall competency and luxurious package.
BMW has no doubt led the charge for the premium sector, however, with competition from more affordable manufacturers increasing, and new competitors coming awfully close to challenging the European leaders, how well does the 3 Series assert itself as the leader of the pack?
Let’s find out why the BMW 3 Series is widely-credited as one of the most popular midsize luxury sedans, and see if it truly deserves that accolade.
Starting Price: $70,900
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How Much Does It Cost?
The BMW 3 Series range kicks off at $70,900 for the entry-level 320i model, which can be optioned with either a Luxury Line or M Sport package. Stepping up to the 330i brings the price to $77,900, with the wagon variant priced at $81,900. From here, the range moves to the 330e, which is priced at $84,900 for the Luxury and M Sport models. The 3 Series range tops out with the M340i xDrive Pure, which is priced at $101,900 and the M340i xDrive which is priced from $111,900. Finally, the flagship performance variant of the 3 Series, the M3 is priced from $144,900.
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What Features Does the BMW 3 Series Have?
As standard, the entry-level BMW 320i comes packed with a huge range of features. These include a set of 18-inch alloys, automatic LED headlights and daytime running lamps, a 12.3-inch digital display for the driver, 10.25-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio and navigation, head-up display, front and rear parking sensors with a rear-view camera, wireless smartphone charging, heated and folding mirrors, keyless entry and start, 10-speaker sound system, wood trim throughout the interior and the choice of either vernasca leather on the Luxury Line or Alcantara upholstery on the M Sport variant.
Stepping up to either the 330i or 330e adds a more powerful engine, as well as a set of larger 19-inch alloys, leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, semi-autonomous parking, 360-degree camera with front cross-traffic alerts and lane-keep assist, as well as a BMW digital key. M Sport variants add sportier suspension, as well as sportier styling tweaks for the exterior of the car.
The M340i xDrive Pure receives a more powerful engine paired with an electronic limited-slip differential, xDrive all-wheel drive system and alcantara upholstery, while the range-topping M340i xDrive comes packed with laser headlights, heated seats, a panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting, power-lifting boot and 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
- Automatic LED headlights & daytime running lamps
- 18-inch alloys
- 12.3-inch driver display, 10.25-inch infotainment system
- Wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- A choice of Vernasca leather (Luxury Line) or Alcantara upholstery (M Sport)
- Adaptive cruise control (330i and above)
- 360-degree camera (330i and above)
- xDrive all-wheel drive system (M340i xDrive)
- Electronic limited-slip differential (M340i xDrive)
Is it Comfortable to Drive?
For a number of years now, the BMW 3 Series has been the yardstick that sedans on the market have collectively tried to match when it comes to comfort and driving dynamics. With the latest 3 Series, BMW has well-and-truly maintained this reputation. Even in the entry-level 320i, the 3 Series feels well engineered, comfortable and exciting - depending on what mood you’re in. If comfort is a key priority for your next car, make sure you opt for the Luxury Line variant which is packaged with more comfortable suspension than the sportier M-Sport package.
BMW are experts when it comes to creating a sophisticated car, and the latest generation 3 Series goes to show that they’re still at the front of the pack when it comes to the recipe they’ve been perfecting for decades now. The range of engines are extremely smooth, and the eight-speed ZF transmission offers seamless shifts while maintaining power to the road. BMW has also designed the steering to be heavily-weighted, giving the driver all the feedback they need to know exactly what the wheels are doing, without being cumbersome at low speeds or while parking. Overall, it’s difficult to fault a car like the 3 Series when it comes to comfort and capability on the road, other than the fact that the sports suspension can be too firm at times on Australian roads.
Is it Practical and Spacious?
The interior of the BMW 3 Series is every bit as impressive as the car is to drive. The interior of the 3 Series lineup has been designed with subtle luxuries in mind, meaning there is an uncluttered approach to packaging and a relatively clean design inside. The driver looks at a 12.3-inch driver’s display while the front passenger can navigate the 10.25-inch infotainment system housed above a large central console with storage and wireless charging pad. The front of the cockpit is focussed and luxurious without forcing novelties upon you, and translates into a clean, design aesthetic up front. In the rear of the cabin, there is a huge amount of legroom for even the tallest of passengers, and headroom will not prove problematic on longer journeys.
The 3 Series feels like the perfect car for a long Sunday drive or holiday road trip thanks to its comfortable seats and high standard of occupant comfort. In the boot, there is 480L of cargo storage on offer, and 500L in the wagon variant, meaning the 3 Series can eat up a sizable portion of shopping bags and suitcases, with a practicality rating very much on par for vehicles of this size. Keep in mind that boot space for the plug-in hybrid 330e drops to 375L due to the battery pack.
Is it Safe?
The majority of the BMW 3 Series lineup has received a five-star safety rating from ANCAP, with the exception of the M340i Pure and M340i xDrive, which are yet to be tested. Safety features that come as standard on the entry-level 320i include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, eight airbags, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alerts and reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors.
Unfortunately, a number of key active safety features like front cross-traffic alerts, lane-keep assist, semi-autonomous parking, adaptive cruise control and the 360-degree camera are reserved for either more expensive variants or the $3,000 Driver’s Assistance package.
Is it Fuel Efficient?
The BMW 3 Series lineup comes with the choice of four engines, consisting of turbocharged four-cylinders, a hybrid and turbocharged six-cylinders, meaning economy figures change dramatically depending on which engine you’re opting for. The base model 320i’s engine has a claimed economy figure of 6.3L per 100km, while the step-up 330i is rated at 8.9L per 100km.
BMW’s hybrid 330e has a claimed economy figure of 6.4L per 100km, while the M340i xDrive return figures of 7.7L per 100km. Overall, then, the entry-level provides better economy than even the hybrid 330e, although it is significantly lacking in power compared to the hybrid.
Our Verdict: Is the BMW 3 Series Worth it?
If you’re in the market for a comfortable, capable and sophisticated sedan, the 3 Series should be well-and-truly atop your list of potential contenders. While it is no doubt more expensive than your average mid-size sedan, it also outperforms those competitors when it comes to driving dynamics and the quality of its interior. Thankfully, BMW is throwing in more equipment as standard on the entry-level 320i, meaning you don’t have to opt for a more expensive variant solely in the name of securing some essential features.
All up, the BMW 3 Series offers a fabulous range of cars, but you do have to take into account what type of car you’re looking for when it comes to choosing the Luxury Line or M Sport variants. Our pick is the mid-range plug-in hybrid 330e, which packs a huge amount of torque while maintaining an impressive economy figure. If you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much Georgie can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925
Five Specs You Need to Know
- Buyers choose either the Luxury Line or M Sport package on their 3 Series
- Economy figures range between 6.3L - 8.9L per 100km
- Rear-wheel drive standard; all-wheel drive available in xDrive variants
- Three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty as standard
- Prices range between $70,990 and $111,900
- Luxurious, tech-filled cabin
- Impressive and adaptable driving dynamics
- Feature-packed base model
- 330i and M340i variants are thirsty
- Firm ride with M Sport suspension on Australian roads
- Key active safety features reserved for $3,000 Driver Assistance package