The BMW 3 Series has been around since 1975 and since then it has been an extremely popular machine. Available as a Saloon, an Estate and in Gran Turismo form, the 3 Series line-up accounts for a massive amount of BMW’s overall annual sales.
The 3 Series family runs on a selection of 3, 4 and 6-cylinder engines. The TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder petrol engines throw up some very attractive statistics that should keep most drivers happy. These 3.0 litre engines offer a maximum output of 326hp at between 5,500 and 6,500rpm. The claimed 0-100km in the 340i is that it will achieve this speed in just 5.2 seconds. The 2.0 litre TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engines can produce an output of 252hp and BMW reckons it’ll give you 0-100km/h in just 5.9 seconds in the 330i. The 3-cylinder petrol engine returns 136hp from its 1.5 litre engine.
The 6-cylinder 3.0 litre diesel engine offers 313hp in the 335d xDrive saloon and can generate an impressive 630Nm of torque. In the extremely popular 320d the 2.0 litre TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine offers a very plausible 190hp.
M Sport suspension is optional with this vehicle and when you opt for it there is a noticeable improvement in body control. In saying that, the standard suspension isn’t terrible, it just has room for improvement. The M3 offers an amazing drive and the technology in the vehicle truly kicks-in to ensure maximum body control. The xDrive model also handles very well with better traction than standard models.
Both the petrol and diesel models can get a bit loud, especially the 4-cylinder options. The 3 Series is well insulated and journeying in this vehicle is very refined. Of course, you should expect extra noise from the M3!
The iDrive infotainment system is easy to use and is very intuitive. The plastics are of high quality and the front cabin is a comfortable place to be. As standard you will find alloy wheels as well as a selection of upholstery cloth. A choice of interior finishes is also available. Of course, as you go through the available options in the “Sport” and “Luxury” trims you will find that the selection available goes up market, but entry level equipment is impressive when compared to some of BMW’s competitors.
There is a myriad of safety systems available when you go down the 3 series route. Systems include the “Driving Assistant” package. This is a mix of lane departure warning technology along with approach control and pedestrian warning systems.
Also available is adaptive cruise control, or as BMW calls it, “Active cruise control”. This is different in that it’s very handy in traffic jams. When there’s lots of traffic the driver can set the system to take over and it maintains a safe distance between you and the driver in front.
The 3 Series is a practical saloon. The space is not what one would call vast, but to be fair there’s enough room for the larger of us to the front and rear. The opening of the boot is slightly narrow and it can be difficult to get bulky items like buggies or larger suitcases in.