2012 BMW 3-Series Wagon Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Reviewers say the 2012 BMW 3-Series Wagon has handling that sets the benchmark for the class. The engine is smooth and responsive.
- "Possibly the best small and sporty utility vehicle, the 3-series wagon combines straightforward controls, a comfortable but firm ride, and excellent dynamics."--Car and Driver
- “Unmatched ride/handling balance, smooth and powerful engines” -- Edmunds
Acceleration and Power
Both the BMW 328i and 328i xDrive feature a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that test drivers say is smooth and adequate. It generates 230-horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. Though a six-speed manual transmission is standard, an automatic is optional.
According to the EPA, the 3-Series Wagon with rear-wheel drive and the automatic transmission gets 18/27 mpg, city/highway. With the manual, it gets 17/26 mpg. All-wheel drive models get 17/25 mpg with either transmission.
- "The 328i's naturally aspirated inline-6 is otherworldly in its smoothness from idle to redline, and it has enough power to suit most tastes.” -- Edmunds
- "With manual transmission, the rear-drive 328i has smooth power for around-town driving and highway passing. ... The 6-speed automatic changes gears smoothly, but downshifts can lag behind throttle inputs. ... With any engine, the manual transmission has silky-smooth shift action." -- Consumer Guide
Handling and Braking
Test drivers, on balance, agree that the BMW 3-Series Wagon is one of the best handling wagons you can buy. They especially like the 328i xDrive model, which features a standard all-wheel drive system that enhances stability in adverse driving conditions.
- "The 3-Series is the class benchmark for overall control and steering feel. Even with the base suspension, all models display excellent balance, sharp moves, and little body lean in turns; they're even sharper with the sport suspension. ... Braking is powerful and stable. We recommend AWD in snowy climates." -- Consumer Guide
- "There's a precise feel to the steering and the well-sorted suspension provides exceptional confidence through even the most challenging corners. While some may find the ride a tad too taut -- particularly when fitted with the optional Sport Package -- we think the handling advantages more than offset any minor comfort tradeoff. BMW's excellent xDrive all-wheel-drive system also makes dealing with inclement weather considerably less stressful." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "I think Mike liked the fact that the wagon handles like a sport sedan. In fact, the wagon has just about all the same equipment, which means that the steering is pinpoint-precise, the suspension is supple and the brakes are simply outstanding. Of course, you get all the standard BMW goodies, like dynamic stability and traction control, to further enhance the all-weather capability of the four-wheel-drive system." -- Detroit News