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#2

in Upscale Midsize Cars

MSRP: $32,750 - $46,850
Invoice: $30,130 - $43,100
MPG: 24 City / 36 Hwy
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BMW 3-Series Review

The 2014 BMW 3-Series ranks 2 out of 22 Upscale Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the BMW 3-Series, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2014 BMW 3-Series is considered one of the top performers in the class thanks to its powerful engines and lively handling. Reviewers are also impressed with its high-quality, roomy cabin.

The 2014 BMW 320i sedan has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. A more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine is found in BMW 328i models, and a turbocharged six-cylinder engine comes with the 335i. Auto writers say that the 328i sedan has plenty of power, while the 335i is even more impressive, especially when passing other cars on the highway. Critics like the eight-speed automatic’s fast, smooth shifts. The 320i gets up to 24/36 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class. If you want even better fuel economy, check out the new-for-2014 diesel models, like the 328d sedan, which gets 32/45 mpg city/highway. Critics agree the 3-Series has a smooth ride and dynamic, agile handling, though some wish the steering provided more feedback. Overall, though, they agree the 3-Series delivers one of the most fun driving experiences in the class.

Most test drivers think the 2014 BMW 3-Series’ cabin is fitted with high-end materials and has excellent build quality. However, some are disappointed with a few cheaper materials, like leatherette seats and fake metal accents, which they think are out of place at this price point. They do agree that the 3-Series has a large trunk and a spacious back seat, which is great for passenger comfort. Reviewers say the iDrive system is simpler to use than previous versions, which they say took some time to get the hang of. They also are impressed with the bigger optional infotainment display screen in the center stack, saying they like its high-definition graphics. Some test drivers note that some switchgear, like the turn-signal stalk and gear shift, could be easier to use. The base 2014 BMW 320i sedan comes standard with features like Bluetooth, a USB port, HD Radio, dual-zone automatic climate control and BMW’s iDrive system, which includes a 6.5-inch display. Most options for the 2014 3-Series lineup are bundled into packages, and include features like a rearview camera, side- and top-view cameras, parking sensors, active cruise control, navigation, satellite radio, a Harman Kardon audio system, blind spot detection, a head-up display and lane departure warning.

  • "The 3 Series comes with some of the most powerful and fuel-efficient four- and six-cylinder engines in this class and arguably the nicest interior furnishings. It also has a reputation for providing sporty handling and a fun overall driving experience." -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 3-series GT looks agreeable, drives well, and offers plenty of space. You might not love it at first sight, but when you find yourself in need of room for a family, a hobby, or a hobby horse, you might just be glad it exists. And if you still don't like it, BMW will be happy to sell you a proper 3-series wagon." -- Car and Driver (Gran Turismo)
  • "Though the 2012 3 Series has been softened a bit, it remains a leader in drivability and, now, in mileage, with no accompanying compromise. Combine this with its strong reputation and a brand cachet that companies like Audi, Cadillac and Infiniti haven't achieved, and it seems untouchable." -- Cars.com (2012 sedan)

Other Cars to Consider

While the Mercedes-Benz C250 isn’t as athletic around turns as the BMW 320i, reviewers are pleased with its balanced handling and comfortable ride. Additionally, the C250 is a bit more powerful than the 320i. 

If you’re searching for more power than what the base 3-Series or C-Class offer, the new-for-2014 Infiniti Q50 comes standard with a 328-horsepower V6 engine.

Compare the 3-Series, C-Class and Q50 »

Details: 2014 BMW 3-Series

The 2014 BMW 3-Series is available in three body styles: sedan, Gran Turismo hatchback and Sports Wagon. The 3-Series coupe and convertible have been discontinued for 2014 and have been replaced by the BMW 4-Series, which is reviewed separately. A total of 12 trims are available across the 3-Series lineup, ranging from the base 320i sedan, to the 335i xDrive Gran Turismo. Base 3-Series sedans are rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. All-wheel drive is standard on Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo models. A turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission comes with the base 320i sedan, while a more powerful turbocharged, 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine comes with 335i models. A turbodiesel, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is new for 2014 and available on sedan and Sports Wagon models. The BMW 3-Series sedan was last redesigned for the 2012 model year. Since the sedan is largely unchanged for 2014, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2012 to 2014 model years.

See full 2014 BMW 3-Series specs »

Review Last Updated: 9/16/14

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