BMW 3-Series Review
The 2013 BMW 3-Series ranks 2 out of 20 Upscale Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 13 published reviews and test drives of the BMW 3-Series, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
Though it’s more expensive than many competitors in the class, test drivers agree that the 2013 BMW 3-Series offers powerful, fuel-efficient engine choices, capable handling and a spacious back seat.
The 2013 BMW 328i sedan is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which most test drivers agree offers a winning combination of power and fuel economy. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while an eight-speed automatic is available as a no-cost option. Reviewers say that the automatic transmission shifts quickly and smoothly. The EPA reports that the 328i sedan gets 23/33 mpg city/highway with the automatic transmission, which is quite good for an upscale midsize car. If you want more power, 335i sedans come with a turbocharged six-cylinder engine that earns similar fuel economy. Coupe and convertible models, which are based on the previous generation, see slightly lower fuel economy estimates. Historically, the 3-Series has been regarded as one of the best-handling sedans in the class, and reviewers maintain that although the 3-Series grew larger with its 2012 redesign, it still offers thrilling handling and a composed ride.
High-quality materials impress reviewers who’ve test driven the 2013 3-Series. They say that the 3-Series cabin features logically placed controls and exceptional build quality, though a few auto writers say that BMW’s iDrive system could be easier to use. Some critics also note that leather seats ought to be standard at the 3-Series’ price point, but others point out positive attributes, such as the sedan’s spacious back seat. Standard features on the 328i sedan include rain-sensing windshield wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB port and iDrive, which features a 6.5-inch color display. Options and features available in packages include wood or aluminum trim, navigation, lane departure and forward collision warning systems, an upgraded Harman Kardon stereo, a moonroof, parking sensors and a backup camera.
- "Regardless of body style, the 2013 BMW 3 Series is an impressively well-rounded and highly desirable entry-level luxury car." -- Edmunds
- "If you can see beyond the vaunted BMW badge and would like an equally satisfying luxury-sports compact for similar or significantly less money, there are a lot of excellent alternatives beginning with the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Infiniti G37, Lexus IS and the new Cadillac's ATS." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "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)
- "Clearly, the new 3-series is the compact sports sedan for a changed world. ... Without totally abandoning its driving-enthusiast constituents, the new 3-series tenders a rich menu of gimmicks and gadgets that probably will appeal to those who always want more." -- Car and Driver (2012 sedan)
Other Cars to Consider
The Infiniti G37 is available as a sedan, coupe or convertible, just like the 3-Series, and reviewers love the G37’s powerful V6 engine, nimble handling and high-quality interior. The G37 also comes with a few more standard features, such as leather and heated front seats.
If you’re drawn to the BMW 328i’s great fuel economy and composed handling, consider the Audi A4. Reviewers agree that the A4 has one of the nicest interiors in the class, though it comes with fewer standard features than the 3-Series.
Details: 2013 BMW 3-Series
The 2013 BMW 3-Series comes in four body styles: sedan, coupe, convertible and the redesigned 3-Series wagon, which is reviewed separately. A number of engines are available: 328i sedans feature a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while all 335i models have a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine. All models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on sedan and coupe models. The high-performance BMW M3 is available as a coupe or convertible, and features a 4.0-liter V8 engine and a six-speed manual transmission. The BMW 3-Series sees few changes for 2013. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2012 and 2013.
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