in Upscale Small Cars

MSRP: $32,950 - $62,000
Invoice: $30,815 - $57,540
MPG: 21 City / 32 Hwy
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BMW 3-Series Review

The 2015 BMW 3-Series ranks 6 out of 13 Upscale Small 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 2015 BMW 3-Series delivers a near-perfect mix of extraordinary handling, powerful acceleration and luxurious comfort, according to auto writers.

Reviewers agree that each of the 2015 BMW 3-Series’ six engine options is excellent in its own right, from the base 320i’s peppy turbocharged four-cylinder to the 335i’s potent turbocharged six-cylinder. Critics also like the 3-Series’ quick-shifting standard eight-speed automatic transmission, though a six-speed manual is also available. The base 3-Series sedan gets good fuel economy for its class, with an EPA-estimated 24/36 mpg city/highway. Meanwhile, the turbodiesel BMW 328d sedan gets the best fuel economy estimates in the lineup with 32/45 mpg. The 3-Series’ smooth ride and superb handling impress critics, as does its powerful braking. Most also say the 2015 3-Series has precise steering, though some miss the responsive nature of the steering in older 3-Series models.

Most critics think the 2015 BMW 3-Series has an attractive cabin with solid construction and upscale materials. The 3-Series’ supportive front seats draw praise, as do its spacious rear seats, which offer excellent legroom for the class. Auto writers are also impressed with the 3-Series’ roomy cargo area, especially in the 3-Series Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo hatchback body styles. Standard features in the base 2015 BMW 3-Series include Bluetooth, a USB port and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system. Available features include leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front and rear seats, adaptive cruise control, navigation, satellite radio, a moonroof, a rearview camera, side- and top-view cameras, parking sensors, a Harman Kardon audio system, blind spot monitoring, a head-up display and lane departure warning. Most critics are pleased that the iDrive system operates quickly and features sharp graphics, though a few note that rival systems require fewer clicks to change simple settings.

  • "The 2015 BMW 3 Series is a well-rounded and highly desirable entry-level luxury car. Whether you're drawn to its sporty driving character or its high-end cabin, it's one of our favorites in this class." -- Edmunds
  • "First introduced for the 2012 model year, the current 3-Series continues to offer one of the best balances of handling and luxury in the automotive world." -- Left Lane News
  • "If you want a practical luxury sport sedan that delivers on driving involvement regardless of the model you pick, then the 2015 BMW 3 Series should be at the top of your list." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With its exceptional acceleration, handling, braking, gas mileage and interior accommodations, the 2013 BMW 328i is the best luxury sport sedan you can buy. Period." -- Cars.com (2013)

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Other Cars to Consider

Automotive journalists agree that the Audi A4 has one of the nicest interiors in the class, with an artful design and high-end materials. The A4 also gets excellent fuel economy for an upscale midsize car, and reviewers like its lively acceleration.

Most critics are impressed with the Infiniti Q50’s powerful standard V6 engine and sleek interior styling. The also appreciate its supportive front seats and refreshingly easy-to-use infotainment system.

Compare the 3-Series, A4 and Q50 »

Details: 2015 BMW 3-Series

The 2015 BMW 3-Series comes in sedan, hatchback (Gran Turismo) and Sports Wagon body styles. Available trims include the 320i, 328i, 328d, 335i, ActiveHybrid 3 and M3. The base 320i sedan comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive and a choice between an eight-speed automatic transmission and a six-speed manual. All-wheel drive (xDrive) is available. The BMW 3-Series’ last full redesign was in 2012, and since it sees no major changes for 2015, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2012 to 2015 model years.

See 2015 BMW 3-Series specs »

Review Last Updated: 12/9/14

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