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 4 out of 14 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.

Reviewers find the 2015 BMW 3-Series' exceptional handling, potent acceleration and high-end comfort an ideal mix. 

The 2015 BMW 3-Series offers six engine options, ranging from the base 320i's sporty turbocharged four-cylinder to the 335i's powerful turbocharged six-cylinder, and test drivers find each exceptional. They praise the 3-Series' standard eight-speed automatic transmission for its quick gear changes, and a six-speed manual is also available. With an EPA-estimated 24/36 mpg city/highway, the base 3-Series gets good fuel economy for the class. 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.

The majority of automotive writers find the 2015 BMW 3-Series' interior well-constructed with high-end materials. They applaud its comfortable front seats, and note the rear seats are spacious and provide outstanding legroom for the class. Critics appreciate the 3-Series' generous cargo space, particularly in the 3-Series Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo hatchback trims. 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: 4/9/15

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