2012 BMW 3-Series Review
Test drivers say that a redesigned sedan helps the 2012 BMW 3-Series cement its place as one of the best-performing cars in its class.
There are so many 2012 BMW 3-Series models and trim levels that it’s enough to make your head spin. However, no matter the trim, critics say the 3-Series is hard to beat thanks to its powerful turbocharged engines and sharp handling. Car and Driver, who named the 3-Series one of its 2012 10Best, writes, “The competition should have figured out a way to beat the BMW 3-series by now. It’s not for lack of trying: Every so often, another carmaker will pitch a worthy competitor into the mix, but none has been able to knock the 3-series from its pedestal or even maintain its consistent brilliance.”
Since only the BMW 3-Series sedan was redesigned for 2012, those who have tested it focus their comments on this model. They’re impressed with the new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. They also like that BMW made the sedan slightly longer and wider, which gives back-seat passengers more legroom. They’re glad BMW didn’t change the interior too much and like the luxurious materials and impeccable build quality.
Auto writers like almost everything about the 2012 BMW 3-Series sedan. The 3-Series coupe and convertible are expected to be redesigned for 2013, so if you don’t have to buy now, you may want to wait for those to hit the market. Since they’re mostly unchanged for 2012, reviewers say that shoppers can expect the same potent six-cylinder engines and exceptional handling, but a cramped back seat and trunk may make shoppers consider the sedan instead.
Other Cars to Consider
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a good alternative to the BMW 3-Series. With a new coupe model for 2012, the C-Class lineup offers an ideal balance of style, luxury and fun. Reviewers say that if the 3-Series is too performance-oriented for you, the C-Class is a great choice because it’s comfortable yet not at all boring to drive.
Shoppers who prefer a comfortable cruiser should test drive the Hyundai Genesis. This upscale midsize car features powerful engines and a spacious interior. Auto critics also like that the Genesis is a good value in its class because it has lots of standard features and costs less than many rivals, including the BMW 3-Series.
BMW 3-Series: The Details
The 2012 BMW 3-Series comes in four body styles: sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon. Each body style is offered in several different trim levels, except the wagon, which only has one trim. The coupe and convertible are mostly unchanged, while the sedan is redesigned for 2012. The wagon is reviewed separately. See the full list of 2012 BMW 3-Series specs.
- "Don't mess with a good thing. You can imagine these words hanging above the engineers and designers who created the redesigned 2012 BMW 3 Series. It wouldn't be far-fetched to call the 3 Series a legend, as it has collected countless accolades, a devoted customer base and excellent sales during its five previous generations. It has consistently been the benchmark for which all others in its price segment are judged. In other words, it's a big deal when a new 3 Series is introduced." -- Edmunds (sedan)
- "Clearly, the new 3-series is the compact sports sedan for a changed world. This is where 24/7 connectivity and socially responsible consumption join hands with skidpad grip and slalom-course agility. 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. If BMW doesn't appeal to them, Audi, Cadillac, Lexus, and Mercedes surely will." -- Car and Driver (sedan)
- "The archetypical sports sedan, BMW's 3-series has long set the benchmark for every automaker looking to play in the segment. Its superb agility and engaging character have defined the very act of driving for generations of enthusiasts, so when a new one comes along, we do more than just sit up and take notice. We gorge ourselves and then beg for more." -- AutoWeek (sedan)