This sleek, luxury, mid-sized sedan, redesigned for 2012, was a favorite among test drivers and reviewers thanks to the mighty engine and the crisp and precise handling.
The BMW 3-Series comes in a sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon body styles, and a wealth of trim levels. Only the sedan was redesigned for 2012. Still, for folks who like and can afford luxury as well as a good handling and performance, BMW’s 3-Series can’t be beat. Some even say that the 3-Series, pricey as it is, is a bargain given its sterling qualities.
|Vehicle Type: Sedan||Base Price: $34,900.00|
|Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.8 gallons (59L)||MPG: 23 city / 34 hwy|
|Length: 182.5 in. (463.5 cm)||Wheel Base: 110.6 in. (280.9 cm)|
|Height: 56.3 in. (143 cm)||Width: 71.3 in. (181.1 cm)|
|Curb Weight: 3461 lbs (1570 kg)||Ground Clearance: 5.5 in. (13.9 cm)|
|Luggage Capacity: 17.0 cu ft||Maximum Seating: 5 people|
|Engine: 2.0L Twin Turbo DOHC||Compression Ratio: 10.0: 1|
|Horsepower: 240 HP||Max RPM: 5000-6000 RPM|
|Torque: 255 lb-ft @ 1250-4800 rpm||Transmission: 6-Speed Manual|
|0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds||Maximum Speed: 130 mph (209 km/h)|
|Option:Coupe||MSRP: $38,700; MPG: 18 city / 28 hwy|
|Option:Convertible||MSRP: $47,600; MPG: 17 city / 26 hwy|
|Option:Wagon||MSRP: $37,500; MPG: 17 city / 26 hwy|
|Option:Active Hybrid||MSRP: $49,300; MPG: NA|
The 328i sedan has a new 240 horsepower, turbocharged, 3.0 liter, 4-cylinder engine. The six speed manual transmission is standard and the eight speed automatic transmission is optional.
The coupe and convertible comes with a 230 horsepower, six cylinder engine, and comes with a six speed transmission with an option for either automatic or manual. All of the 3-Series vehicles have rear wheel drive, but also come in all-wheel drive. The fuel economy is different depending on the style, and the sedan gets 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.
Many believe the BMW 3-Series’ performance is the best thing about the car. The car is exquisitely responsive and gives the driver a sheer rush of adrenaline. The braking is powerful, but some weren’t wholly in love with the steering because, ironically, it was too easy.
They wanted to feel the car more as they steered it, especially around corners. Still, the car was fun and exciting to drive.
The exterior was the only thing the test drivers weren’t crazy about, though they didn’t utterly hate it. Some thought the silhouette of the sedan seemed truncated.
The sedan received a makeover for the interior as well as the engine. It’s both wider and longer than it was, and so gives more room to the passengers in the back seat and allows the trunk to be bigger.
The sedan now has 17 cubic feet of trunk space, and the coupe has 11 cubic feet. The materials are as sumptuous as they’ve always been. However, some reviewers thought the interior was too fussy with too many displays, warning systems and other unnecessary gadgetry.
Some didn’t like the vinyl seats. They believed a car that’s as luxurious and expensive as the BMW should have all leather seats as standard. Drivers did appreciate the iDrive system, which allows the driver to control all of the car’s electronics.
The BMW 3-Series sedan was judged to be safe by the federal government, which gave it a five star rating, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety designated the car a Top Safety Pick. The 3-Series comes with, among other safety features, anti-lock brakes, six airbags, and cornering brake control.
J.D. Power gave the sedan a 2.5 out of five rating. The BMW 3-Series comes with a four year or 50,000 mile warranty, with the customer enjoying free maintenance during the warranty’s life. They’ll also get roadside assistance for four years. There’s no mileage limit when it comes to the roadside assistance.
- The powerful, aggressive engine
- More space in the sedan
- Beautiful handling
- The trunk in the coupe and the convertible are too small
- The exterior isn’t as sexy as one would expect from a Beamer
- The steering is too easy for some people
- The interior is too busy for some people
According to the others, all the styles smash their competition, though the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (MSRP $34,800; 21 city / 31 hwy) comes close. The Hyundai Genesis (MSRP $34,200; 19 city / 29 hwy) is also a good ride that costs much less.
77 out of 100
What others say:
“The 2012 BMW 3-Series is still very much a compact sedan—and a sport sedan at that, which means that interior space could potentially take second stage to hitting the perfect proportions and weight distribution for performance.”Car Connection
“The new 3-Series remains the class benchmark for overall control and steering feel. Even with the base suspension, all models display excellent balance, sharp moves, and little body lean in turns; they're even sharper with the sport suspension.”Consumer Guide
“By almost any important measure the redesigned BMW 3 Series sedan is an excellent car.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports
“You'll like the BMW 3 Series if you want a luxury sedan with a performance edge. With up to 34 mile-per-gallon fuel economy on the highway the 2012 3 Series might also appeal to buyers with a vocal frugal side.”KBB
“Excellent ride/handling balance; powerful and reasonably efficient engines; upscale cabin; four body styles; elegant hardtop convertible design. Limited interior storage space; options can inflate price quickly; new sedan is less involving to drive than carry-over models.”Edmunds