BMW 3 Series Review 2023
BMW 3 Series At A Glance
The BMW 3 Series isn't quite the fashion statement it once was. Traditional 3 Series buyers (most of them company car drivers) are now looking at electric alternatives like the Polestar 2 or Tesla Model 3, while those with families tend to favour SUVs like the Volkswagen Tiguan.
We still like the BMW 3 Series, though. In fact, we reckon the recently updated model is one of the best all-rounders you can buy.
For a start, there's an engine to suit almost every buyer. You could, until recently, get the 3 Series with a slightly underwhelming 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engine in the form of 318i and 318d models. These were fine, but lacked the punch most BMW buyers are after. The now-entry-level BMW 320i and 320d models are much better suited to the 3 Series - combining impressive performance with impressive refinement and relatively low running costs.
While there isn't an electric 3 Series on sale (take a look at the BMW i4 if that's what you're after), you can buy one with plug-in hybrid power. The BMW 330e combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor, providing an electric range of up to 38 miles. That doesn't sound like a huge amount but it's pretty good as far as PHEVs go... you should be able to cover a short commute or school run without the petrol engine kicking in at all.
In the market for a BMW 3 Series that feels a bit more special? The six-cylinder BMW M340i and M340d tick that box very nicely indeed - both are capable of accelerating to 62mph in less than 5.0 seconds (and sound pretty good at the same time... yes, even the diesel).
Whichever engine you go for, the BMW 3 Series is one of the best handling saloon cars on the market. The steering is direct and communicative, while the rear-drive layout means it feels ultra agile - even at town speeds. You can buy the BMW 3 Series with xDrive all-wheel drive (it's standard on the sportier models), while all now come with an excellent smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Not that the BMW 3 Series is a one-trick pony. As well as being excellent to drive, it also has a classy and comfortable interior and generous levels of equipment (even on the most affordable models). If you're keen to get the latest infotainment, you'll need to look for a post-facelift model from late 2022 onwards.
Although cosmetic changes are minimal, the updated BMW 3 Series now has the same curved dual-screen infotainment display as the BMW iX and i4. As well as looking the part, it remains as user-friendly as ever - with actual physical buttons for adjusting the climate control, as well as BMW's brilliant rotary iDrive controller on the centre console.
Of course, being a traditional three-box saloon, the BMW 3 Series isn't as practical as alternatives from other segments. Its 480-litre boot is no smaller than rivals but, if you've got children, you might want to look at the BMW 3 Series Touring instead. Or, even better, look at the Skoda Superb - a bigger, more practical and more affordable alternative to the BMW 3 Series.