BMW 3 Series Review

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There can be no denying that the BMW 3 Series is the German manufacturer’s best-selling model – accounting for over 30% of their sales volume. But what’s the appeal?

When you think of BMW, no doubt the 3 Series is the first image to pop into your head. So much is its notoriety and reputation among car drivers alike.

“Sporty and fun-to-drive thanks to its rear-wheel drive system, yet with luxuriously ample space for a family to be comfortable.”

Cameron Hale, Moneyshake Car Reviewer


A quick look around the inside of the 3 Series will tell you all you need to know. Its materials are high quality throughout. Compared to previous models, there’s also a lot less clutter – in terms of buttons and switches in the cockpit. This is good news for the driver, who could easily be overwhelmed by the volume of options available in the car even before setting off.

Inside BMW’s latest model, you settle down into a standard manually adjusted leather seat. They’re both versatile and comfy. Sport seats are an optional extra made from Dakota leather, and feature side pockets containing air that inflate and deflate through a ‘rocket switch’ on the right-hand side. They maximise your driving comfort. Especially going around corners, as they hug your body to prevent you from moving too much.

That’s not all. The leather steering wheel is extremely comfortable and easy to control. However, the M Sport leather steering wheel with thumb grips and adaptive cruise control is another available upgrade, albeit at a hefty price.

Infotainment and tech

As standard on all 3 Series models is a crisp 8.8″ display which is subtly integrated into the car’s dash. It adds to the premium feel of the car’s front and is particularly handy for showing the reverse camera to help you park perfectly.

BMW’s latest version of iDrive, rebranded as “Live Cockpit Professional”, is standard. The controls are intuitive and allow you to choose between the iDrive scroll wheel, touchscreen, direct selection buttons, and voice control. There’s nothing exciting about the different menu options, but USB connectors and Bluetooth capabilities mean you can substitute this for your smartphone’s display. So long as it’s an iPhone. Sorry, you Androids!   

Another extra available to you is the intelligent safety suite buttons to the right of the steering wheel. They give you a multitude of options such as front-end collision warnings and even lane-changing warnings. The steering wheel vibrates should you go to change lane if it isn’t safe, and it even directs you back into the lane if you go over the markings. Added to this safety feature is the blind-spot sensor on the driver-side window, which lights up to alert you if a car is in your blind-spot.

On the topic of tech, BMW has not been stingy on available extras in this department for the 3 Series either. The car can be upgraded to have a camera and sensors surrounding it which span 270 degrees, making it easier to park in tight spaces. Handy for city driving.


BMW has given a surprising amount of space to its latest model, with plenty of room in the rear of the car for three average-sized adults. There’s even enough room for two tall passengers. The benefit of having two passengers is the large sensor arm rest in the middle, with two cup holders.

Let’s move onto the 3 Series’ boot.

Other than being slightly smaller than its Audi A4 rival (505 litres), it undoubtedly has copious amounts of room for multiple hold luggage cases, and even a cabin suitcase with 495 litres of space. The rear seats can be folded down to increase this space. However, you’ll have to do that from the back, as there’s no release clasp from the back seats of the car.

On the road

The 3 Series comes in a range of petrol-fuelled, hybrid and diesel models. You’ll also get a choice of a smooth eight-speed automatic shifter or a sportier six-speed manual, for when you really want to drive it.

Driving the BMW 3 Series is where everything comes together. The lining up of the pedals, seat and steering wheel make the car very comfortable to do both long and short distance in. There are four-wheel drive versions of the 3 Series, much like the Audi A4, which can be useful if you live somewhere that’s prone to adverse weather conditions.

If this isn’t for you, the standard edition handles extremely well, particularly with the responsive and light steering wheel giving you that extra road confidence. A drawback of the 3 Series is the noticeable wind and road noise you get while driving, particularly when you’re demonstrating that power and going at higher speeds.

For more off-the-mark ‘oomph’, Audi has the upper-hand with its A4 exec saloon rival model. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s a lighter car, and that its seven-speed auto gearbox responds quicker when you want to drop a gear. The 3 Series’ eight-speed automatic setup is the more comfortable of the two at city speeds though.

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