The BMW 3 Series dominated the compact executive car class for many years, but these days the competition is much stronger. That’s great news for you, because key rivals such as the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class have improved immensely, while the addition of the Jaguar XE gives you even more choice. It’s also worth remembering the Volkswagen Passat. It may not carry quite the same badge cachet, but offers similar quality, a huge cabin and represents great value.
One of the 3 Series’ key attributes is the way it drives. The traditional rear-wheel-drive underpinnings still offer keen drivers a great driving experience, although these days you can also buy xDrive versions with four-wheel drive. You’ll also find the 3 Series offers quality and practicality at a price that’s generally on a par with its premium rivals’.
The range of trims goes from SE, ED Plus, ED Sport, Sport, Luxury, and M Sport, with various petrol and diesel engine options offering excellent performance with competitive emissions. This is especially true of the 320d ED Plus, which is great for company car buyers thanks to CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km. Contrasting this is the standalone M3 model that offers blistering pace and poised handling, but isn’t cheap to buy or run.