What's the used BMW 3 Series coupe like?
The BMW 3 Series Coupe plays it safe. It takes the tried and tested formula of the excellent 3 Series saloon, and gives it a slightly sportier twist. The result is a car that's spacious and available with a wide range of engines – but that’s not that inspiring to look at.
It's stunning to drive, though, with sharp steering, strong grip and great balance while cornering. The ride is on the firm side, which can be irritating on poor surfaces, but most of the time it's just about acceptable.
Passengers should enjoy riding in the 3 Series Coupe, because it's refined and relatively free of road noise. There's enough leg room for four adults, but the sloping roofline does impinge on rear head room – those over six-foot will suffer.
The boot is unusually spacious for a coupe, and the split-folding rear seats allow for oversized loads.
What used BMW 3 Series coupe will I get for my budget?
It might have been replaced by the 4 Series, but the 3 Series Coupe is still a very desirable car, and one that looks quite modern, so prices even for the earliest examples hover around the £4000 mark.
A 320i built after the 2010 facelift could set you back as much as £8,000. Mind you, the 3 Series is the kind of car where it’s worth paying a little extra to ensure you get a good example, because there are many complex electronic systems.
You should also make sure that the service history is up to date and complete, and a good warranty from a major dealer or garage wouldn’t go amiss, either.
Late M Sport models still have asking prices above £15,000, while 3.0-litre diesels from 2013 make more than £20,000.
How much does it cost to run a BMW 3 Series coupe?
In terms of daily costs, the BMW 3 Series Coupe is not too bad. Diesel models have very low emissions and very good fuel economy (as good as 128g/km and 58mpg on the post-2010 320d manual). Even the 3.0-litre straight-six diesel can manage 49mpg and 152g/km.
The petrol 320i is hardly disgraced, either, with emissions of 154g/km and official fuel economy of 42mpg. And according to data from CAP Derwent, it is better than the class average when it comes to brake discs and brake pads, bulbs, electrical components and wiper blades, but worse than average for pollen filters.
Insurance costs are typical for this type of car, with the entry-level model starting at group 29, rising to group 40 for the most powerful petrol and diesel engines.
Which used BMW 3 Series coupe should I buy?
Normally we would suggest that the 320d model, with its combination of performance and efficiency, would be the pick of the range, but two things hold us back from doing so: the known reliability issues, and a nagging feeling that a petrol engine is a better fit with a coupe.
Of the four petrols available, the 2.0-litre 320i is the level-headed choice. With 167bhp it feels fast enough, yet running costs aren't extreme. Upgrade to the smooth six-cylinder 325i or 330i, and your wallet might feel the strain. The twin-turbo 335i is rapid, but expensive to fuel, tax and insure.
The M Sport body kit and trim is most certainly worth seeking out, not least as future buyers will find it more desirable, but there is a penalty in ride comfort compared to an SE version.
Basic interiors, in black and silver, look very plain so we’d suggest you look for a model with upgraded leather, infotainment and trim to improve the interior ambience.
What alternatives should I consider to a used BMW 3 Series coupe?
The A5 was launched in 2007 and has a similarly broad engine range to that of the 3 Series Coupe. However, rear space is tighter in the A5 and it’s not as enjoyable to drive.
The C-Class Coupe didn’t make its debut until 2011, so is still too expensive to be a rival to older, more affordable 3 Series Coupe models. It treads a similar path, though, with a mixture of frugal diesels and high-performance petrols, but like the A5, it’s not as much fun to drive.
A more left-field alternative is the Volkswagen Passat CC. This has four doors and lacks the badge cachet of the 3 Series Coupe, but its low, sweeping roofline ensures it still looks suitably stylish, and the interior has decent space for four.
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