Used BMW 3 Series Compact 2001 - 2004 review

Category: Family car

Section: What is it like?

2001 - 2004 review
BMW 3 Series Compact (98 - 07)
  • BMW 3 Series Compact (98 - 07)
  • BMW 3 Series Compact (98 - 07)
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What's the used BMW 3 Series hatchback like?

Ever since the launch of the 1 Series, the BMW 3 Series Compact has tendes to be overlooked, and this three-door hatchback isn't helped by odd looks. On top of that, it doesn't have as big a boot as an Audi A3, nor are its rear seats as roomy. And entry-level models are modestly equipped.

There is still much to like about the Compact, though. Fit and finish are up to BMW's usual high standards and there's the same, driver-oriented, high-tech feel that characterises the marque.

You certainly won't find much to moan about behind the wheel. Admittedly the entry-level 1.8-litre model is far from rapid, but the rest of the range exhibits refinement and smoothness that few rivals can match. While the ride is hardly super-soft, the handling is first-rate, making the 3 Series Compact easily the best-driving hatch of its era.