The BMW 3 Series is so synonymous with the compact executive saloon class that other manufacturers who enter it are often described as ‘trying to build a better 3 Series’. However, BMW no longer dominates like it once did - not because its standards have dropped, but because rivals have raised theirs.
That’s great news for you, because key rivals such as the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class are now genuine alternatives, while the addition of the Jaguar XE gives you even more choice.
It’s also worth remembering the Volkswagen Passat. It might not carry quite the same badge cachet, but offers similar quality, a huge interior 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.
The range of trims includes SE, ED Plus, ED Sport, Sport, Luxury, and M Sport, plus the 3 Series is available with several petrol and diesel engines that combine excellent performance with competitive emissions. Contrasting this is the standalone M3 model, which offers blistering pace and poised handling, but isn’t cheap to buy or run.
Read on over the next few pages for everything you need to know before buying a BMW 3 Series, including the engine, trim and options to choose.