Which used BMW 3 Series saloon should I buy?
Chances are you’ll be looking at a diesel BMW 3 Series, in which case the 320d is a sensible bet in terms of all round ability and performance. If you prefer petrol power, the 320i is the logical buy, being plenty quick enough and about as economical in normal driving as the smaller petrol engines. The 330e would be worth a look if you're after a plug-in hybrid, since there are plenty around, but you’ll need to make sure you can charge it up regularly to take advantage of the hybrid motor, otherwise it’ll be no more economical than a cheaper-to-buy 320i.
As for trim levels, all 3 Series are well equipped, with kit such as the iDrive infotainment system, alloy wheels, climate control and a multi-function leather steering wheel coming as standard, even on cheaper ES versions. SE trim includes dual-zone climate control and rear parking sensors.
Pre-facelift cars were also available in Modern, Sport and Luxury trims. The first two consist mainly of small aesthetic differences, whereas Luxury adds 18in alloy wheels and a full leather interior.
M Sport cars have 18in wheels, lowered, stiffened suspension, sports seats and more aggressive styling – a hugely popular combination with buyers.
Modern trim was later dropped, and Efficient Dynamics models with lower CO2 emissions were launched. These would go on to include Business Editions with extra equipment and, as of 2015, an Efficient Dynamics Sport version with sporty styling to go with the low running costs.
Our favourite BMW 3 Series: post-2015 320d SE