Few cars own so sterling a reputation or so indelible a connection with moderately priced elitism. BMW’s new 3-Series sedan, the sixth-generation F30, is a little longer, wider, taller, and more spacious than the outgoing E90 3-Series. But of greater importance, the new 328i and 335i sedans are lighter than they used to be.
The 3-Series’ new eight-speed automatic transmission, in tandem with the car’s lower weight, will improve fuel economy and acceleration. Lighter weight invariably aids engineers in the process of developing a great suspension setup. Indeed, early rave reviews have made clear that BMW nailed the new 3-Series’ steering, suspension, and shift quality. Also, the new BMW 3-Series sedan, though similar, looks better from every angle than the fussy outgoing 3-Series.
Despite the aforementioned reputation, one which has grown out of the 3-Series’ dynamic qualities, this iconic sports sedan has also garnered infamy based on the stereotypes linked to its owners. With more than 8700 buyers every month in North America – in a down year – it’s probably time we set aside the notion that the 3-Series is a car built exclusively for third year associates in Chicago’s finest law firms, even if few days go by when a 20-something tie-wearing dude doesn’t cut you off in a 328i.
There’s a new BMW 3-Series, it’s better than ever, and it begs to be driven, just like every 3-Series before it. Don’t let bad BMW drivers stop you from enjoying that fact.
Engines: 240 horsepower; 260 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0L twin-turbocharged four-cylinder or 300 horsepower; 300 lb-ft of torque from a 3.0L twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder or, in Canada, 181 horsepower; 184 lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbocharged 2.0L
Base USD/CAD Price: $34,900 / $35,900
City Fuel Economy: 20-23 miles per gallon (est. 28 mpg for 320i)
It’s Not Perfect: 3-Series’ ubiquity almost, but not quite, makes the BMW boring. The Audi A4, Infiniti G, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Cadillac CTS are fine options if the 3-Series sedan’s popularity makes you wish for something different. The 3-Series sedan’s true imperfections are visible on BMW’s price chart – it’s not exactly the cheapest car in the category.
Sales Stats: 3-Series sales slid in 2011 as potential customers realized waiting for the sixth-generation F30 sedan might be worth it. Nevertheless, the BMW 3-Series, by which we mean the whole model range – is North America’s best-selling premium-brand vehicle almost every month. Monthly and yearly sales figures for the 3-Series range can be viewed here.