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2017 BMW 3-series

Starting at $34,445

2017 bmw 3series
Chris Doane Automotive|Car and Driver

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  • Highs Choice of powerful gasoline engines, excellent manual and automatic transmission, spacious interior.
  • Lows Ride and handling don't match previous 3-series, blah interior design, uninspired diesel engine.
  • Verdict The 3-series is a strong choice in the sports-sedan class, but its performance doesn't quite live up to earlier models with the same nameplate.


If the dictionary were to define the term “sports sedan,” we are confident that the BMW 3-series would be the first entry, primarily because of the reputation it built on the backs of 3-series gone by. An objectively strong performer, the latest 3-series lacks the seductive man-machine connection of its forebears. With sedan, Sports Wagon, and Gran Turismo hatchback models, plus a powertrain lineup encompassing two gasoline inline-fours, a diesel, an inline-six, and a plug-in hybrid, the 3-series family is bigger than BMW’s entire lineup was when the 3-series was born in the 1970s.

What's New for 2017?

The 330i, the more powerful gasoline inline-four model, is graced with a new engine, which prompted the name change from 328i. The inline-six model also got a new engine in 2016 and traded its 335i badge for one reading 340i. The diesel four-cylinder in the 328d is unchanged, as is the base gas turbo four-cylinder in the 320i and the plug-in hybrid powertrain in the 330e.


Original MSRP:

  • Base: $34,445
  • Plug-in hybrid: $45,095
  • Sports Wagon: $45,445
  • Gran Turismo: $45,695

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    Engine, Transmission, and Performance

    Each 3-series gas engine, from the 180-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four in the 320i to the 320-hp turbocharged inline-six in the 340i, feels as if it’s making more power than advertised. But compared with the inline-six’s unparalleled smoothness, the four-cylinders suffer from some coarseness at higher revs, although compared with turbo-fours from other automakers, the BMW engines are smooth runners. The diesel four-cylinder is unremarkable, save for its highway fuel economy, so fuel misers might be better served by the smooth and powerful 330e plug-in hybrid’s turbocharged four-cylinder and electric-motor combination. An excellent ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on every 3-series, while a capable six-speed manual is available at no cost on the sedan but can’t be paired with other models. Every 3-series, even the diesel and plug-in hybrid, drives with enthusiasm and is capable of impressive performance. Sadly, they do so without the peerless balance between communicative steering, supple ride quality, and silken engines (340i aside) that defined their much-loved predecessors. In its most basic form, the chassis of the 3-series returns good body control and a tolerable ride.

    Fuel Economy

    EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.

    Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

    The cabin of the 3-series epitomizes classic German restraint. Despite a plethora of interior color schemes and upholstery options, the 3’s underlying design is generic. This conspires with the ho-hum plastics sprinkled throughout to keep the BMW’s interior from feeling luxurious. The 3-series is entirely capable of shuttling four adults in reasonable comfort. If the lineup has an ace in the hole for cargo space, it’s the commodious station-wagon variant. Ditto the tall, somewhat awkward-looking 3-series GT hatchback. Still, the basic sedan has a split-folding rear seat and a large, usefully shaped trunk.

    Infotainment and Connectivity

    The latest-generation version of the BMW iDrive infotainment system, with a standard 6.5-inch display, is among the biggest upgrades for the 3-series in the past two years. A simplified menu makes the knob-controlled system even more intuitive, and the updated on-screen graphics inject a whiff of freshness. The 3-series is available with the latest amenities, including a larger 8.8-inch screen, a premium Harmon Kardon audio system, onboard Wi-Fi, and Apple CarPlay—but no Android Auto.

    Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings

    Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)

    View Crash Test Results

    For more information about the BMW 3-Series’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.


    Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.


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