Used 2014 BMW 3 Series Review & Ratings | Edmunds
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Used 2014 BMW 3 Series Review

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2014 BMW 3 Series

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2014 BMW 3 Series

  • A Edmunds Rating
  • The 2014 BMW 3 Series is a well-rounded and highly desirable entry-level luxury car. Whether you're drawn to its sporty driving character or its high-end cabin, it's one of our favorites in this class.

  • Pros

    Excellent ride/handling balance; powerful and fuel-efficient engines; upscale interior with straightforward controls and spacious seating.

  • Cons

    ActiveHybrid3 lacks typical hybrid efficiency; automatic stop-start system is intrusive.

  • What's New for 2014

    The 3 Series wagon returns, as it has finally received the same redesign the sedan got in 2012. In addition, a new four-cylinder diesel engine joins the 2014 BMW 3 Series lineup and a few more standard features are thrown in. The 3 Series coupe is also new, but has been renamed for 2014 as the 4 Series.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 BMW 3 Series

What's New for 2014

The 3 Series wagon returns, as it has finally received the same redesign the sedan got in 2012. In addition, a new four-cylinder diesel engine joins the 2014 BMW 3 Series lineup and a few more standard features are thrown in. The 3 Series coupe is also new, but has been renamed for 2014 as the 4 Series.

Introduction

Entry-level luxury cars dominate premium-brand vehicle sales in the United States. These are the cars people buy when they get that big promotion at work, and the BMW 3 Series has long been a favorite with consumers and critics alike. There's good reason for its success. The 3 Series comes with some of the most powerful and fuel-efficient four- and six-cylinder engines in this class and arguably the nicest interior furnishings. It also has a reputation for providing sporty handling and a fun overall driving experience. Although the current-generation car puts more priority on ride comfort than previous versions, the 2014 BMW 3 Series remains enjoyable whether you're seeking out roads less traveled or just driving to the office.

The 2014 model year brings plenty of change for the 3 Series line. The BMW 3 Series wagon returns to the lineup after taking 2013 off, and as expected it shares its platform architecture and engines with the 3 Series sedan. This time around, however, the wagon is all-wheel drive only. Meanwhile, the 3 Series coupe and convertible are history, as the redesigned versions of these cars will be known as part of the 2014 4 Series line.

BMW also introduces a brand-new engine for 2014, and if your heart bleeds for mpg, you're probably going to like this 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder diesel. Rated at 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, this engine is extremely efficient, as the rear-wheel-drive diesel 3 Series sedan earns an impressive 37 mpg combined EPA rating, while the AWD 328d wagon carries a 35 mpg combined rating. Although the 2014 328d sedan and wagon aren't as quick as other 3 Series models, they're not exactly slow -- BMW claims they can hustle from zero to 60 mph in the low 7-second range.

The high fuel economy numbers on the diesel BMW 3 Series will make the potent but pricey ActiveHybrid 3 sedan an even tougher sell this year (it rates only 28 mpg combined). But every other 2014 BMW 3 Series sedan and wagon is worth serious consideration. Strong competitors like the Audi A4 , Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 , and Mercedes-Benz C-Class will make your decision much harder, but none of these cars can quite match the BMW's combination of fantastic road manners, high-end interior furnishings and outright refinement. If you only test-drive one entry-level luxury car this year, let it be the 2014 BMW 3 Series.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 BMW 3 Series is available in sedan and wagon body styles. (A hatchback model, the 3 Series Gran Turismo, is reviewed separately.) Sedans come in 320i, 328i, 328d, 335i and ActiveHybrid 3 trim levels. For almost all of these, BMW offers all-wheel-drive versions, which it labels "xDrive." The wagon is only available in 328i xDrive and 328d xDrive trims.

Standard features for the entry-level 320i include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way manually adjustable front seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, wood trim, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, Bluetooth, the iDrive electronics interface, a 6.5-inch display and a premium sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The 328i sedan adds a more powerful version of the 320i's engine, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, eight-way power-adjustable front seats and driver memory functions. The 328i and 328d wagons are equipped similarly to their sedan counterparts.

The 335i sedan and ActiveHybrid 3 get unique powertrains, although both come equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive and auto-leveling xenon headlights, automatic high beams and a sunroof.

BMW offers three optional equipment lines -- Luxury, Sport and M Sport -- that include different wheel designs, color schemes, trim types, seats, steering wheels and even suspension tuning. There are also a number of available packages to choose from.

Opting for the Technology package brings a hard-drive-based navigation system (with 20GB available for personal music storage), a higher-resolution 8.8-inch display, BMW Apps (including Pandora and Stitcher), BMW Remote Services (which allows many smartphones to lock the car remotely and turn on the climate control, among various other tasks) and a head-up display.

The Premium package is your ticket to leather upholstery, a keyless ignition, power front seats for the 320i, four-way power lumbar support for the front seats and, on wagons, a power liftgate that you can open by swiping your foot under the bumper.

For extra safety, the Driver Assistance package provides a rearview camera along with front and rear parking sensors. The Driver Assistance Plus package gets those items plus side- and top-view cameras, blind-spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system, a driver drowsiness monitor and a speed limit info display. The Cold Weather package comes with heated front and rear seats plus a heated steering wheel. The Dynamic Handling package bundles the sportier suspension tuning from the M Sport line with variable-ratio steering.

Individual option highlights include the Lighting package (provides adaptive bi-xenon headlights), adaptive cruise control, an automated parallel parking system and an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system.

Powertrains and Performance

2014 BMW 3 Series sedans offer a choice between rear-wheel drive and the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, while AWD is standard on 3 Series wagons. A six-speed manual is available on sedans, but the wagon comes only with an eight-speed automatic transmission (optional on the sedan). Automatic-equipped 3 Series cars with the Sport or M Sport package have a "sport" version of this transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. Both transmissions come with an automatic stop-start function that turns off the engine when the car stops in order to save fuel.

The 320i comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine rated at 180 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. Considering we recorded a decent 7.3-second 0-60-mph time at the track, the EPA fuel economy ratings are impressive at 28 mpg combined (24 city/36 highway) for a rear-drive sedan with the automatic. The manual version and xDrive versions are nearly as good, rating 27 mpg combined.

The 328i model uses a more powerful version of the 320i's engine, rated at 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. The EPA estimates an automatic-equipped 328i will achieve 27 mpg in combined driving, an outstanding number for this class. But perhaps this is the best combination of performance and efficiency within the entire 3 Series lineup. With a 328i M Sport's 5.4-second sprint to 60 mph that we recorded at our own facility and a remarkable 33.6 mpg on our 120-mile loop, we can't recommend this version of the 3 Series enough.

The 328d models have a 2.0-liter, turbocharged diesel four-cylinder rated at 180 hp and a robust 280 lb-ft of torque. This engine only comes with the automatic regardless of which body style you choose. Rear-drive 328d sedans are rated at 37 mpg combined (32 mpg city/45 mpg highway), while the 328d xDrive sedan and wagon are both rated at 35 mpg combined. On our 120-mile evaluation loop, we achieved an admirable 34 mpg in a 328d wagon. Perhaps more surprising, we also recorded a 7.2-second 0-60 mph time for the wagon at our test facility.

The 335i sedan has a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine rated at 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. With the automatic, it's nearly as fuel-efficient as the 328i, boasting a 25 mpg combined EPA rating. Getting the manual gearbox drops the combined rating to 23 mpg. With AWD, you're looking at 24 combined for the automatic and 23 mpg for the manual.

Finally, there's the ActiveHybrid 3, which pairs the 335i's engine with the eight-speed automatic, a rear-drive electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. This combination provides 335 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. The ActiveHybrid 3 sedan is quick. At our test track, we recorded a scorching 5.1-second sprint to 60 mph, but don't expect huge mpg numbers, as the EPA rates it at just 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city/33 mpg highway). And we essentially validated the EPA's estimate on the Edmunds evaluation loop, where we earned a little over 29 mpg.

Safety

Every 2014 BMW 3 Series comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.

The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry when the windshield wipers are in use and automatically snugging the pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle. BMW Assist emergency communications is standard and includes automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance.

Options include parking sensors (front and rear), a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system and an automated parking system.

In Edmunds brake testing, a 328i sedan with 18-inch summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 115 feet, while the 328i M Sport stopped in 109 feet -- average distances for an entry-level luxury sedan with summer tires. The 320i, on all-season tires no less, took just 111 feet in the same test, which is excellent. Book-ending this group were the 328d xDrive wagon with all-season tires at 126 feet, and the ActiveHybrid 3 at 106 feet on summer tires.

In government crash testing, the sedan received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, plus four stars for frontal protection and five for side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the sedan the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. It received the second-worst rating of "Marginal" in the Institute's small-overlap frontal-offset crash test. Its seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features

Although the 3 Series cabin has a contemporary feel, BMW has taken pains to make sure it's still a comfortable and inviting place. The company's classic analog gauges provide a historical link with BMWs of previous decades, while the optional thematic equipment lines allow plenty of personal customization. Materials quality is exceptional throughout, and it's all put together with care.

In terms of technology, the basic 6.5-inch display screen is adequate, but you'll want to get the larger, optional screen for a true luxury electronics interface. This year's iDrive system has been updated slightly, with the most noticeable change being a touchpad on top of the controller that can be used to hand write inputs using your finger. Overall, iDrive is pretty easy to use, thanks to straightforward menus, crisp graphics and quick processing times. But compared to some rival systems, it typically requires a few more twirls and clicks to get what you want.

The base-model front seats are comfortable and supportive, while those in the sport packages are even more so. Both offer an impressive amount of adjustment regardless of whether you get manual or power operation. If rear-seat accommodations are a priority, you won't find a more spacious backseat in the entry-luxury car class. Rear legroom is particularly generous. Trunk space is above average in the sedan (13 cubic feet), while the wagon offers a maximum cargo capacity of 53 cubic feet with its seats folded. That's more than BMW's X1 and about the same as the Audi Allroad.

Driving Impressions

Although the latest 3 Series has lost a bit of the previous car's hard-edged athleticism, the reality is that this car still delivers the best all-around driving experience in the entry-level luxury sedan class. The ride is smooth and quiet, no matter which wheels and tires you choose, so the car is fantastic for road trips. Although we haven't driven the 2014 BMW 3 Series wagon, its handling should be similar to the sedan, which feels nicely composed when going around turns.

The steering is the weakest link in this package: Most consumers will find it very precise, with ideal weighting, but more demanding drivers might notice that it lacks the detailed feedback that made older BMWs feel special.

Still, we have no complaints about the engines. The 320i and its 180-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides a punchy power delivery and acceleration on par with rivals. That leaves the former base model, the 328i and its turbo-4, as a desirable upgrade model. The six-cylinder 335i might seem like overkill at this point, but its huge wallop of power and distinctive inline-6 sound still make it the best choice for those wanting the top sport sedan experience.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 25 reviews) Write a Review


Built to drive

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Vehicle: 2014 BMW 3 Series 328d 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A)



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2014 cpo elite 328ix sportwagon

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Vehicle: 2014 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 4dr Wagon AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)

Engine and transmission are smooth as silk. The turbo-4cyl with 8AT is outstanding. 0 issues with vehicle and dealer has been outstanding for scheduled maintainence. I-Drive is waaaaay better than my wife's Audi MMI. Wagons new are $$$, look for a used CPO. Ridiculous what an optioned new wagon costs. Only complaint is, and this is an issues with pre-LCI F30's, is electric steering. Ugh, our old E90 was light years ahead in steering/road feel vs the newer F30's. Also if you can find one, get the Adaptive M suspension. The Xdrive wagon has BMW's base suspension and sits the highest. The Msport suspension or old "704" static suspension are unavailable on the wagons. And pay for the lighting package! The halogen lights are terrible. Unbelievable that BMW stills puts halogen lights in their vehicles. Plus with halogens you do NOT get the classic signature of all BMW's.....iconic Round Angel eyes. I have rear and front facing child seats in 2nd row. Make sure you put the front facing seat behind the drivers side! Or it gets tight. I love my wagon, fast and fun to drive.....and still average 24-25 mpg in town.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sportwagon - child seat comments included!

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Vehicle: 2014 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive 4dr Wagon AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)

I spent the better part of a frigid New England (just snowed) morning test driving two cars 1) a 2014 BMW 328xi wagon with luxury package and 2) a new 2015 BMW 328xd wagon with nav and a couple of the basic packages. I had never driven a diesel before so I felt I owed it to myself to try these two head-to-head. While the diesel had a broadly useable torque band, I felt it lacked uphill oomph especially in the 2nd or 3rd gear range (tough to tell because the transmission shifts so smoothly in both models). Granted this was a 25 degree day and we basically started it cold from the dealership, but after having driven a similarly cold gasoline model over the same roads earlier in the morning, the diesel just didn’t compare. In my opinion, the diesel was overpriced even with the 2015 “leftover” discount, about $7k more than the lightly used 2014 with 10k miles. The diesel exhaust note, as many reviews have noted, is coarse and loud at revs. The gasoline exhaust note is fake, pumped in through the sound system. You can actually hear it change its volume if you switch from Comfort to Sport under hard acceleration. Still, I prefer a quiet car with some audio theatrics to one that sounds like an economy car with gravel under the hood. Now for some comments that pertain to both models: 1) Very few reviews ever cover the fit and functionality of child seats. The local used car dealership graciously allowed me to mess around with different configurations after I test drove it. I am 6’0 and need to use a fair amount of front seat track to get comfortable behind the wheel. In the rear-facing position, I found the child seat to be workable, but it took a fair amount of finagling. Both test cars were equipped with power front seats rather than the manual kind found in some of the base models. For 6’0+ drivers, you might have to live with your seatback a little more upright than you’re used to in order to get the child seat to fit correctly in the rear-facing position. I also found it helped to drop the driver’s seat almost to the floor. In the front-facing position, there were no problems at all. Now, I didn’t try one of our newer child seats – a Britax G3 Marathon. Those stay in my wife’s minivan since she does 90% of the child transportation. They are a bit more bulky, mostly laterally, than the regular G3 because they have the extra head protection. With BMW’s new 40-20-40 folding seatbacks, you might be able to utilize your “20” with two regular G3s in the back, but you’d have a much harder time doing the same thing with the wider G3 Marathons. 2) The stock stereo system is middling. Not sure the upgrade would necessarily be worth it, but it could be worth considering. 3) Despite some criticism of the new suspension, I found the Sport mode in both models to be amply stiff for hard corners in slippery conditions. Yes, I did try a couple after dropping off my sales minder at the front door. 4) Visibility out the back is limited and the side mirrors are tiny. Unfortunately, this means springing for blind-spot detection is a must. 5) After half an hour in the standard seats, I wasn’t loving them. The seat bottoms are totally flat with just average padding. They reminded me of the mid-90s Subaru Outback wagon seats. Both my testers had lumbar support, which even for me as a relatively healthy mid-30s guy is a must. I would probably limit my search to models with the sport seats from here out. 6) The new touch-sensitive controller is little too sensitive for the initiated, but I found myself accidentally clicking stuff when I was trying to use the jogger control. 7) Overall, I don’t think either of these models is worth the near $50k price tag, but finding a lightly used CPO at <$40k seems right for the gasoline-powered model. The diesel model really doesn’t warrant a premium, but my commutes most days are fairly short so I’m probably not the target market for it.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A small "abrams tank from bmw

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Vehicle: 2014 BMW 3 Series 328i SULEV 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)

This car goes where you point it with the steering wheel. It also has three different transmission settings for you to choose from; Eco for the best gas consumption with a little less power, Comfort (the default) for a bit less rigid ride with a little more power than Eco, and Sport for driving the car like a BMW is supposed to be driven full power and absolutely no hesitation.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Close to the ideal all around car

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Vehicle: 2014 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 4dr Wagon AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A)

This is a great little car! It hugs the road and is a pleasure to drive. It gets great fuel mileage and is very comfortable on long trips. The only downside is that BMW "nickels and dimes" you on packages rather than making everything standard on an automobile in this category.




Good but not great

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Vehicle: 2014 BMW 3 Series 328d xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A)

My biggest gripe is value for the money. If all you're looking for in a vehicle is engineering and performance, then BMW is definitely for you. The 2.0L Turbo 4 is a powerful little engine which is smooth as silk and provides sprightly acceleration, especially in Sport mode. I'll even forgive the fact that it sounds like a low-end diesel mill at idle. But BMWs come by their sticker price by virtue of their reputation and position in the luxury segment. Upgrading the technology, luxury and safety components comes at a steep price. To get something as basic as a backup camera (standard equipment in most cars now), you need to tack on a $900 Driver Assistance Package, and active monitoring features come in another $1700 package. I'm probably going to trade this car soon for a small SUV and need to try and justify whether I want to fork over another $16 to $18K above my trade-in for an X3 which will have less than half the comfort and safety equipment of many other worthy contenders in the segment at thousands less. Tough call.



Talk About The 2014 3 Series

2014 BMW 3 Series Discussions See all Started By

Kirstie_H
Kirstie_H
01-23-2014
To discuss the latest lease details for the current model, please join us in the 2015 BMW 3 Series Lease Questions forum. You can also research local dealer inventory and pricing, reviews, features, a...


Kirstie_H
Kirstie_H
01-17-2014
To see all forums discussions about the BMW 3 Series, including earlier model years, please visit our list of BMW 3 Series discussions....


Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com
02-06-2013
2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo To Bow at 2013 Geneva Auto Show...



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