2015 BMW 3 Series Review

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent ride and handling balance
  • powerful and fuel-efficient engines
  • upscale interior with straightforward controls and spacious seating.
  • ActiveHybrid 3 lacks typical hybrid efficiency
  • automatic stop-start system is intrusive.
List Price Range
$10,994 - $40,060

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2015 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.

Vehicle overview

Ask a person to name a sport sedan and the first answer likely will be "BMW 3 Series." The 3 Series is practically synonymous with the segment itself and has long been a favorite with consumers and critics alike. Taking a look at this year's lineup, you might also think that at some point the car will become synonymous with "variety," too.

Sedan or wagon, rear- or all-wheel drive, and with gasoline, diesel, or hybrid-electric motors, the 2015 BMW 3 Series will appeal to a wide variety of car-savvy entry-level luxury shoppers. Having some of the nicest interior furnishings around and a reputation for providing sporty handling and a fun overall driving experience won't hurt either. Although the current-generation car puts more priority on ride comfort than previous versions, the 3 Series remains enjoyable whether you're seeking out roads less traveled or just driving to the office.

There are three gasoline engines offered on the 3 Series (four if you count the ActiveHybrid 3): two four-cylinders and a six-cylinder, all turbocharged. The recent addition of the 328d model and its diesel-powered four-cylinder provides an impressive 37 mpg combined EPA rating in the sedan. The diesel isn't slow, either -- we clocked the diesel wagon at just over 7 seconds from zero to 60 mph. Still, our favorite remains the 328i because of its unbeatable mix of power, fuel economy and value.

The high fuel economy numbers of the diesel make the potent but pricey ActiveHybrid 3 sedan a dubious pick. But every other 2015 BMW 3 Series sedan and wagon is worth serious consideration. Of course, there are some strong competitors in this segment. You'll want to look at the completely redesigned 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It's larger and more upscale than it was last year, but arrives without a coupe, wagon or diesel variant (yet). We're also fond of the well-rounded 2015 Audi A4 and the sharply styled 2015 Lexus IS 350.

None of these cars can quite match the BMW's combination of efficiency, fantastic road manners and outright refinement, however. With so many available combinations (11 and counting) plus comprehensive options lists, you'll likely find a 3 Series that suits your budget, personality and driving style.

2015 BMW 3 Series models

The 2015 BMW 3 Series is available in sedan and wagon body styles. (A hatchback model, the 3 Series Gran Turismo, is reviewed separately, as are the coupe and convertible, which are now known as the BMW 4 Series.) 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 available only in 328i xDrive and 328d xDrive trims.

Standard features for the entry-level 320i include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, remote entry, push-button start, automatic wipers, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-way manually adjustable front seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, BMW Assist, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the iDrive electronics interface, a 6.5-inch display and a premium nine-speaker 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, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, heated side mirrors, wood trim, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, driver memory functions and split-folding rear seats. The 328i and 328d wagons are equipped similarly to their sedan counterparts and also come with a panoramic sunroof.

The 335i sedan and ActiveHybrid 3 get unique powertrains, although both come equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, LED accent lights and a sunroof.

There are several bundled option packages for the 2015 3 Series. The Premium package equips the sedan or wagon with keyless ignition and entry (including foot-activated trunk or tailgate opening), four-way power lumbar for the front seats, the sunroof (if not already included) satellite radio and leather upholstery. To the 320i, it additionally adds auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, heated side mirrors and eight-way power-adjustable front seats with driver memory functions. A Cold Weather package (requires leather seats) includes a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats and headlight washers.

The Technology package (not available on the 320i) adds a voice-controlled navigation system, a higher-resolution 8.8-inch display screen, a touchpad iDrive controller, a color head-up display, BMW Online with MyInfo (provides news and info to the car), BMW Apps (connectivity for select smartphone apps) and BMW Remote Services (allows select mobile devices to lock the car remotely, turn on the climate control and includes a stolen vehicle recovery service, among various other tasks).

For extra safety, the Driver Assistance package provides a rearview camera along with front and rear parking sensors. The Driver Assistance Plus package (not available on the 320i and requires either the Technology package or stand-alone navigation system) gets those items plus side- and top-view cameras, blind-spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system, frontal collision warning, automatic braking for city-speed collision mitigation and a speed limit info.

Additionally, there are three optional equipment lines for all but the 320i: Luxury (requires Premium package), Sport and M Sport. Each includes different wheel designs (up to 19 inches) shod with either all-season or performance run-flat tires, various color schemes and trim and upholstery types. The Sport Line (duplicated on the 320i as the Sport package) and M Sport also include M Sport suspension tuning, summer performance tires and 10-way sport front seats, while the M Sport further adds aerodynamic exterior trim and a sport steering wheel. The Dynamic Handling package (not available on 320i) furthers the 3 Series' capabilities with an adaptive suspension and automatic variable-ratio steering.

For the 320i, other option highlights include the sunroof, eight-way power front seats with driver memory functions, heated front seats, split-fold rear seats, the navigation system with iDrive touchpad and a Lighting package with adaptive xenon headlights and LED accent lights. For the rest of the 3 Series model line you can further add upgraded M Sport brakes, an automated parallel parking system, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam control, rear window sunshades, a live-operator concierge service, a leather-trimmed dashboard and an upgraded 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

2015 Highlights

Only some subtle changes to standard and optional equipment are in store for the 2015 BMW 3 Series. Most notably, Bluetooth audio connectivity is now standard across the model line and heated front seats, navigation and a sunroof may be ordered as a stand-alone options.

Performance & mpg

2015 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 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet 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. We duplicated the EPA's combined target on our own 120-mile mixed-driving evaluation route. 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, while the manual version is rated at 26 mpg combined, excellent numbers for this class. With a 328i M Sport automatic posting a 5.4-second sprint to 60 mph at our track and logging a remarkable 33 mpg on our 120-mile loop, the 328i gives you the best combination of performance and efficiency within the entire 3 Series lineup.

The 328d models have a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder rated at 180 hp and a robust 280 lb-ft of torque. This engine only comes with the automatic. Rear-drive 328d sedans are rated at 37 mpg combined, 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. The diesel is also pretty quick; we 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 24 mpg. With AWD, you're looking at 24 combined for the automatic and 23 mpg for the manual. At the Edmunds test track, a 335i M Sport with the manual transmission sprinted to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

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 5.1-second sprint to 60 mph, but don't expect huge mpg numbers, as the EPA rates it at just 28 mpg combined. We essentially validated the EPA's estimate of 28 mpg combined on the Edmunds evaluation loop, where we earned a little over 29 mpg.

Safety

Every 2015 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 gas. 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, surround- and side-view cameras, blind spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system, frontal collision warning and automatic braking for frontal collision crash mitigation (includes pedestrian detection).

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 and a 335i M Sport stopped in 112 feet -- average distances for an entry-level luxury sedan with summer tires. 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, with four stars for total frontal protection and five for total side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the sedan the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash test but a second-worst "Marginal" in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test. In the remaining tests, the 3 Series received a "Good" rating in the side-impact, roof-strength and seat and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.

Driving

The 2015 BMW 3 Series delivers the best all-around driving experience in the entry-level luxury sedan class. The ride is smooth and quiet, no matter which driveline, wheels and tires you choose, so the car is fantastic for road trips. Even the 328d wagon (which earned an Edmunds "A" rating) and ActiveHybrid 3 impressed us in these regards, both with seamless power, benchmark handling and exemplary composure when going around turns. What's more is that while the hybrid version may not deliver the kind of fuel savings one might expect (it's more of an added performance boost), it also doesn't display some of the liabilities of a hybrid either, like lackluster acceleration or unintuitive brake response.

As for the more common engines, the 320i is pretty punchy, but the 328i is a very desirable upgrade. We think so highly of this model in particular that it earned our "A" rating. 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. In reality, though, there really isn't a bad apple in the bunch when it comes to driving. One annoyance can be the oftentimes gruff restart nature of the automatic engine stop-start function, though this fuel-saving feature can be disabled.

For traditional BMW driving enthusiasts, the steering will likely be the weakest link in this package. Most consumers will find it very precise, but it does lack the detailed feedback that made older BMWs feel special. Also, the dynamic steering option is often criticized for a response that is out of sync with the driver's input, making the car's responses sometimes difficult to predict.

Interior

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. The touchpad on top of the iDrive controller 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 manually adjusted front seats are comfortable and supportive, while those included 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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2015 BMW 3 Series.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

328d - a BMW with the mpg of a geek box
gary patterson,09/19/2015
328d 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A)
If you drive a lot, you'll love the comfort, handling and mpg...and with diesel you'll save enough to pay for it. I cannot believe I'm getting 41.1 mpg combined in a BMW. I'm getting 45-50 mpg on the freeway...75mph with the a/c on. I went from $75 for a tank of premium to $35 for a tank of diesel (yes,it's $0.55/gallon less) in Los Angeles...and i'm now filling up once per week or less, compared to every 4-5 days. Fit and finish is German. Instruments laid out as expected. Drink holders actually work in this model. Could use storage under front seat, but lack of spare tire (run flats) gives enough extra space in the car...just not up front. iDrive system works well, and short cut buttons on the dash come in handy. Will store 3 driver's information (radio presets, seats, short cut buttons, climate preference...really slick.) If you cannot find something to listen to, you're not trying...cd,radio, satellite, bluetooth, usb. Backup camera works well with sensors. Update: 2019, Now have over 100,000 miles. No issues. Second set of brakes (at 75,000 miles) Third set of tires (at 101,000 miles) Still looks and runs great. Mpg runs between 38-42 combined. Freeway is about 46-48 mpg. Feels like I can get 200k+ out of the car without issues, but I’ll find out. No squeaks. I did find an extra 12v plug below the glove box. (4 year surprise). I’d buy 328d another in a minute. update: 2020, still able to get over 650 miles per tank on the highway. I have over 115,000 miles, no issues. BMW dealers have increased their service costs; oil changes were $75-85, now they want to charge $100's , so I've switched to independent service place where they charge $80-90. Found the AD-Blue at VW dealers for $11 for a 2.5 Gallon jug with attachment that fits the BMW fill threads...I'll get about 15,000 miles out the AD-Blue. I've replaced a head lamp bulb, running light bulb, and air filters, oil changes in the past year. The car feels like I can get 200,000-250,000 out of it without too much effort. I'll let you know.
buy a BMW diesel as soon as you can
Billy P.,04/15/2018
328d 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A)
I got my 328d used with 34k miles. I've put 10k miles on it in the last 6 months. I drive a lot for my work and getting something fun with great gas milage was my goal. I've owed BMW before (2008 335xi) and have owned a number of luxury class vehicles in my day. I traded a 2016 Lexus 350is f sport for this car. Day to day i average 36.5 mpg. I normally get about 520 miles from a tank of gas with about 1/8 tank left at time of fill up. On long highway trips i can get 50.4 miles to the gallon. I live in so. cal so lots of hills and traffic. I couldn't be happier with this car. It's got a lot of pep. It's not a rocket ship but it's got plenty of umph and i rarely miss my faster cars. The M-sport package is a must. It really adds an edge to daily driving. I like to drive a little more aggressively than most daily drivers and the low end grunt brings a smile to my face every time i pull away from a stop. It cruses at 80 mph at just under 2000 rpm. i have to warn you, i did have a fuel injector go bad on me. but they are covered under the EPA for 10 years from purchase date and mine was replaced at no charge. If you buy BMW i strongly suggest CPO. Fixing anything on BMW can be very expensive. With that in mind. this is a fantastic car. One more word of wisdom. don't buy a bmw diesel older than 2013. There was a problem with the timing chains and it causes catastrophic mechanical failure if it breaks. Look up the vin number and make sure it has a "W" in the engine code. Most from 2014 and all (from my understanding) from 2015 on have the W engine. Buy it, drive it, laugh every time you see people buying gas.
Probably the best car i've owned!
Jonas Bickford,03/02/2016
335i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A)
Ok, i'll start off first with the pros. The car is F.A.S.T! If I need to get around someone on the freeway, I barely even touch the gas pedal, and i'm in front of them. The gas mileage is great, considering I have a lead foot (average freeway speed is 80 mph). Also, the seats are the most comfortable seats I have a had in a luxury car. And trust me, all my life I have owned luxury vehicles (Range Rovers, other BMWs, Mercedes, and even Audis). The iDrive is AMAZING! I owned the 2007 BMW 750Li when it came out, and holy crap did the iDrive suck! It great now! Now the cons. Resale value is horrible! My Range Rover was a 2009 HSE Sport and I sold it in 2011 and got 35k for it! I already checked the BlueBook value for my 335Xi and its already down to 40k! Ughh! When you start the car, it sounds like a crazy diesel motor for a second! Coming back to a pro though, the drive is so smooth compared to my old 2010 Mercedes 350 Sport! The car has the smoothest suspension I have ever dealt with! And heading back to cons, the rear seats aren't that comfortable if you don't have the heated rear seats option (I do but my friend has a 2014 328Xi with no heated rear seats). And my god, the navigation has sent me to more dead ends then I care to recall. Thats about all my issues I have with it for now. I recommend buying one for sure! Good luck!
Woth the price!
del21,06/26/2015
320i 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
I downgraded power from a 2011 328i sedan to a 2015 320i sedan. Not much is lost with the power for the price. The 2015 320i is more of a comfortable ride and the interior styling is very luxurious. I think for the price the 320 beats the 328 and the power is still there with the turbo added.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover9.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2015 BMW 3 Series

Used 2015 BMW 3 Series Overview

The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series is offered in the following submodels: 3 Series Sedan, 3 Series Wagon, 3 Series Hybrid, 3 Series Diesel. Available styles include 328i SULEV 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 320i 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 328i xDrive SULEV 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 328i 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 320i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 328i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 335i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A), 328i xDrive 4dr Wagon AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 328d xDrive 4dr Wagon AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A), 335i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A), ActiveHybrid 3 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 8A), 328d 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A), and 328d xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbodiesel 8A). Pre-owned BMW 3 Series models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 240 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series comes with rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2015 BMW 3 Series?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 BMW 3 Series trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive SULEV is priced between $10,994 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 54000 and142741 miles.
  • The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series 320i xDrive is priced between $13,995 and$19,995 with odometer readings between 59507 and103105 miles.
  • The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series 328i xDrive is priced between $16,599 and$21,711 with odometer readings between 51278 and106099 miles.
  • The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series 328i is priced between $16,708 and$20,990 with odometer readings between 42009 and98107 miles.
  • The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series 320i is priced between $14,983 and$19,500 with odometer readings between 48063 and69060 miles.
  • The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series 328i SULEV is priced between $14,999 and$40,060 with odometer readings between 14753 and120321 miles.
  • The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series 335i is priced between $23,590 and$25,990 with odometer readings between 25893 and72515 miles.
  • The Used 2015 BMW 3 Series 335i xDrive is priced between $23,977 and$23,994 with odometer readings between 56009 and68359 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2015 BMW 3 Serieses are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2015 BMW 3 Series for sale near. There are currently 38 used and CPO 2015 3 Serieses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $10,994 and mileage as low as 14753 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2015 BMW 3 Series.

Can't find a used 2015 BMW 3 Seriess you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW 3 Series for sale - 6 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $24,639.

Find a used BMW for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $19,603.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW 3 Series for sale - 3 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $21,948.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 6 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $14,077.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 BMW 3 Series?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out BMW lease specials
Check out BMW 3 Series lease specials