The 2017 BMW 3 Series should be near the top of your list if you're in the market for an entry-level luxury sedan. It's been the benchmark for years when it comes to driver engagement, and the current version manages to be more things for more people thanks to its generous cabin size, comfortable ride and lineup of surprisingly efficient engines.
For 2017, the engine and model lineup are updated with a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that results in the 328i becoming the 330i. Last year's new arrival, the 340i, now comes standard with the M Sport package, although the Sport and Luxury packages can be substituted as no-cost options. There are also new features for 2017, most notably Apple CarPlay and updated iDrive infotainment interface.
Despite these changes, though, a big part of the 3 Series' appeal remains its variety of choices. There is a sedan and wagon body style (not to mention the mechanically related 4 Series lineup), along with the 320i, 330i, 340i and diesel-powered 328d. All but the 340i have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but they are in fact different engines. The 320i's produces sufficient power (180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque), and returns strong fuel economy for a luxury sedan at 28 mpg combined (23 city/ 35 highway). However, the 330i represents a more powerful proposition, as it boasts 248 hp and 258 lb-ft, while only losing 1 mpg combined compared to the 320i. It really is the best-of-both-worlds choice.
Although it's ultimately no quicker than the 320i, the 328d's torque-rich engine will feel stouter and returns a superb 35 mpg combined (31 city/42 highway). Meanwhile, the 340i's turbocharged inline-6 is good for 320 hp and 330 lb-ft. And when we tested it with all-wheel drive, it went from zero to 60 mph in a remarkable 4.4 seconds. Its fuel economy also isn't that bad at 25 mpg combined.
So the 3 Series certainly isn't wanting for performance, and while its driving experience isn't as sharp as those of its predecessors, its newfound balance of engaging handling and a comfortable ride should appeal to a larger number of drivers. Now, a few choice options (the adaptive suspension in particular) will dial up the fun-to-drive quotient a bit higher, but those seeking the "ultimate driving machine" may find certain competitors a bit more thrilling.
And while some competitors deliver more equipment for the money or offer more traditionally luxurious interior than the 3 Series, there's no arguing that the 3 Series is a remarkable car.
So whether you're looking at the most basic model or a fully loaded specimen, the 2017 BMW 3 Series is a top luxury car choice. Make sure to research which might be the best version for you here on Edmunds, including inventory near you.