The 2017 BMW 3 Series should be near the top of the list for shoppers wanting a compact luxury sport sedan. Whether enjoying its blend of features and refinement or putting its smooth optional engine to the test, you'll be impressed. It runs in a crowded class, but the 3 Series is one of the best.
BMW practically invented the compact luxury car decades ago, and today's 3 Series advances that heritage. It's the best-selling car in its class, and for good reason. Few can match its artful blend of performance and refinement, though that doesn't stop them from trying. In either sedan or wagon style, the 3 Series makes few compromises. It's simultaneously comfortable and sporty, compact without being confining, and its engines are fuel-efficient and powerful. It's a truly fantastic all-rounder with no significant flaws.
trim levels & features
The 2017 BMW 3 Series is available in sedan and wagon body styles. (The 3 Series Gran Turismo hatchback is reviewed separately, as are coupe and convertible models collectively known as the BMW 4 Series.) Sedans come in 320i, 328d, 330i, 330e and 340i trim levels with standard rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive (called xDrive) is optional on all but the 330e plug-in hybrid. The wagon is available only in 330i xDrive and 328d xDrive trims. The 320i is the cheapest way into a 3 Series, but it lacks many standard and optional creature comforts. Best to start at the 330i.
The 320i starts with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (180 horsepower, 200 pound-feet of torque) and a choice of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard feature highlights include 17-inch wheels, remote locking and unlocking, push-button start, automatic wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium vinyl upholstery, BMW Assist emergency telematics, Bluetooth connectivity, the iDrive infotainment interface, a 6.5-inch display and a nine-speaker sound system.
The 330i has a more powerful 2.0-liter engine (248 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque) as well as power-adjustable front sport seats, power-folding and heated side mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors, paddle shifters for automatic transmission-equipped models, driver-seat memory functions and split-folding rear seatbacks.
The 328d and 330e sedans come similarly equipped. Both also use a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired only to the eight-speed automatic, but the 328d engine uses diesel fuel and generates 180 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The 330e engine takes conventional gasoline but is augmented by an electric motor for a combined 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.
The 328d and 330i wagons are equipped like the sedans and also come with a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, a power liftgate and the eight-speed automatic transmission.
Finally, the 340i sedan has a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine (320 hp and 330 lb-ft), the contents of the Premium package (see below), LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, a sunroof and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system (optional on most other models). The M Sport package (see below) is also standard, but its contents can be replaced by those from the Sport or Luxury packages.
There are several option packages for the 2017 3 Series. In our opinion, the main ones to look out for are Premium and Technology as they further equip the 3 Series with a host of desirable convenience and tech-oriented extras. Other popular picks include the Track Handling package (improves handling) and the two Driver Assistance packages that add many advanced driver safety aids.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.