2018 BMW 3 Series Review
The 2018 BMW 3 Series should make the short list for shoppers seeking a compact luxury sport sedan. Whether enjoying its blend of features and refinement or pushing its smooth power and sharp handling to the limit, you'll be impressed.
Today's 3 Series advances the heritage that BMW established decades ago when it practically invented the compact luxury car. The 3 Series is 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 other automakers from trying.
In either sedan or wagon style, the 3 Series makes few compromises. It's a truly fantastic all-rounder with no significant flaws — it's simultaneously comfortable and sporty, small without being confining, and offers fuel-efficient and powerful engines. There's a 3 Series for seemingly every flavor. Fuel economy a priority? The diesel-powered 3 Series achieves 36 mpg combined. Need maximum cargo space? The 3 Series wagon offers 53 cubic feet of room. Just want to test the waters of BMW ownership? The base model 320i, while sparsely equipped for a luxury sedan, offers the model's hallmark balance and performance for a reasonable price.
It's true that the current generation of the 3 Series is getting a bit dated, and newer rivals might hold an advantage in stylistic appeal. Overall, though, the 3 Series is still one of the best.
Notably, we picked the 2018 BMW 3 Series as one of Edmunds' Best All-Wheel-Drive Sedans for this year.
trim levels & features
The 2018 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 most affordable way into a 3 Series, but it lacks many standard and optional creature comforts. It 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 LED headlights, power-adjustable front sport seats, power-folding and heated side mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors, paddle shifters for automatic transmission-equipped models, driver-seat memory settings and split-folding rear seatbacks.
The 328d and 330e sedans come similarly equipped. Both 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), 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 package.
There are several option packages for the 2018 3 Series. In our opinion, the main ones to look out for are the Premium and the Executive since they further equip the 3 Series with a host of desirable convenience and tech-oriented extras. The Premium package, for example, adds heated front seats, a head-up display, a navigation system, a 8.5-inch display screen and BMW's Remote Services (can lock and unlock doors or find car in a parking lot via smartphone app). The Executive package adds adaptive LED headlights, side- and top-view parking cameras, and upgraded leather upholstery.
Other popular picks include the Track Handling package (improves handling and steering) and the Driving Assistance package that adds many advanced driver safety aids.
Noise & vibration
Ease of use
Getting in/getting out
Child safety seat accommodation
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.