Find Your Credit Union

All-New BMW 3 Series Arriving in Showrooms Now

By Arv Voss, February 25th, 2012

As usual, BMW has gone and improved an existing Series to the point where it seems to surpass, or at the very least equal, the Series lineup above it. Such is the case with the all-new 3 Series. It's on a par with (if not better than), earlier 5 Series models.

This latest iteration 3 Series is offered with two basic models based on two engine variants: the 328i powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 335i that draws its motive force from a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder. Both engines feature TwinPower Turbo technology.

The four-cylinder produces 240 horsepower in a range from 5,000 to 6,000 rpm, along with a torque rating of 255 lb.-ft. from 1,250 through 4,800 rpm. The inline six-cylinder makes 300 horses from 1,250 to 4,800 rpm while generating a like amount of torque (300 lb.-ft.) from 1,300 - 5,000 rpm.

Both engines come with an engine Auto Stop/Start feature, and both models may be coupled to either a Turbo six-speed manual gearbox or an electronic 8-speed automatic, which may also be shifted manually. For now, both the 328i and 335i are configured as rear-wheel drive sedans, with or all-wheel-drive to come later.

There are significant design modifications that make up the all-new 3 Series, not the least of which is the flowing connection of the headlamps into the twin-kidney grille. There is also a connection made between the pronounced wheel wells by a strong character line just above the lower rocker panels. Strong shoulders are readily apparent, as is the broad and athletic stance. The 2012 3 Series is available in four levels of trim: a Base trim, which has no specific line designation; a Sport line package; a Luxury line package; and a Modern line package.

The base model is actually a far cry above an entry level, delivering an impressive inventory of standard features and equipment. It is much more than simply adequate in the performance department -- it is a "kick-in-the-pants" to pilot on the street or on a track.

My driving partner and I began our driving with the on-road exercise in a 328i equipped with the 8-speed automatic and in Modern Line trim, finished outside in Imperial Blue metallic and inside in Dakota leather with Oyster trim accents. The base price was set at $34,900 while optional extras and destination charges upped the final sticker to $49,870.

The 2012 BMW 328i is more than enough car for most driving enthusiasts, even with the 8-speed automatic, and especially on the road. Dyed-in-the-wool "hot shoes" will of course probably opt for the added horses served up by the 335i, which we also drove, too. EPA estimates give the 328i a 24 miles per gallon city rating and 36 mpg highway. The 335i delivers an estimated 23 mpg city and 33 mpg on the highway.

Factoring the weight differences and variances in power output, the 328i was perhaps the most fun to drive. Both cars share the same 130-mph top speed while the 335i trims only half a second off the 0-60 time of the 328i, which is 5.9 seconds.

There are lots of new technological features packed into this latest 3 Series. A new Driver Dynamics Control consists of a console-mounted switch to allow the driver to select a Comfort mode, Sport mode, Sport Plus mode and a new ECO PRO mode.

All modes provide varying levels of throttle response, engine mapping, power steering feel and Dynamic Stability Control intervention, as well as different shift points for the automatic transmission. The ECO PRO mode tends to minimize the performance quotient while focusing on maximizing economic operation.

What this latest sixth-generation 3 Series has to offer ranks it as the best 3 produced to date. It's certainly as much fun to drive as ever -- actually more so. It looks great and now with its EfficientDynamics it's also more economical to operate -- if you want it to be.


Base price $34,900 (as tested: $49,870)
Curb weight 3,461 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Epa mileage rating 24 mpg city, 36 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 15.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 240 at 5000 rpm
Motor type 16-valve turbo 4-cylinder w/DI
Overall length 182.5 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 255 at 1250-4800 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger RWD compact sedan
Wheelbase 110.6 in.
Honda CR-V: Refreshed for 2020


Honda CR-V: Refreshed for 2020

The 2020 CR-V is a spacious and versatile family hauler from Honda, long known for its reliability, safety and fuel efficiency. The new CR-V loses a base engine and is left with one power plant for 2020: a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that promises to take you 34 miles down the highway on a single gallon of gasoline.

Ford Mustang: The 2020 Fastback EcoBoost Coupe


Ford Mustang: The 2020 Fastback EcoBoost Coupe

It's no secret the Mustang has been extremely popular since the first pony car made its debut in the mid-1960s. I've never owned one, and never really felt moved to own one. But test-driving the 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3-liter EcoBoost Premium coupe awakened me. It's a two-door fastback that seats four in a 2+2 RWD configuration.

2020 Sienna: Trusty Old School Minivan


2020 Sienna: Trusty Old School Minivan

Toyota's family hauler is worthy of its namesake, "Siena," the medieval city in Tuscany, Italy. Siena is known for its sturdy, Gothic brick buildings and historic districts. At 23 years old, the Toyota Sienna is ancient by minivan standards and is holding up well, despite declining sales and the dominance of light trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Off Lease Vehicles

Hundreds of one owner, off-lease cars, trucks & SUVs with low mileage at a great price!

Additional Resources

Most Researched

2020 Honda Accord EX
EX 4dr Sedan
2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited
4x4 Limited 4dr SUV
2019 Audi A4 2.0T quattro Premium
AWD 2.0T quattro Premium 4dr Sedan
2020 Toyota RAV4 Limited
AWD Limited 4dr SUV
2020 Ford F-150 Lariat
4x4 Lariat 4dr SuperCab 8 ft. LB