The BMW 3 Series is a line of compact executive cars manufactured by the German automaker BMW since May 1975. It is the successor to the 02 Series and has been produced in seven different generations.
When BMW first launched the 3 Series 45 years ago, it had the junior executive market more or less to itself. But over the years key rivals such as the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class have played catch up. In spite of ever-increasing competition, the BMW 3 Series is a phenomenally successful model with its six previous incarnations having sold over 15 million examples.
BMW offers a wide range of engines in the 3 Series. Petrol and diesel models make up the bulk, with a plug-in petrol hybrid also offered.
Four trim levels are available – SE Pro, Sport Pro, M Sport and M Sport Pro Edition. All cars are well specified with sat nav, adaptive LED headlights, three-zone air conditioning, cruise control, Apple CarPlay and heated seats, as well as BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional which has a 12.3-inch digital instrument display that apes Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. BMW’s new Intelligent Personal Assistant is also included, and this allows you to operate many of the car’s functions via voice control.
The 3 Series is bigger than it was before, and the main focus for BMW has been on improving accommodation for those in the back. Both front seat occupants should be able to find a comfortable position with a good range of seat adjustment and a steering wheel that’s adjustable for height and rake. The standard upholstery is cloth, but both Sport and M Sport models come with Vernasca leather and all models receive heated seats.
BMW has a reputation for making solidly reliable cars. It also has a reputation for making safe cars, and the 3 Series doesn't disappoint. Euro NCAP put the latest car through a rigorous safety testing procedure in 2019 and awarded it a full five stars. Adult and child occupant protection achieved 97% and 87%, respectively.