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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
The iDrive system has gone through another round of simplifications... We don’t exactly love it now, but it’s user-friendly enough not to make you run anymore.
Car and Driver
BMW's latest iDrive system is far easier to negotiate than in previous 3-Series models. Some testers say it's simpler to use than the standard non-iDrive interface, particularly when controlling an external digital music player.
The convertible's available heat-reflective leather does a wonderful job of keeping occupants' posteriors cool.
Leather upholstery and an iPod/USB adapter are part of a no-charge Value Package on the 328i sedan and wagon; they cost extra on most other cars.
Features of the 2011 BMW 3-Series commence with a choice of body styles. The two-door, four-seat coupe starts from $36,200 in 328i trim, while the four-door, five-passenger sedan starts from just $33,150. The wagon sits between the two, starting from $35,700, while the convertible is the priciest, starting from $45,000.
Upgrading to the 335i spec adds about $6,000 to the 328i base price of each style, while the coupe, sedan, and wagon can upgrade to all-wheel drive in 328i xDrive or 335i xDrive trim for about $2,000. The coupe and convertible are also available in 335is trim, which adds $13,000 to the base 328i price. Finally, the 335d diesel model starts from $43,950 and is only available as a sedan.
Standard features include push-button ignition, automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, sunroof, leatherette upholstery, and a 10-speaker stereo. Finding cars equipped in base spec may be tough, though, as most of the cars on dealer lots are already fitted with the Premium Package, bringing leather upholstery, Bluetooth, auto-dimming mirrors, and more.
A range of technology and convenience upgrades is available, including USB iPod connectivity, navigation, upgraded audio systems, adaptive cruise control, power front seats, and more.
BMW's optional iDrive system, which controls the entertainment, information, and navigation displays, has received much criticism over the years for its complexity. The latest version simplifies and improves the feature-rich technology, however, making it the best iteration yet—though still not completely intuitive to use.
The 2011 BMW 3-Series offers a wide range of standard options, many available upgrades, and an improved, though fortunately optional, iDrive system.