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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
New stereo includes an 80-gig hard drive, USB input and optional iPod connector
A host of detail improvements -- heated steering wheel anyone? -- fleshes out the upgrades
Road & Track
Navigation system itself is now hard-drive-based and features real-time traffic information
The 2009 BMW 3-Series is both a sportscar and a luxury vehicle, as evidenced by the rather high starting price, and BMW offers features to match its luxury intentions.
The standard features list on the BMW 3-Series is generally quite competitive, but editors at TheCarConnection.com are disappointed to learn that a USB iPod connection isn't standard fare. Aside from that omission, Cars.com says you will find standard "push-button ignition [and] standard automatic climate control," while Edmunds lists the standard equipment on the BMW 2009 328i as "heated side mirrors, a sunroof, leatherette vinyl upholstery...and a 10-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack." Moving up to the 335i version of the BMW 3-Series, Edmunds reviewers note the addition of "17-inch wheels, xenon headlights and power front seats with driver memory."
Though a base BMW 2009 3-Series is actually quite price-competitive, chances are you won't be able to find many base versions. Edmunds reviewers report that most BMW 3-Series cars "you find on dealer lots will be equipped with the Premium Package, which adds leather upholstery...auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity [and] BMW Assist telematics." Automobile Magazine feels that if you have the cash to burn on a few options, "the $995 power front seats option is money well spent." Other noteworthy optional features on the 2009 BMW 3-Series include "in-car Internet access [and] a new audio system," according to Motor Trend, which says that the optional nav system can recognize routes planned on the Internet, "saving the hassle of inputting destinations manually."
Motor Trend also claims that "a revised iDrive system with more intuitive menus" is available, although Car and Driver notes "you can still skip iDrive altogether by not ordering a factory-installed navigation system." Although many of the options on the 2009 BMW 3-Series come grouped in various packages, TheCarConnection.com's research shows that some individual items are available as well. Specifically, Edmunds reports that some of the stand-alone options include "active cruise control, front and rear parking assist, an active steering system (335i only), paddle shifters for the optional automatic transmission...satellite radio, HD radio, iPod adapter and a Logic 7 surround-sound audio system."
The 2009 BMW 3-Series has some appealing options packages, but beware the steep prices associated with the various checkboxes.