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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
New stereo includes an 80-gig hard drive, USB input and optional iPod connector
Navigation system itself is now hard-drive-based and features real-time traffic information
A host of detail improvements -- heated steering wheel anyone? -- fleshes out the upgrades
Road & Track
The 2010 BMW 3-Series is both a sports sedan and a luxury car, underlined by its comprehensive standard feature list and rather high starting price. BMW offers many optional features to match its luxury positioning, but they'll cost you. And you may not be able to find a base version at all. 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."
Edmunds lists the standard equipment on the BMW 2010 328i as "heated side mirrors, a sunroof, leatherette vinyl upholstery...and a 10-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack," though editors at TheCarConnection.com are disappointed to learn that only an auxiliary input jack is standard. If you want the radio to interface with your iPod (and charge it), you must pony up an extra $400 for the USB option or $320 for a dedicated iPod interface adapter. For 2010, high-definition radio is now standard on all models. Cars.com adds that you'll find standard "push-button ignition [and] standard automatic climate control." As for the more powerful 2010 BMW 335i version, Edmunds reviewers note it comes with "17-inch wheels, xenon headlights and power front seats with driver memory."
The 10-speaker sound system includes two subwoofers and is as crisp, usable, and powerful as everything else on this vehicle. A long list of electronics options quickly ramps up the price and adds little to driving capability, but 3-Series buyers appreciate and often buy such items as the Logic7 Surround Sound system ($875), adaptive cruise control ($2,400), and power front seats ($995).
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 2010 BMW 3-Series include "in-car Internet access [and] a new audio system," according to Motor Trend, which also points out that drivers can send routes planned on Internet mapping systems to the optional navigation system, "saving the hassle of inputting destinations manually."
The all-wheel-drive xDrive option runs $2,000. A Sport Package, at $2,050, ups wheel size to 17 or 18 inches and includes grippy run-flat tires and well-bolstered sport seats; this is a good pick for the serious driver. The most compelling options for the 2010 BMW 3-Series are the aforementioned USB/iPod interface and the $750 BMW Assist with Bluetooth. The pricey Premium Package-including a moonroof, auto-dimming mirrors, digital compass, Bluetooth, power seats, lumbar support, and universal garage door opener-doesn't represent a great value unless you simply have to have all those features.
Edmunds reports that 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." Of course most models come with the rightfully maligned iDrive navigation/infotainment system ($2,100), though its latest iteration adds shortcut buttons to make it simpler and less unintuitive. Car and Driver notes "you can still skip iDrive altogether by not ordering a factory-installed navigation system." The iDrive-free base model, with its unbroken dash and simpler controls, lets drivers focus on devouring every foot of road.
From frugal diesel to twin-turbo sports machine, the 2010 BMW 3-Series packs in many standard features-with the confusing iDrive, thankfully, an option.