Depending on how you equip your 3-Series, you can end up with a spirited, sensible sport sedan, a focused track-day machine that really looks the part, or a small luxury sedan with a sporting edge. That much hasn't changed; for decades the 3-Series has been many different things to a wide range of people who do all have one thing in common—they enjoy to drive.
The BMW 3-Series can be among the more richer sedans with $15,000 in available options on the offer sheet. BMW has responded by packing value into the base 328i and 335i models, which include an impressive list of standard features. All models are equipped with automatic climate control, a moonroof, fog lamps, AM/FM/XM/CD and HD radio with Bluetooth connectivity, dynamic cruise control, and ambient lighting. Opting for more performance from 335i models add a few more creature comforts too, 18-inch wheels, power adjustable front seats, and adaptive headlights are available on those models. Additionally, 3-Series models can be dressed up in Luxury Line, Modern Line, and Sport Line guise. Each version adds $1,400, up to several thousand, to the sticker price, but in return you get some distinct trim—some of which feels like it could be from a much more expensive vehicle. New for 2013 is an M Sport line that adds special 18-inch BMW M wheels, a sport suspension, an M steering wheel, Aluminum Hexagon interior trim, an aerodynamic package, an anthracite headliner, and other dress-ups.
The 3-Series order sheet is long, and impressive. High tech add-ons include a head-up display, or practical features include a cold-weather package that adds front- and rear-seat heaters, a heated steering wheel, and headlight washers. A driver assistance package adds helpful safety tech such as blind-spot monitors and lane departure warnings. A parking assistance package adds a surround-view camera system, and a rearview camera with cross-traffic alert.
The navigation system now has real-time traffic information and 3D topographical views that can help you. We appreciated its 3D topographical views when zigzagging through mountainous terrain.
The BMW Apps integration—enabling music streaming from Pandora and MOG, using your smartphone's data stream—requires a $250 smartphone holder, and it's only compatible with versions of the iPhone.
Predictably, the 3-Series can be fitted with a multitude of a la carte add-ons, most of them performance oriented, with myriad combinations of wheels and tires.
The new-for-2013 ActiveHybrid 3 comes with essentially the same equipment as the 335i sedans, only with a hybrid-specific display, special 18-inch Streamline alloy wheels, and there's no Sport, M Sport, or Active Cruise Control option.