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STYLING | 8 out of 10
The aero-sleek nose is the most striking aspect of the car, bearing a passing resemblance to the Z4's.
Contrasting stitching, anodized trim pieces, and red gauge markings do an excellent job of burying BMW’s past reputation for black-and-white austerity.
Car and Driver
Everywhere your eyes land, there are creases, and all of that surface motion only works to give the car an air of Hyundai Sonata--if not literally, then certainly in effect.
The most obvious change to the 3 Series face is the enhanced status given the twin kidney grilles, which are now wider, lean forward and you can also see their chromed surrounds from the side of the car.
Edmunds' Inside Line
The 2013 BMW 3-Series sedans are instantly recognizable as BMWs, yet they stand out as clearly different visually from the outgoing E90 versions—which are still sold for 2013 in Coupe and Convertible form.
Overall, the roofline looks longer, lower, and a little swoopier without looking impractical. A more dynamic, rising beltline also cuts through the sheetmetal alongside the doors and helps visually lower the hoodline. At the same time, the doors are relatively level, and there's more glass space and lower doorlines than you might expect. It's an evolution, yet one that goes in a refreshing direction when you hold it up to all the high-beltline sport-sedan designs of the past decade.
Looking at details, we think the new 3-Series wears the current BMW-family front end better than any of the other models in the lineup; the familiar kidney grille is wide here, and headlights curve around the corners, altogether giving it a wider, more aggressive look. In back, the 3-Series is at its most traditional and conservative.
BMW hasn't held back inside; there’s really nothing retro or nostalgic about the new-generation 3-Series. The new interior provides a coherence and forward-looking aesthetic missing from the last model, with the instrument panel's straight-across orientation serving to maximize space. A slim, tablet-like optional widescreen display on the dash stands alone but fits right in, while understated but high-tech-looking appliqués on the face of the dashboard, done in brushed aluminum or wood, make your statement of luxury, whatever that might be. There are also a wide range of new options, including a tan dashboard, that weren't available on the previous model.
The 3-Series sedans are being offered in three different trim lines—Luxury, Modern, and Sport—and each of them cover the details with different materials and finishes. For instance, Sport cars have blacked-out detailing and red accents; Luxury-line cars come with chromed grille slats and more chrome on the outside, and glossy wood trim on the inside; Modern-line cars include satin-aluminum for the grille and brightwork, with dark oyster or black leather inside, combined with pearl trim and wood inlays.
Taking a look back at the interior of the 2013 3-Series Coupe and Convertible models, we can't help but think that the newer Sedans are a little busy in some of their interior variations, and all of their clever cut lines and transitioning surfaces inside.
Busy interiors aside, the BMW 3-Series sedan and wagon have a trim, athletic look.