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.
Not much about the interior of the 3-Series is nostalgic or a throwback to prior generations either. The new interior is a more cohesive design, something that was lacking from the last model. The instrument panel is laid out in a horizontal way that maximizes interior space and presents the optional, widescreen display on the dash by itself. The display fits in, but feels a little like a bolt-on appendage, rather than part of the overall aesthetic. The high-tech dashboard can be complemented with a range of finishes, including brushed aluminum or wood, depending on your definition of luxury. There are a long list of new options, including a tan dashboard, that wasn't available on the old 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. Sport-trimmed models boast red accents and blacked-out trim pieces; Modern-line cars use a satin-aluminum grille, with dark oyster or black leather seating surfaces and pearl trim or wood inlays; Luxury-line cars have a chrome grille, glossy wood trim and chrome accents on the inside.