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.
That much hasn't changed. Across sedan, wagon, and Gran Turismo hatchback forms, the 2014 BMW 3-Series lineup is offered in a wide range of models and powertrains, varying from very economical to performance-oriented. And with a long list of options and trims on offer, there are plenty of chances to add equipment and pizazz.
At the base level, there's an impressive list of features, including a moonroof, automatic climate control, dynamic cruise control, ambient lighting, and fog lamps, as well satellite radio compatibility and HD Radio. Step up to any of the 335i models and you get a few more features, including larger 18-inch alloys, power front seats, and xenon headlamps with adaptive light control. All models include Bluetooth hands-free and USB audio capabilities.
Again, the 2014 BMW 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. An M Sport line adds special 18-inch BMW M wheels, a sport suspension, an M steering wheel, and an aerodynamic package, plus Aluminum Hexagon interior trim and an anthracite headliner. There’s also a long list of a la carte items that includes performance items like the variable sport steering and Adaptive M suspension, plus items such as rear sunshades and upgraded wheels and trim.
Dip into the options list for the 3-Series and you can raise the sticker price, easily, by thousands. Yet you'll gain items that either add luxury ambiance, performance improvements, or advanced-tech appeal. For instance, the head-up display (HUD) is especially well-placed and useful here, while heated front and rear seats, as well as a heated steering wheel and retractable headlight washers, are all part of the Cold Weather Package. A Driver Assistance Package brings Lane Departure Warning and Active Blind Spot Detection. The Park Distance Control system is part of a Parking Package, which also includes a rear-view camera and the Side and Top View camera system.
For 2014, BMW has added a new iDrive rotary controller, containing an integral touch pad, to models with navigation. The navigation system also includes real-time traffic information and 3D topographical views--a feature that can help when you're road-tripping through mountains.
Separately, there's still 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.
Equipment for the 3-Series Gran Turismo and the ActiveHybrid 3 is essentially the same as with the other 3-Series models. Hybrid models include as much as 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.