The 2015 BMW 3-Series covers an incredibly wide range of features, options, body styles, and appearance packages, but between all of them, there's one unifying thread: owners are those who enjoy driving.
Across sedan, wagon, and Gran Turismo hatchback forms, the BMW 3-Series lineup varies from very economical to performance-oriented. Stick to the base level, and 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.
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.
You get a few more features if you step up to any of the 335i models. They get larger 18-inch alloys, power front seats, and xenon headlamps with adaptive light control. All models include Bluetooth hands-free and USB audio capabilities.
A number of packages, like the Luxury Line package or Sport package, can significantly change the look of the vehicle through trim changes. And if you want something more, the 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.
Through a very long list of a la carte options, you can add performance items like variable sport steering and the Adaptive M suspension, plus items such as rear sunshades and upgraded wheels. But beware; dip into the options list for the 3-Series and you can raise the price by many thousands.
For those who appreciate in-car tech,there's plenty to splurge on. We think that 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 worthwhile as part of the Cold Weather Package. 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; and there's a Driver Assistance Package that brings Lane Departure Warning and Active Blind Spot Detection.
BMW's iDrive rotary controller now includes an integral touch pad in models with navigation. You can trace out individual letters on the controller, and the nav system has real-time traffic information and 3D topo maps--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. Just beware that you need to have an iPhone to use this.