Clean, classy, and elegant, yet sporty through and through: The 2015 BMW 3-Series isn't particularly daring to look at, but it's the classic sport-sedan design, done right.&
Over several decades and many generations, BMW has evolved the 3-Series, from a simple, rather stark sport sedan into something more sophisticated and nuanced. And while the last generation of the 3-Series arguably got a little too complex, BMW has stepped back with the current F30 versions and embraced those classic proportions.
Versus 3-Series models of the recent past, the roofline of the current sedans looks longer, lower, and a little swoopier without looking impractical. It's surely more dynamic than that of its predecessor, with a rising beltline that cuts through the sheetmetal alongside the doors and helps visually lower the hoodline.
Overall, the 3-Series bucks an ongoing (and somewhat tired) trend of making sport sedans more and more wedge-like in profile, and with relatively level doors, lower doorlines, and a little more window space, it's a refreshing departure here as the 'weight' of the car visually downward (adding perceived width).
Neat and nicely detailed is the best way to sum up the 3-Series' exterior up close. The 3-Series wears BMW's corporate front end better than the other sedans in the lineup; its headlights nicely wrap into the corners of the kidney grille, which helps the 3-Series wear a lower, more aggressive face. In back, the 3-Series is mostly reserved, with a tidy rear bumper that finishes off the car handsomely.
Inside, the plain and new approach to the 3-Series is actually fairly refreshing; there aren't any styling cues of past cars and the horizontal dash opens up for more interior space than previous models. The interior layout is a cohesive design that was missing from prior generations of the 3-Series. In keeping with the latest trend for dash design, the dash itself is quite low while a slim, tablet-like widescreen display on the dash stands alone but fits right in. Meanwhile, the trim and dash can be finished in brushed aluminum or wood—depending on your level of luxury—with high-tech touches to keep the car current. Just try every color and trim combination before you buy, as some of them are pretty visually busy.
The 3-Series sedans can be equipped with many different trim lines and appearance packages, and they tend to make the most difference inside the cabin. 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; Additionally, for 2015, there's new Oyster Dakota leather and brushed aluminum trim, while dark burl walnut wood is now available with the Sport Line and Fineline Anthracite wood trim is offered in the M Sport. Through the BMW Individual line, you can get a number of other special trims, including a leather dash.
Last year, BMW cleaved the coupe and convertible models from the 3-Series lineup, assigning those models with a 4-Series designation. The 3-Series gained a new body style, a Gran Turismo hatchback, which is a tall-riding version of the sedan. The hatchback is 8 inches longer with 4 inches added to the wheelbase and it's 3 inches taller, which amounts to a shape that shares virtually no body panels with the sedan, but is instantly recognizable as a 3-Series. The frameless windows, rear spoiler, and hatch add to a coupe-like roofline that pushes the 3-Series entry further into a new direction that's solidly one-third wagon, one-third fastback, and one-third crossover.
One more body style helps fill the void left by the coupe and convertible's departure. A 3-Series sport wagon offers the same good looks as the sedan, but extends the roofline in the rear to maximize interior room and cargo capacity.