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The redesigned BMW 3 Series is still a genuinely attractive all-arounder and the standard premium sporty sedan. The freshly revised model is more comprehensive than ever and still has that fun-to-drive factor that competitors simply can’t relatively equal, thanks to new technologies. The whole scoop is in our evaluation of the 2022 BMW 3 Series.
As it enters its seventh generation, the BMW 3 Series is up against fierce competition from all sides. Previously, it had to compete with other high-end sedans almost identical to it, such as the Jaguar XE, the Audi A4, and the venerable Mercedes C-Class. However, the market has seen significant upheaval recently.
The 3 Series must also entice customers away from comparably large and expensive electric competitors like the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 in 2022, not to mention the enormous selection of luxury SUVs, which are now often chosen. The BMW 3 Series, however, continues to be one of the most sought-after executive vehicles on the market thanks to recent modifications. With an engine to fit practically every customer, it makes a strong case for being relevant today.
The inside of the most recent BMW 3 Series has seen the most significant development since it initially went on sale in 2018. Let’s start there. The 3 Series costs more than a Skoda Superb because every material is flawlessly polished, and the thick-rimmed steering wheel and supportive seats make long drives comfortable, whether driving on the freeway or conquering country roads with gusto.
For our tastes, some automakers are too eager to embrace simplicity, but BMW has always managed to strike the perfect balance between design and an intuitive infotainment system. A stunning curved media display that is new for 2022 on the BMW 3 Series, similar to those in the BMW iX and i4, makes the most recent 3 Series seem thoroughly modern inside, but not at the price of user-friendliness except for one detail (more on that later). It is impressively a standard across the board and has a contemporary appearance. BMW’s superb rotary iDrive controller and voice-activated personal assistant are still available.
Although family shoppers may wish to choose the BMW 3 Series Touring instead due to its slightly larger trunk (or an SUV like the BMW X3 or Hyundai Tucson), the BMW 3 Series is simple to become comfortable in. The only notable difference you’ll notice between the pre-facelift and facelifted 3 Series is the changeover from a lever to a toggle for the automatic gearbox selection; otherwise, there are no differences in terms of practicality.
The BMW i4 is the closest electric BMW 3 Series now on the market, but you can still acquire one with an engine to fit practically any preference. The BMW 320d is a fantastic all-arounder, combining a smooth (and quite efficient) engine with cheap operating costs, even if diesel may be considered a filthy word in 2022. An absolute “have your cake and eat it” sort of vehicle, the BMW M340d xDrive utilizes one of the most excellent diesel engines we’ve ever tested, a 340PS 3.0-litre straight-six.
The range of petrol vehicles includes the relatively unimpressive (and now discontinued) BMW 318i and the M3-chaser BMW M340i. The BMW 320i is one of the greatest all-rounders you can buy, but the 330i, which is smooth and understated and maybe the lineup’s connoisseur’s pick, also has its charms. The BMW 330e plug-in hybrid, which combines a 2.0-litre gasoline engine with an electric motor to provide an electric-only range of up to 38 miles, is one example of a hybrid vehicle. It’s perfect for getting about town quickly (or, more crucially for many, paying the least corporate vehicle tax).
A BMW 3 Series is never a terrible car to drive. Rear-wheel drive is the norm for automobiles, which, when paired with excellent handling, makes the 3 Series seem elegant and enjoyable. Additionally, xDrive all-wheel drive is an option that adds a little additional security in slick circumstances while doing nothing to dampen the excitement. The fantastic eight-speed automatic transmission that is now standard on all BMW 3 Series vehicles is similarly outstanding.
BMW has spent more than 40 years perfecting the 3 Series, so it’s a pity that the market is now shifting (rapidly) away from the high-end three-box saloon. Even if the most recent upgrades to the 3 Series aren’t very spectacular, the newest infotainment guarantees that it still appears contemporary in today’s technologically advanced world. The 3 Series continues to be a very appealing option when you add it to a premium interior and BMW’s customary excellent driving performance.
Is the 2022 BMW 3 Series right for you?
Why else would you see so many BMW 3 Series on the road if it weren’t the correct vehicle for so many people?
It has long been a popular fleet vehicle, and BMW has tried to make operating costs manageable with low emissions and exceptional fuel efficiency. It has excellent residual values. Most motorists’ inquiries can be answered by a 320d, while a 330e accomplishes all that while preserving the environment since it can make short trips entirely on electricity.
But it also functions as the primary family vehicle for private purchasers. The BMW 3 Series Touring is as lovely in estate form if you want extra room.
The only persons for whom the BMW 3 Series is inappropriate are those who wish to stand out since it would be difficult to take even a brief trip without coming across many. If that’s what counts, you’d be better off trying one of its less well-liked competitors, and it will likely become rarer as SUVs take over the sales charts.
What is the most excellent model or engine for a BMW 3 Series?
While the original entry-level 318i is sufficient if you’re simply pottering about, it doesn’t offer the goods like a sports saloon. However, there isn’t a weak link in the BMW portfolio. We highly advise upgrading to the more powerful 320i if you’re considering a 3 Series at the lower price spectrum.
Diesel is losing favour with consumers of new cars, which is unfortunate since the 320d is a fantastic all-arounder. When driven correctly, it offers good refinement, powerful performance, and the potential for over 60 mpg.
If you want a six-cylinder engine, BMW no longer offers one in the 330i; instead, you must upgrade to the sportier M340i. Although it costs a lot to acquire and maintain, that automobile is excellent to drive. The 330d still has a six-cylinder engine, but it’s a terrific engine—smooth, strong, and still able to cruise at 50 mpg.
If your budget allows for it, the 330e is worth considering if you drive a corporate vehicle or want to reduce your operating expenses to a minimum. It ranks as one of our favourite hybrid vehicles since it can go up to 38 miles on electricity alone.
Since the release of the most recent model in 2019, the BMW 3 Series lineup has undergone practically constant revisions. Therefore, we advise purchasing the most modern vehicle you can afford. The 2022 3 Series has a new touchscreen that we enjoy, but those who like more tactile buttons may purchase a pre-facelift model.
Which other vehicles compare well to the BMW 3 Series?
In the elite family vehicle category, the BMW 3 Series is joined by the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. They sell in comparable quantities and are its major rivals. Although they may not be nearly as outstanding, many other competitors have much to offer.
Alfa Romeo Giulia and the Jaguar XE are attractive and enjoyable to drive. The Volvo S60 is plush and elegant, while the Genesis G70 is out of left field. All have their attraction, even if none are quite as capable as the BMW in every respect.
While the Mazda 6 could entice you, if interior capacity is your priority, the Skoda Superb dwarfs the 3 Series. Other mainstream brand rivals are the roomy, elegant Volkswagen Passat and rakish Arteon.
Of course, you could also be thinking of going electric in this day and age. One of the most excellent electric vehicles on the market and a viable substitute for the 3 Series is the BMW i4. Additionally, we advise considering the Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2, and Kia EV6.
Inside the BMW 3 Series, comfort and design
“BMW has always excelled at creating a pleasant driving experience, as seen by the phenomenal sales of the 3 Series. Anyone who has owned a 3 Series previously will recognize the style; the driver-focused cockpit vibe is still there but with a more contemporary twist.
The most recent BMW 3 Series features a far more upscale and sophisticated interior than any of its predecessors, but BMW hasn’t compromised on the fundamentals.
The seats are supportive and comfy, starting with the Sport model; they are covered in leather. The driving posture is low and athletic. To maximize your comfort, the SE Plus Package (available on SE models) includes heated black leather seats for the driver and passenger and a bigger fuel tank.
While a saloon makes parking challenging by just glancing in the rearview mirror, newer cars have superb forward sight. Thankfully, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and a limited self-parking system are included as standard features. A complete 360-degree camera system is available as an option.
All 3 Series vehicles have ambient lighting and three-zone automatic air conditioning, but Sport variants also have more sport seats with contours that hug you closer than SE models.
With the Comfort Package, you get a heated steering wheel, an automatic tailgate opener, more storage space, and Comfort Access with an intelligent opener so you can unlock the door with your phone while still in the vehicle. The Premium item, which adds an electric glass sunroof, lumbar support, and seat adjustment for the front seats with memory for the driver’s position, is another item that is worthwhile to select. Individual lumbar support is offered.
Space is superior because it is a bigger vehicle than the previous 3 Series generation. Although it’s not nearly as plentiful as the 5 Series, there is now a real option for popular family vehicles for those seeking something unique.
Its interior isn’t nearly as opulent as the most recent Mercedes C-Class, but it can hold its own against the Audi A4 regarding technology, fit, and finish. Such technology is extensive, particularly with the most recent infotainment system and digital dials. However, BMW has preserved the rotary click wheel in addition to the touchscreen, making it one of the most user-friendly systems of its kind. Our main gripe is that the physical stack for the climate control has been removed; you’ll either need to utilize voice control or prod the touchscreen to change the temperature.
Quality and finish
The luxurious inside of the BMW 3 Series, which has high-quality soft-touch plastics and elegant metal trim pieces, primarily reflects that it is a premium vehicle with an upscale logo. High-definition screens with vibrant colours are also included on the instrument and infotainment panels.
It has the impression of being a step above popular sedans and estates like the VW Passat. It would be difficult to find anything that doesn’t seem appropriately premium, even when you begin to probe and prod in the bottom depths of the cabin. The back is the same as the front. It’s a toss-up between whether the Audi A4 seems somewhat more granite-hewn.
The most significant modification will be introducing the brand’s eighth-generation infotainment system to the BMW 3 Series in 2022. It now has the same curved display as the BMW iX, which combines a large 14.9-inch central infotainment screen with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The temperature control is now integrated with the navigation instead of having a separate bank of buttons below the screen, making it more minimalist than previously.
The second aspect can cause slight annoyance to certain people since, particularly while driving, it is so simple to turn a knob or poke a button to change the fan speed or temperature. Fortunately, it isn’t a deal-breaker since a strip at the bottom of the screen is permanently reserved for temperature settings. You also have voice control, which works well when you ask it to “turn down the temperature” or “turn on my seat heater.”
Still included is a handy rotary iDrive controller mounted to the transmission tunnel. This is fantastic since it lets you use one hand to use the infotainment system without bending forward and prod the touchscreen display. Unfortunately, or luckily, depending on your perspective, the 3 Series no longer offers gesture control. On previous versions, you may use this to change the volume or skip a track by fumbling about with your figure in the general direction of the navigation. While many people, including BMW customers, didn’t like it, others did. It was thus subtly discarded.
From the car’s 2019 launch, all models included the BMW Live Cockpit Plus, which has an 8.8-inch touch screen, DAB radio, remote services (so you can do things like check the car’s remaining range using an app on your phone), BMW navigation, and BMW Concierge services. BMW Online Services, which include BMW Apps, BMW Linked, and several other related features, are included.
Upscale M Sport versions get the linked Package Professional, which adds coupled navigation with the ability to avoid traffic and look for parking. BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional is available on M Sport models and upwards, increasing the primary screen to 10.25 inches and replacing the standard instruments with an extra 12.3-inch screen. BMW improved the direct offering around the end of 2020, and most vehicles arrived with a bigger infotainment screen.
What about smartphone connection for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay? Though BMW first sought to charge a monthly fee for it, the former has always been accessible. In 2019, it was abandoned entirely, making wireless CarPlay standard on every 3 Series. Like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto wasn’t available until BMW added it to new models and upgraded older models to include it by the end of 2020.
BMW 3 Series trunk area
The most recent BMW 3 Series is more extensive than its replaced model. It is around 90mm longer and 14mm wider than the previous vehicle, measuring 4713mm long, 1827mm broad, and 1435mm height.
As a result, the corporation has a ton of additional space for the back seats. There is more than enough foot and knee space; even those six feet tall won’t feel like they lack headroom. Tall adults will have enough room, even if you and your front-seat passenger are similarly lofty.
Okay, so your middle-seat passenger has it rough since there isn’t much room for their feet, and they won’t have much elbow room due to the massive transmission tunnel that runs down the centre of the floor. However, it isn’t any more squashed than in any of the BMW’s rivals (in fact, it’s better than most), and the seat is decently comfortable rather than being too rigid like in other vehicles.
The Comfort Package adds Extended Storage, which includes a compartment on the driver’s side of the dashboard, seatback nets, twin USB charging points in the back, storage hooks, a 12-volt socket in the boot, as well as a handsfree, powered boot lid. Oddment storage is decent throughout, with good-sized door bins and a glovebox.
With a capacity of 480 litres for all conventionally powered vehicles, the claimed volume drops to 375 litres for the 330e model due to the battery pack being installed beneath the boot floor. The conventional 40/20/40 split-fold seating, which enhances baggage capacity and enables longer through loads, is also lost in the 330e.
The 3 Series boot is easily accessible and has a large aperture that makes it easier to load baggage inside. Check out the Touring variant of the 3 Series if you want extra functionality from your vehicle. On the two outside rear seats, two Isofix mounts come as standard.
Ride and handling quality:
The design of front-engine, rear-wheel drive vehicles is not exclusive to BMW. Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar also use this system, but BMW has historically been the best at doing so due to its excellent balance and direct steering. This makes any 3 Series a delight to drive on a winding route.
The BMW 3 Series has long been the gold standard in its class for thrilling driving experiences. Few competitors have come close to matching it in terms of handling. However, few have beaten it for pure comfort.
With the most recent model, it persists. The 3 Series feels light and agile with rapid turn-in, decent grip levels, and perfect balance. The steering is precise and well-weighted. When it comes to driving enjoyment, only the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia can compete.
That’s true when equipped with the most miniature wheels and conventional (not run-flat) tires, as with the SE or Sport trim levels. However, the bigger wheels added to high-end versions tend to compromise the supple suspension, making a well-equipped Mercedes C-Class more comfortable. But if you prefer the standard setup, BMW would gladly change to the stiffer M Sport suspension.
On M Sport models, adaptive dampers are available as part of the M Sport Plus package. These dampers give you the best of both worlds: tight control when you need it and the option of a supple ride for more comfort. Although some models come with XDrive four-wheel drive, it is not essential unless you often travel on slick roads or want more stability when towing.
With a tauter suspension and more intelligent driving modes, including (on the xDrive version) the ability to instantly convert from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive, the BMW M3 is a more competent, hard-charging sports sedan. It is undoubtedly more thrilling than the standard versions, but using it to its full potential on the road is complex; a track is where it shines.
What BMW 3 Series engines and transmissions are offered?
A wide selection of gasoline, diesel, and hybrid engines are available for the BMW 3 Series. Only the tiniest machines are a little lacklustre; otherwise, every device is superb.
The standard gasoline engine for the most recent 3 Series was a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 156 PS, while the base diesel engine for the 318d was a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder with 150 PS. Both are sufficient and execute the required tasks, but they lack the performance to appreciate the 3 Series’ exceptional driving characteristics.
The 184PS version of the same engine, designated 320i (now the entry-level vehicle), or the 288PS type, selected 330i, were the options for the petrol side. The latter, in particular, gives excellent performance, but their uninspiring four-cylinder noise doesn’t help. The 330i completes the sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 5.8 seconds, while the 320i does it in 7.1 seconds (7.6 with xDrive).
The top-of-the-line M340i, which features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre with 374PS, is required if you want a six-cylinder engine with a buttery roar. It accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in only 4.4 seconds, almost four seconds quicker than the 318i, and does so loudly. Its efficiency isn’t awe-inspiring on paper, but it’ll be relatively efficient if you are careful with the throttle.
Even fans would find it difficult to defend the most recent BMW M3, given how quick and capable the M340i is. However, a 3.0-litre straight-six engine that is even more finely tuned allows it to produce a whopping 510PS and accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in only 3.9 seconds. Even better, the M3 is now available for the first time in xDrive configuration, which reduces the 0-62 mph time to an incredible 3.5 seconds and improves poor weather security.
The vehicle’s popularity has historically depended heavily on diesel engines, and several options are available now. As we previously said, we would upgrade from the 318d to the 190PS 320d (the earlier model was discontinued, the 2022 facelift), providing an easy and enjoyable performance. 0-62 mph is reached in a snappy 6.8 seconds.
But once again, you could be persuaded by the six cylinders’ quickness and smoothness. The 330d and the 340d feature six cylinders, making them more refined than the lower-ranking diesel. The 330d has a 3.0-litre turbodiesel with 286PS, while the 340d tops the diesel line-up with 340PS. They both move rather quickly and even generate a decent amount of noise. Compared to the 330d, the 340d accelerates to 62 mph in under 4.6 seconds.
While the 288PS 2.0-litre petrol/electric hybrid in the 330e is the ideal solution if you’re torn between performance and the environment, it has a four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine for longer journeys and plug-in power for local driving (up to 38 miles).
The entry-level 318i and 318d models of the most recent 3 Series were the only ones initially offered with a manual transmission. The whole range is now auto-only since these engines have been discontinued. That’s a good thing since the eight-speed automatic transmission is one of the best auto gearboxes on the market.
Trim levels and common accessories
17-inch light-alloy wheels are now a standard feature for all BMW 3 Series cars as of the 2022 update. The BMW Performance versions come with 19-inch light-alloy wheels, while the M Sport variant has 18-inch light-alloy wheels as standard. Skyscraper Grey Metallic and Brooklyn Grey Metallic have been added to M Sport vehicles’ list of exterior paint colours. The selection has recently expanded to include the BMW Individual Frozen Pure Grey metallic and Frozen Tanzanite Blue metallic unique paint treatments.
On M Sport versions, chrome highlights draw attention to the twin bars on the BMW kidney grille, which has a sizable centre air intake with hexagonal outlines and a honeycomb design. At the front end’s outside margins, air curtains with a deep depression emphasize its breadth. Vertical reflectors at the borders and a sizable diffuser on the M-specific rear apron underline the car’s sports nature. Except for plug-in hybrid vehicles, M Sport models have M Sport suspension, variable sport steering, and newly designed 18-inch M light-alloy wheels with mixed tyres. Anthracite-coloured headliner, an M leather steering wheel, M-specific upholstery, and inside trim finishers in the new Aluminium Rhombicle Anthracite finish are just a few of the custom interior features included with the M Sport specification.
There have been improvements made to the M Sport Pro Pack. This package, which is exclusive to M Sport models, includes sprint mode in addition to the extended M High-gloss Shadowline trim, which adds a Black kidney grille surround and Black Chrome tailpipes, as well as M lights Shadowline, an M Sport braking system with Red callipers bearing the M logo, a Black M rear spoiler for the Saloon models, and Seat Belts with Contrast Stitching in the Colors of BMW M.
The BMW Performance versions in the new BMW 3 Series lineup are even more dynamic thanks to M-specific external elements like massive air intakes and aerodynamically improved detailing. BMW kidney grilles with mesh designs, distinctive 19-inch M light-alloy wheels, trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes, and new M exterior mirror caps in Black high-gloss are all features of the BMW M340i xDrive and BMW M340d xDrive. Another addition to the Saloon models is a Black Sapphire M rear spoiler. Both versions have adaptive LED headlights with blue highlights as standard equipment.