Offered in 328 and 335 models, BMW's compact 3 Series is the luxury automaker's bread-and-butter model. For 2013, a new ActiveHybrid 3 sedan is available. It's covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
The 3 Series is available in sedan, coupe and retractable-hardtop convertible body styles, and a high-performance M3 version (covered separately) is also offered. The 3 Series competes with the Audi A4, Infiniti G and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
New for 2013
A new M Sport Line is available for the 328 and 335, and it brings 18-inch alloy wheels, sports seats, a sport suspension, an M steering wheel and styling changes.
The sedan is now offered with all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive, and the 328 and 335 sedans can have newly optional active cruise control with Stop & Go technology, which maintains space between other cars in heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic. If the gap between cars closes, the system will bring your car to a complete stop.
The sedan is 3.7 inches longer than the previous generation, and its exterior design has evolved. Different grille, side mirror and tailpipe treatments distinguish among the sedan's base, Modern, Sport, M Sport and Luxury trim levels, which come as option packages called "lines."
Coupes and convertibles have different front and rear styling touches. The 335is has a unique front air dam with larger air intakes. Exterior features include:
- Standard adaptive xenon headlights
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Optional 18- or 19-inch wheels
- Optional Active Steering system with speed-sensitive assist
- Optional automatic high beams
Sedans seat five, but there's room for only four in the coupe and convertible. The iDrive system — standard in the sedan but available only with an optional navigation system in the others — is BMW's latest version, revamped with better graphics, more shortcut keys and improved menu functionality.
The sedan features an updated interior with more backseat legroom and a larger trunk. Its optional Sport line includes sport seats and steering wheel. Interior features include:
- Push-button start
- Standard automatic climate control
- Optional front and rear parking assist
- Optional navigation system
- Optional Dynamic Cruise Control can gently apply the brakes to maintain a preset speed
- Standard HD radio
- Optional satellite radio
Under the Hood
The 328 sedan's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes 240 horsepower. The other body styles retain the 230-hp, normally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine.
A 300-hp, single-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder is found in all 335 body styles, though the sedan now offers an eight-speed automatic while the other body styles still have a six-speed automatic. Additional mechanical features include:
- All 3 Series models can also have a six-speed manual
- 335is coupe and convertible has a twin-turbo 320-hp 3.0-liter engine
- Seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is optional for the 335is
Convertibles are not available with side curtain airbags like the other body styles. Convertibles do get side airbag head extensions. Safety features include:
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
- Side curtain airbags (not available on convertible)
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Active front head restraints
- Available active cruise control with Stop & Go technology
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