The BMW 3 Series is luxury sports sedan royalty. It’s the first car I think of when considering this class, and for good reason — it was the best for a good stretch of time. The BMW ran away from the luxury sports sedan field and won our 2013 Challenge in a landslide. That was the first Challenge that I participated in for Cars.com, and after driving each of the competitors, it was clear that the BMW was the class of the field. It accelerated harder, drove better and felt more refined.
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But the crown has fallen on hard times of late. When we did the Luxury Sports Sedan Challenge again in 2017, the BMW 330i slipped all the way to sixth place. This was due in some part to a curious set of winter tires and strange options, but to me the bigger issue was that a new crop of contenders like the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Cadillac ATS had leapfrogged it — especially when it came to driving acumen.