2019 BMW 3 Series: 8 Things We Like and 5 Things We Don’t

bmw-330i-2019-02-dynamic--exterior--front--track--white.jpg 2019 BMW 330i | photo by Christian Lantry

The 2019 BMW 3 Series is smarter, safer and as stylish as this iconic German sports sedan has been for many years. In fact, the BMW 3 Series is the target many car companies aim for when engineering a luxury sedan with agility, power and athletic suspension tuning. That’s flattering when you consider the 3 Series is up against worthy rivals like the Acura TLX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi A4, Genesis G70 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Related: 2019 BMW 330i Review: Now More Machine Than Man

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… Except the 3 Series has been losing some of its magic over the past few years. In our recent review by’s Brian Wong, we wondered how the latest model manages to balance sporty driving with everyday comfort and convenience. It gets half of the equation right thanks to a long list of available safety features, upgraded cabin tech and a smooth highway ride. But did BMW engineers forget to add driving excitement when piecing together the newest 3 Series?

For Wong’s full take on the 3 Series, be sure to check out his in-depth review via the related link above. But if you prefer to quickly uncover the highs and lows of BMW’s iconic luxury sedan, keep scrolling to find out if it remains the moving target on which all others are judged.

Here are eight things we like (along with five frustrations) about the 2019 BMW 3 Series:

Things We Like

1. Strong Standard Engine

The standard engine in the 2019 3 Series is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. If you want added grip under acceleration, all-wheel drive is available in the 330i xDrive. During our time with the 330i in rear-wheel-drive format, we loved the punchy nature of this engine and praised the seamless power as being one of the car’s standout attributes.

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bmw-330i-2019-06-blue--exterior--profile.jpg 2019 BMW 330i | photos by Brian Wong

2. Whip-Smart Automatic

A great engine can be ruined by a dimwitted gearbox. It’s fortunate for the 3 Series (and for us) that its eight-speed automatic transmission delivers near-seamless shifts and operates smoothly.

3. Comfortable Highway Ride

The 3 Series serves up a ride that’s agreeable for long highway trips. We noted that our test car was definitely “tuned for comfort.” (That sounds like good news, but we’ll address the other edge of that blade farther down).

4. Solid MPG for a Sports Sedan

You’re probably not shopping German luxury sedans if you’re strapped for cash at the fuel pump, but it’s still worth pointing out the 3 Series has a modest appetite for fuel — though it does prefer to dine on premium. Our test car was rated at an EPA-estimated 26/36/30 mpg city/highway/combined. Adding all-wheel drive knocks your combined figure to 28 mpg, still respectable for the segment.

5. Tons of Tech

If you’re new to BMW cars and SUVs, the tech in the 3 Series could come as a shock. There’s a lot to take in and multiple ways to go about asking the car to perform various functions. You can operate the dash-mounted touchscreen, use the control dial between the front seats, rely on voice commands or even employ gesture controls. Don’t worry: This is a well-engineered system that gets better with patience and practice.

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bmw-330i-2019-43-camera--center-stack-display--front-row--interior.jpg 2019 BMW 330i | photo by Christian Lantry

6. Rear Seats Are Usable by Adults

The 3 Series has often been knocked for being superb from the driver’s seat, but not so much for anyone riding in the rear. The latest 3 Series feels roomier for everyone aboard; we found the backseats have more than enough legroom for average-sized adults.

7. Generous Trunk Space

The 3 Series delivers plenty of room for shopping bags and luggage, too. Open the trunk and feast your eyes on the 17.0 cubic feet of cargo room. That easily surpasses the trunks of rivals like the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Genesis G70.

8. So Much Safety

The 2019 3 Series is a sports sedan with a soft spot for safety. Available active-safety features include forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, multiple camera views and a blind spot warning system, to name just a few.

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Things We Don’t

1. Not Your 3 Series of Yore

The BMW 3 Series still has name cachet, but the latest model isn’t nearly as sporty or fun as the model we so fondly remember. During our time with the 330i sedan, the car felt disinterested in attacking corners or encouraging spirited driving. It felt composed, comfortable … and totally checked out when we wanted to push the envelope. Vague steering and mixed messages from the suspension are the main culprits here.

bmw-330i-2019-27-front-row--interior.jpg 2019 BMW 330i | photo by Christian Lantry

2. Goodbye Manual Transmission

You’re too late if you want a manual transmission in your 3 Series sedan. It’s gone from the 2019 lineup (and consequently from consideration in’s National Stick Shift Day list of favorites).

3. Dial M for ‘Meh’

It’s worth repeating that the once-revered 3 Series handling only offers extra heft in Sport mode, with no additional road feel. Our test car was equipped with M Performance hardware that usually makes a good thing that much better. But despite adding more than $8,000 to our car’s sticker price, the M Performance brakes, steering and suspension add-ons didn’t equate to any measurable boost in driving enjoyment.

4. CarPlay Costs, Android Auto Absent

How stingy is this? BMW offers a free one-year trial of Apple CarPlay. Beyond that point, you pay 80 bucks per year. Android Auto isn’t even available. When many economy cars add these features as standard equipment, there’s no excuse for BMW to be so cheap.

5. It’s Not the Genesis G70

Want a sports sedan with superb handling, a punchy engine and an available manual transmission? Then get yourself behind the wheel of a Genesis G70. Sorry BMW fans, but the G70 picks up where the 3 Series apparently left off. The price is right, the power is there and the shift-for-yourself gearbox remains, too. The G70 sedan won Best of 2019 award for lots of valid reasons — and BMW shoppers would be wise to make note of them.

bmw-330i-2019-04-angle--dynamic--exterior--rear--track--white.jpg 2019 BMW 330i | photo by Christian Lantry’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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