BMW 3 Series (2019-present)

The latest BMW 3 Series is the new benchmark in the executive saloon class

Strengths & Weaknesses


Entertaining handling
320d engine is economical
Excellent entertainment system


No Android Auto functionality, yet
M Sport suspension is uncomfortably stiff
Costs around £2000 more than outgoing model
Best finance deal

BMW 3 Series Saloon (2015-2018) 318i sport 4dr

Finance price £318 per month

Cash price £19,295

2019 BMW 3 Series prices from £18,995   Finance from £318 per month

Any new BMW 3 series has a tough act to follow but this most recent version rises to the challenge and wins hands down. It has more interior space, greater refinement and a lot more technology on board. Besides its own predecessor, the current 3 Series is the standout entry in its entire class.

Among a number of high-quality rivals including the Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE, the 3 Series offers the most complete package of performance, comfort and practicality.

It’s offered with a typical mix of diesel and petrol engines, most of them paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There’s also the option of BMW’s intelligent xDrive four-wheel-drive system on 2.0-litre diesel versions. It’s intelligent because it can shuffle power between the wheels, sending it to those with the most grip, so preventing wheel spin in slippery conditions.

This latest model has also maintained the balance, steering accuracy, agile handling and supple ride that have become staples of the 3 Series range.

If you do a high mileage and have an eye on economy, the diesel engines, especially the 320d with its decent performance and 56mpg economy, are the obvious choice. In fact you can have your cake and eat it, with the most powerful diesel, the 330d, being the quickest 3 series in the line-up yet still capable of almost 48mpg.

Those drivers doing a lower mileage or who prefer the sweeter refinement and performance of a petrol engine, can choose between the 320i or turbocharged 330i. Either suits the agile 3 series very well.

The new 3 Series is roomier than the previous model, especially in the back. Driver and front passenger have no shortage of space, either, while having a top-quality dashboard to enjoy complete with well-integrated controls and an even better media system than before.

Being a saloon the 3 Series is not as practical as an SUV like the BMW X1 but if comfort with a sporty driving experience and reasonable running costs are your priorities, it wins hands down.

Last Updated 

Friday, September 25, 2020 - 09:00

Key facts 

3 years/unlimited mileage
Boot size: 
660 litres
£170 to £210 in the first year; £140 to £465 in the second

Best BMW 3 Series for... 

BMW 318d SE
With up to 58.9mpg possible from the manual version, the 318d is the clear economy champ. SE trim keeps the price down, too.
BMW 320d xDrive SE
Its blend of strong performance and good economy make the 320d SE perfect for a family with half an eye on their finances. Meanwhile, xDrive provides a valuable layer of additional security on slippery roads.
BMW 330i M Sport
The 330d is quicker but the turbocharged 330i petrol is still very powerful while being smoother, more flexible and more responsive. It suits the sophisticated 3 series much better. M Sport trim adds stiffer suspension and a sporty bodykit to suit.
BMW 318d M Sport auto
A sheep in wolf’s clothing springs to mind when describing this version of the 3 series. The money would be better spent on a 320d Sport, which costs the same.


2019: Model launched 

Understanding BMW 3 Series car names 

  • 3 Series
  • Engine
  • Drive
  • Trim
    M Sport
  • Gearbox
  • Engine
    Normally this number would be a reliable guide to the size of the engine but in BMW’s world it is as much an indicator of power. Granted, in this example it’s a 2.0-litre engine but the 330i is a 2.0 litre also, and not a 3.0 litre. The ‘i’ at the end stands for injection and means it’s a petrol engine. The diesel engines have a ‘d’ for diesel instead.
  • Drive
    This is the name BMW gives its four-wheel drive system that channels the engine’s power to all four wheels. It’s an intelligent system that only sends power to those wheels with the most grip to avoid unsafe wheelspin. It’s only available as an option on 320d automatic versions of the model.
  • Trim
    This tells you how well equipped a specific model is, with M Sport being the most well equipped, and expensive, of the three trim levels. However, basic SE trim has enough features for most drivers.
  • Gearbox
    The transmission isn’t referenced in the car’s name but for the record and when checking prices it’s worth knowing that most versions of the 3 Series have an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Only the 318d and 320d are offered with a cheaper, optional six-speed manual gearbox.

BMW 3 Series Engines 

Petrol: 320i, 330i Diesel: 318d, 320d, 330d

The tax advantages associated with running a diesel rather than a petrol company car may have been eroded in recent years but the engines are still much more economical and dominate the 3 series model range. For example, a 320i can do up to 43.5mpg but its diesel equivalent, the 320d, can do up to 56.5mpg and is just as quick.

Part of its economy advantage is explained by the fact that the most economical 320d has a manual gearbox, while the 320i petrol is only available with a less efficient automatic. In fact, all petrol-engined versions of the 3 Series are automatic.

King of economy is the smallest and least-powerful diesel engine, the 318d. It’s capable of up to 58.9mpg, although is more than a second slower to 62mph than the 320d.

Not that the petrol engines are entirely inferior to the diesels. They’re quieter and smoother for a start, plus a lot more flexible and responsive. They’re lighter, too, so the car is more agile in corners.

However, the diesels do pull strongly through the gears, which is handy when overtaking, make good tow cars and cruise comfortably and quietly over long distances. The best all-rounder is the 20d. The 330d is very quick but the slightly slower 330i, which is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, is more flexible and responsive, and suits the new, finely honed 3 series better.



Fuel economy



Top speed





0-62mph: 7.1s






0-62mph: 5.8s






0-62mph: 8.3-8.4s






0-62mph: 6.8-7.1s






0-62mph: 5.5s


BMW 3 Series Trims 

SE, Sport, M Sport

The 3 Series trim range is quite straightforward with only three levels to choose from.

SE the cheapest and offers most of the things drivers expect on a premium car. They include three-zone climate control, a well specified entertainment system with a sat nav, adaptive LED headlights and a reversing camera.

However, it has only 17in alloy wheels where the next trim level, Sport has 18in wheels. This trim is only £1400 more expensive but also brings a larger fuel tank, turning the diesel versions in particular into long-range touring cars, and heated, leather sports seats. It looks like better value.

Top-spec M Sport replies with sportier details, smarter 18in alloys, stiffer sports suspension and more entertainment features, all for a £1500 premium over Sport. If you want the sportiest-looking 3 Series, this is the trim to have, although it’s best ordered with a suitably powerful engine to match.

BMW 3 Series Reliability and warranty 

This 3 series was too new to feature in the Auto Express Driver Power 2019 owner satisfaction survey but its predecessor did and performed reasonably well, charting at 39 out of 75 models.

Like all BMWs it has a three-year warranty with no mileage limitation. That’s better than the warranty offered with new Audis which are capped at 60,000 miles but lags behind Hyundai’s at five years and Kia’s at seven.

Still, with the exception of the sporty Kia Stinger, these manufacturers’ models are unlikely to appeal to a BMW driver who is likely to be financing their car on a three-year lease deal in any case.

Used BMW 3 Series 

This latest BMW 3 Series should prove popular among used car buyers attracted by its image, styling, performance and lower prices.

The diesel models will hold their value well. The strongest performer in this respect is likely to be a 320d xDrive since it should appeal to private buyers looking for good economy but strong performance with relaxed high-speed cruising ability and secure all-weather grip. The least desirable, because it’s the slowest, cheapest and likely to be a favourite with fleets, will be a 318d SE. It’ll be good value for money, though.

Drivers who do lower mileages and for whom economy is not such an issue, should explore deals on the petrol versions. A used 320i Sport or 330i M Sport will make a great used car buy.

BMW 3 Series Prices

BMW 3 Series M Sport

320i m sport 4dr step auto

  • Doors 4
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 50.4mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £31,812

You could save up to: £4388

320i m sport 4dr step auto [tech pack]

  • Doors 4
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 50.4mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £33,522

You could save up to: £4578

330i m sport 4dr step auto

  • Doors 4
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy 47.9mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £34,861

You could save up to: £5524

BMW 3 Series Sport Pro

330e sport pro 4dr step auto

  • Doors 4
  • Fuel petrol/plugin elec hybrid
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £38,076

You could save up to: £2669

Other Editions