BMW 3 Series Review

Gumtree Rating

4.5 rating

For fans of luxury cars, the BMW 3 Series has always been a firm favourite. Its popularity has grown consistently since its introduction in 1975, and it’s now the German brand’s bestselling model. The 3 Series competes boldly with other compact executive cars like the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class, favouring agility over the C-Class’s creature comforts. With a wide range of body styles and trims to choose from, the BMW 3 Series strikes a reasonable balance between price and quality – there’s a reason it’s the UK’s favourite beamer.

Check out the BMW 3 Series model page to see more about this model.

What we think about the BMW 3 Series

While it may not be top of the pile for pure comfort, great performance and handling make the 3 Series an attractive choice. It offers a fluid blend of power, efficiency and elegance.



Exceptional handling


Great range of engines


Impressive entertainment system


Quite stiff suspension

Noticeable road noise

Introduced in 2018, the latest-generation Saloon and Touring models come in three trims: SE, Sport, and the high-performance M Sport. With seven generations in the bag, the 3 Series has seen a whole bunch of improvements in its engine, interior and exterior, with these newer models being perhaps the best yet.

Driving performance of the Bmw 3 Series

Our Driving Rating8 / 10

The seventh-gen 3 Series is a chart-topper when it comes to outstanding performance and handling. It features two transmissions – the six-speed manual transmission and the eight-speed automatic transmission. The latter offers better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions than the manual. Suspension-wise, the latest 3 Series is a little stiff in some trims, notably on the M Sport, but damper systems can help smoothen the ride at an extra cost. When it comes to towing capacity, the 3 Series Touring beats out the Ford Focus, dragging car and caravan from 30 – 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.

Safety and reliability of the Bmw 3 Series

Our Safety Rating9 / 10

BMW maintains a reputation for making safe cars, and the 3 Series is no different. The 2019 version was given a five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP after being put through rigorous testing. All variants of the 2019 and 2020 models come with a thorough safety system, termed Active Guard Plus. It includes lane departure warning to alert you when you’re driving out of your lane, and a pedestrian alert system to inform you about oncoming foot traffic. The top-notch mechanical components can be pricey to replace, but the point is you won’t often need to – they’re built to last.

Under the bonnet of the Bmw 3 Series

Our Engine Rating8 / 10

One great advantage of the 2020 3 Series is you get to choose from a wide range of engine options. For those who love a more entertaining and speedy ride, the 330e plug-in hybrid packs a combined power output of 252 horsepower, making both efficient and fast. The 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine packs a power output of 184 bhp, completes a 0-62 mph sprint in 7.1 seconds and can reach a top speed of 149 mph. Not exactly a slouch. If your preference is the diesel engine, the top range 2.0-litre turbocharged variants can reach a top speed of 155mph.

What you'll find in the Bmw 3 Series

Our Design Rating8 / 10

The interiors of the more recent 3 Series carry over some design notes from the 5 Series and 7 Series, which is no bad thing. It’s available as a four-door saloon and a five-door estate, the Touring. Both feature an exquisite dashboard layout that displays lots of helpful information, making tracking metrics like fuel efficiency nice and easy. The 3 Series also comes with supportive driver seats, although you’ll have to pay extra for adjustable lumbar support. Its boot space is sizeable in most versions and can swallow up a couple of suitcases, making it a good companion for road trips.

Comfort and interiors in the Bmw 3 Series

Our Comfort Rating8 / 10

The 3 Series features an adjustable steering wheel and bunch of seat-shifting options for extra comfort. In general, it’s a little more driver-centric than its peers, the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class. Most variants have a bright and elegant interior, though the M Series comes with a darker, more brooding headlining. Some of the mid-range and high-trim models feature leather seats if you’re looking for added luxury. A noticeable advantage on long trips is the hushed cabin, so engine, wind and traffic sounds are satisfyingly muted.

BMW 3 series interior dashboard

What features you'll find in the Bmw 3 Series

Our Features Rating9 / 10

When it comes to features, the 3 Series is out to impress with its standard 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors and impressive infotainment systems. The stylish M Sport features a tougher and sportier exterior to match its performance upgrades. As a rule, the 3 Series might generally prize poise and control over comfort, but it features heated front seats in all its newer models. There are plenty of comfort-increasing extras too – for an improved driving posture and support, go for the sport seats in the M Sport trim.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Bmw 3 Series

Our Fuel Consumption Rating7 / 10

As you’d expect, fuel economy in the 3 Series varies depending on the size of the tyres and wheels. The most recent range of diesel engines manage a very respectable 44.1 – 62.8 mpg, and the petrol variants aren’t too far behind with 34 – 44.8 mpg. Not bad at all, considering the speed and performance on offer. Unsurprisingly, eco-conscious buyers will want to go for the plug-in hybrid models, which manage an impressive 166.2 – 217.3 mpg depending on the age and engine size. The fuel consumption of the 3 Series is relatively frugal compared to the Mercedes C-Class.

Running costs of the Bmw 3 Series

Our Cost Rating6 / 10

The 3 Series sits between the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class when ranked by cost, and all three models offer a three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. The Touring and Saloon 3 Series models are competitively classed in insurance groups 25 – 39, which isn’t bad for a luxury car. All iterations from 2006 onward are equipped with Condition-Based Servicing systems to keep track of maintenance parameters, including the engine oil and the condition of the brake fluid. When it’s time for a service, a warning will let you know.

Our verdict of the Bmw 3 Series

4.5 rating

4.5 / 5 Gumtree rating

With stylish looks, top-notch safety features and powerful engines, the 3 Series is an ideal match for small families or anyone who loves a fun driving experience.