Pros: Outstanding agility and ride/handling balance; addition of wagon body style and diesel engine option; broad selection of powertrain choices
Cons: Steep pricing; somewhat stingy on standard features; Intrusive automatic start/stop system
CG Says: The BMW 3-Series lineup regains a wagon body style for 2014, but loses its coupe and convertible versions–those are renamed 4-Series. BMW’s premium-compact mainstay continues to excel for its dynamic excellence, solid build quality, and surprising fuel efficiency. The 4-cylinder engine is robust, but not as smooth as we would expect, and on all models, the automatic transmission seems to hold back the engines from delivering on their full performance potential. Base prices are in line with the class, but BMW continues its practice of charging rather exorbitant sums for items that are either standard or much less costly on rival premium-compact cars. The new-for-2014 turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel 328d is a welcome addition. The gas/electric hybrid is also noteworthy, but its projected fuel economy is not much better than its conventional siblings–and it commands a significant price premium over them. The most appealing choice in this lineup is a modestly equipped 335i with the manual transmission. As an added bonus, you can order this configuration with all-wheel drive.