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2015 BMW 3-Series
2015 BMW 3-Series
2015 BMW 3-Series
BMW 3-Series Sedan:
A favorite among the automotive press and shoppers alike, BMW’s premium-compact car is also the brand’s best seller. The sedan was redesigned for 2012. It didn’t look a whole lot different than its predecessor, but there was plenty going on under the hood and inside the cabin to talk about. The wagon carried over for 2012, then took 2013 off and returned with a new design for 2014. The 3-Series coupe and convertible carried over into 2013 with only minor changes. For 2014, the redesigned coupe and convertible returned labeled 4-Series. (See separate report)
The 3-Series sedan was no longer exclusively a 6-cylinder or V8-powered car. BMW brought its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to the lineup. Interiors were also revamped for 2012 with new connectivity features.
BMW 3-Series Sedan:
BMW did a gradual rollout of new 3-Series sedans. Model names were the same as 2011 and included base 328i and uplevel 335i. Rear-wheel-drive versions came first. Gas/electric “ActiveHybrid”, xDrive all-wheel drive, and performance-themed M Sport variants arrived later in the year.
We normally report here about what comes standard, including features that might be unusual. What’s bizarre about the 3-Series, though, was that many things you might have expected to be standard were, well…not. Wanted leather upholstery, heated front seats, a USB port, and a Bluetooth wireless cell phone link? Had pay extra for those. Even satellite radio and split-folding rear seat backs required additional cash.
The car did offer some cool high-tech features, which naturally cost extra. Those included a head-up instrument display, hands-free parallel parking, and a surround-view camera that projected a birds-eye view around the vehicle when the transmission was in reverse.
Three packages, dubbed Luxury Line, Modern Line, and Sport Line offered unique exterior and interior trim. The latter also included an increased top-speed limiter and a sport suspension. Opting for the Sport Line Package granted access to an extra-cost adaptive suspension.
Standard on the 328i was BMW’s new 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The 335i’s 300-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder motor carried over. Both engines came standard with a 6-speed manual transmission. One option BMW didn’t charge you for was an 8-speed automatic transmission, which replaced the previous 6-speed automatic.
All 3-Series sedan models are rear-wheel drive, at least to start. The company’s xDrive AWD is slated to arrive in the fall of 2012.
The BMW 3-Series Sedan included a standard complement of expected and federally mandated safety features. Blind-spot alert, front- and rear-obstacle detection, and lane-departure warning were optional.
BMW 3-Series Wagon:
The 3-Series wagon came in a single 328i trim level. Power front seats and a wireless cell-phone link were other extra-cost features you’d think would be standard. Options included front- and rear-obstacle detection, a navigation system with BMW’s iDrive control interface, heated steering wheel, premium harman/kardon audio system, adaptive cruise control, and side sunshades.
One of the more unusual option groups is the M Sport Package, which included an increased top-speed limiter (on rear-drive models), sport seats, a sport steering wheel (that couldn’t be heated), unique trim and body cladding, a sport suspension, and performance tires.
The 3-Series Wagon came with rear-wheel drive or BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive. The sole engine was a 230-horsepower 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. A 6-speed manual transmission was standard while a 6-speed automatic was offered at no extra charge.
The 2012 BMW 3-Series Wagon included a standard complement of expected and federally mandated safety features. Front- and rear-obstacle detection and adaptive cruise control were optional.
Note that no BMW 3-Series Wagon models were made available for Consumer Guide evaluation.
BMW 3-Series Coupe and Convertible:
The coupe has a fixed roof (naturally) while the convertible used a power-retractable hardtop. We think the Audi A5, Infiniti G37 Coupe, Infiniti G37 Convertible, Porsche Boxster, and Porsche Cayman are likely rivals.
While the 3-Series Sedan got a redesign, the coupe and convertible carried on with the same basic design as the 2011 model with only minor tweaks until 2014. Then the redesigned coupe and convertible returned as the 4-Series. (See separate report)
The coupes and convertibles were available in base 328i, uplevel 335i, sporty 335is, and high-performance M3 variants. All came in coupe or convertible form.
A sport suspension was standard on the 335is while M3s got a firmer performance suspension. The M Sport Package for the 328i and 335i included an increased top-speed limiter, sport seats, a sport steering wheel, unique trim, and uprated tires. The M3 was available with BMW’s Dynamic Damper Control, which automatically adjusted suspension firmness.
Leather upholstery was optional on all coupes and the 328i convertible and standard on all other convertibles. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel were optional across the board. The latter feature is not included if you order the M Sport Package.
A navigation system was optional and included BMW’s iDrive control interface. Adaptive cruise control and front- and rear-obstacle detection were optional on the 328i and 335i. All models could be ordered with special wood or aluminum interior trim. M3s offered extra-cost carbon carbon fiber accents that weren’t available on other versions.
All body styles and models were rear-wheel drive. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive was available on the 328i and 335i. All but the M3 had a 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine under the hood. The 328i is naturally aspirated and had 230 horsepower. The 335i and 335is had respectively. M3 versions employed a 414-horsepower 4.0-liter V8.
A 6-speed manual transmission was standard across the board. A 6-speed automatic was a no-cost option on the 328i and 335i. What cost extra on the 335is and M3 was a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual that behaved like an automatic. Steering-wheel paddle shifters were included with the automated manual transmission and cost extra on cars equipped with the 6-speed automatic.
The 2012 BMW 3-Series Coupe and Convertible had a standard complement of expected and federally mandated safety features. Rear-obstacle detection was optional on the M3 while the 328i and 335i were available with front- and rear-detection systems.
The 3-Series sedan bowed for the 2012 model year in rear-wheel-drive form only. 2013 saw the return of the all-wheel drive (dubbed xDrive) 3-Series sedan, along with a new gas/electric version called the ActiveHybrid 3. Joining the lineup in early-calendar 2013 was a new entry-level model called the 320i. Coupes and convertibles were unchanged awaiting their reappearance under the new 4-Series label in 2014. There were no 2013 3-Series wagons.
The 3-Series sedan gained 328d model powered by a turbodiesel 2.0-liter 180 horsepower engine that was available in both rear and all-wheel drive. Also joining the 3-Series lineup was a new Gran Turismo model. The Gran Turismo was a hatchback sedan on a wheelbase 4.3-inchs longer than the sedan. Returning to the line was the 3-Series wagon based on the redesigned sedan that bowed in 2012.