BMW 3 Series variants
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BMW M340d review – M3 thrills for a fraction of the price?

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Total cash price £25,499. Borrowing £20,399 with a £5,100 deposit at a representative APR of 9.9%.

49 monthly payments
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6000 miles

BMW 3 Series Buying Guide

The BMW 3 Series is a premium saloon or estate car that’s been around in one form or another since 1975. The latest version – codenamed G20, fact fans – came out in 2019, and is one of the most popular cars we sell at Motorpoint. Read on to learn more about this iconic sports saloon.

What BMW 3 Series trim levels are there?

Sport and M Sport are the two 3 Series trim levels offered in the UK. Sport is the entry point but still comes well equipped with alloy wheels and BMW’s excellent iDrive infotainment system on the inside. Some people find the Sport’s smaller alloy wheels give it a comfier ride than M Sport models.

M Sport models get larger alloys, sportier styling, stiffer (and lower) suspension, a bigger infotainment screen, leather sports seats and plenty of blue-and-red stitching in the cabin. It’s by far the most popular trim for any BMW model in the UK, and it’s the one we’d pick – it looks a fair bit more premium than the Sport model.

BMW 3 Series interior and technology

The BMW 3 Series comes with the company’s ‘iDrive’ infotainment system, which has an 8.8” touchscreen in Sport models or a 10.3” one in M Sport models. Although you can use it by touching it, the genius is that you can control it using a round dial near where a handbrake would usually sit. This means you can use it while keeping your eyes on the road. It’s the best infotainment system in any car, and it’s almost a reason to buy a 3 Series on its own…

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included on all models so you can use your phone’s navigation and music apps on the 3 Series’ screen – and it works wirelessly, so there’s no need to plug it in.

One big difference between Sport and M Sport models is the driver’s display. On Sport models, you get a small digital screen sandwiched between two analogue dials – one for revs and one for speed. On M Sport models, these are all replaced by a large and super-sharp digital screen, which can show sat-nav directions, maps and plenty of other driving data – and it looks super high-tech.

BMW 3 Series engine range explained

BMW 320d diesel - most popular!

If you do lots of long distances, we’d recommend the diesel 320d – its 2.0-litre engine has a potent 190hp with plenty of low-down power, and it’s capable of getting more than 60mpg if you drive carefully. It’s the most popular version of the 3 Series.

BMW 318i petrol

That said, diesels don’t tend to like lots of short trips – they have lots of particulate filters that can clog up if you don’t drive for long enough to get the filters hot. The BMW 318i has a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 156hp and still feels pretty brisk, making it a great match for urban driving – 0-62mph takes 8.4 seconds.

BMW 320i petrol

The next step up in the petrol range is the 2.0-litre 320i with 184hp and fuel economy of around 45mpg. It’s decently quick too, with a 0-62mph time of 7.1 seconds.

BMW 330i petrol

The 330i again uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine, this time with an impressive 258hp and a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds, but fuel economy drops to 40mpg. Unlike previous 3 Series, the latest 330i uses a turbo four-cylinder engine rather than the old six cylinder, giving the same performance with a smaller mpg penalty.

BMW 330e plug-in hybrid

The 330e is the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the BMW 3 Series. It combines the 320i’s 2.0-litre petrol engine with a 113hp electric motor for a total peak power of 292hp and a 0-62mph time of 5.9 seconds. Most importantly, it offers an electric-only driving range of just over 30 miles, making it ideal if you can charge it at home and and your commute is less than 30 miles. Potential mpg is north of 200mpg, but once the battery’s flat you’ll see it drop to closer to 40mpg.

BMW 330d diesel

Unlike the 330i, the 330d does actually get a six-cylinder engine – in this case, BMW’s fantastic 3.0-litre turbodiesel. It’s actually quite efficient on long journeys, returning an average 54mpg – and it’s no slouch either, with its 265hp and mountains of torque resulting in 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds.

BMW M340i petrol

For real performance fiends there’s the M340i – a 3 Series that packs a 3.0-litre, turbo six-cylinder engine that pumps out a whopping 374hp. It has BMW’s excellent ‘xDrive’ four-wheel-drive system as standard, meaning you can get from 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds. It sounds gorgeous and goes like stink – but you’ll be lucky to get much more than 35mpg on a long run, and far less if you’re using all that power.

BMW M340d diesel

You can achieve similar performance to the M340i but with far better mpg by choosing its diesel sibling – the M340d. Again, it sports a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine and four-wheel drive, but this time it’ll get closer to 45 or even 50mpg thanks to running on diesel. A 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds makes it the fastest accelerating diesel production car currently on sale – and if that’s not an excellent pub fact, we don’t know what is.

BMW M3 Competition

The BMW M3 is the 3 Series turned up to 11, with a focus on race-track terrorising handling and ferocious power. It now comes in four-wheel-drive or two-wheel-drive formats, and the M3’s monster 3.0-litre twin-turbo six cylinder fires 503hp into the Tarmac. It’s good for a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds, or 3.4 if you go for the xDrive version. It’s expensive and drinks fuel at a prodigious rate, but you’ll be having far too much fun to care. Plus, for the first time ever, you can also get the M3 as an estate car.

Your BMW 3 Series Questions Answered

The BMW 3 Series comes in two body styles – the saloon and the estate, or ‘3 Series Touring’ as BMW calls it. There’s also a sportier-looking 2-door coupe version called the BMW 4 Series.

The 3 Series Touring is the one to pick if you need maximum boot space – on paper its 500-litre boot is only 20 litres bigger than the 480-litre boot in the 3 Series Saloon. That said, it’s actually a much larger space than the numbers suggest because you can load it to the roof. It’s definitely the version to pick if you’re frequently carrying large items.

The 3 Series comes with a range of diesel, petrol and hybrid engines that range from the frugal to the furiously fast. For most people, the 320d offers the perfect blend of performance and fuel economy – that’d be our pick.

There’s not a single manual gearbox version anymore – the BMW 3 Series is automatic only. Keep an eye out for ‘xDrive’ models, which are four-wheel drive – this is available on most 3 Series engine choices.

In the 2022 Driver Power owner survey, BMW came slightly ahead of Mercedes and Audi for reliability. Most 3 Series cars presented no problems, but the sheer complexity of some of its electrical systems means that a small number of owners reported issues. As a car gets older, its routine and preventative maintenance becomes more important, and a used 3 Series should be reliable if it’s had the necessary work done. If reliability is of utmost importance to you, consider purchasing an extended warranty when you buy from Motorpoint.

The BMW 3 Series is a great used purchase – you can save thousands versus a new one but still enjoy the comfortable, high-tech interior and fantastic driving experience. BMW does sell service plans for used cars, which puts main dealer servicing into monthly chunks.

The BMW 3 Series is a bit more expensive to insure than something like a Volkswagen Golf but it shouldn’t be too costly to insure. A 320i sits in group 28 out of 50, while diesel versions start in group 31. The fast M Performance versions are, unsurprisingly, a little more expensive to insure, and their fuel bills will be higher than lesser versions too.

BMW charges around £25 per month for a service plan, which isn’t unreasonable and makes sure you’re covered for unexpected costs. All in all a BMW 3 Series shouldn’t be ruinously expensive to maintain, but big jobs can throw up big bills as the car gets older.

Yes, the BMW 3 Series is one of our favourite saloons. It’s great to drive, feels luxurious, is reasonably practical and is very well built. Petrol, diesel and hybrid engines are available, as is an estate model that gives more luggage space.