A buyer’s guide to the BMW 3 Series

A buyer’s guide to the BMW 3 Series

Are you interested in getting a new BMW 3 Series in saloon or estate guise? Here's our guide to the things you'll most likely want to know when buying this premium executive car.

The BMW 3 Series, sold in saloon and Touring estate guises, offers a strong mixture of powerful and efficient engines, sharp handling and an interior that’s both classy and practical. Little wonder then it’s so popular among compact executive car buyers here in Britain.

Here at Idscanners you can save money on a new BMW 3 Series model of your choosing. But if you are considering a 3 Series then you may still want to get clued up on some things such as pricing, practicality, equipment and the engine line-up. Here then is our guide to buying a new BMW 3 Series in saloon or estate form.


The five-door 3 Series looks suitably sophisticated in its more popular-selling saloon guise, but the Touring estate has an extended roof line for those badly in need of extra bootspace.

Standard exterior styling touches to new 3 Series models include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated and electric mirrors, LED daytime running lights at the front and LED taillights. Further up the range you can find 18-inch alloy wheels and additional chrome highlights for both the outside and inside of the car.

Boot space for the 3 Series saloon is 480 litres as standard, which is pretty much on par with the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class and more than the Jaguar XE. The Touring, meanwhile, offers 495 litres of boot space, increasing to 1,500 litre when the rear seats are folded flat.

Trims and equipment

The number of models in the current 3 Series line-up is exhaustive so it’s no surprise if you’re a little bit confused as to what all the trims are and what order they fall under. Currently, the range starts with the SE trim and that’s followed by Sport, M Sport, Luxury, ED Plus (ED stands for EfficientDynamics – the name of BMW’s fuel saving technology) and ED Sport.

Regardless of trim choice, a new BMW 3 Series comes as standard inside with BMW’s navigation system, a DAB radio, CD player and air conditioning with two-zone control. You also get parking sensors and cruise control as standard.

So even if you go for one of the cheaper specifications, you’re well catered for in terms of luxury kit, but there are still some additions that may entice you higher up the range.

For instance, as the name suggests, Sport trim adds sports front seats to the 3 Series. Also, while a leather steering wheel is standard, you’ll need to step up to at least the M Sport trim to get leather upholstery inside as standard. M Sport also adds LED front and rear fog lights and multiple sporty styling finishes to the interior. Heated front seats are added if you go for either the ED Plus or ED Sport trims.


The 3 Series offers 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines for a large number of model names with various outputs. Further up the range, larger engines are also available.

But which models really stand out? The 320d is a decent all-rounder for either the saloon or Touring and is already popular with company car drivers. It offers two outputs of 161bhp or 182bhp. With the latter output the 3 Series can cover the 0-62mph sprint in under eight seconds and average over 60mpg on the combined fuel cycle, while the 161bhp unit can even manage over 70mpg. CO2 emissions for 320d models with EfficientDynamics are less than 110g/km.

If performance is a bigger selling point for you, however, then you’ll be looking mostly at the petrol engines. The 316i and 320i make for decent motorway cruisers but the 330i and 340i plus the 330d and 335d can cover the 0-62mph sprint in less than six seconds.

Price and options

Pricing starts at around £25,000 for the SE trim saloon, or about £26,500 for the SE Touring. The SE is available with the 318i, 320i, 316d, 318d and 320d engines and xDrive is available for SE 320i and 320d specifications.

For the Sport trim, you’ll be spending at least nearly £25,500 for the saloon or just over £26,500 for the Touring. The Luxury and M Sport trims are a little under £30k for the saloon or roughly £31,000 for the Touring. For the ED Plus and ED Sport trims, meanwhile, you’ll need a budget of at least somewhere between £31,000 and just over £32,000.

The cheapest version of the popular 320d version costs just under £30,000 for the saloon or a little above £31,000 for the Touring.




Latest Guides

Join the newsletter

Get the latest news, reviews and guides every week. Update your preferences at any time.