2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan

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2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan Review

BMW's iconic 3 Series mid-size luxury sedan is one of the German brand's most important models, combining appealing driving dynamics with style, comfort, and excellent build quality. The sixth-generation model maintains many of the hallmarks that have defined every 3 Series before it but finds itself facing stiff competition, both within the segment and from the burgeoning SUV market. The F30 BMW 3 Series remains an athletic-looking sedan, but the interior has now fallen behind in terms of modern design and attention to detail. While still a neat handler, it prioritizes comfort to a greater extent than previous generations of the model. However, from the base 320i all the way up to the powerful 340i, every model offers good performance and the accomplished powertrains keep the 3 Series competitive, even as an all-new model is on the horizon.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
8.5
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2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2017 3 Series Sedan?

BMW has made a few changes to the features list and available packages for the 2018 3 Series. LED fog lights and LED headlights are now standard equipment across the range. Three new special edition packages have been made available: Edition Sport Line Shadow, Edition Luxury Line Purity, and Edition M Sport Shadow. A new interior color/trim option in Cognac can now also be specified while opting for the Professional navigation system brings with it tweaks to the touch-operated iDrive system.

Pros and Cons

  • Powerful and efficient engines
  • Exterior design remains classically 3 Series
  • Absorbent ride quality
  • Accurate and composed handling
  • User-friendly iDrive infotainment system
  • Class-leading automatic transmission
  • Interior design and execution now feels outdated
  • Optional extras are costly
  • Artificial steering feel

Best Deals on 2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan

2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
320i Sedan
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$34,900
320i xDrive Sedan
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$36,900
330i Sedan
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$40,250
328d Sedan
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Diesel
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$41,750
330i xDrive Sedan
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$42,250
See All 2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

The main point of contention with the sixth-generation (F30) 3 Series has related to the feel from the electric power steering system, which simply hasn't been as communicative or natural in its sensations as previous models. Rivals like the Jaguar XE have now surpassed the 3 Series for driving pleasure. Still, at least the system is nicely responsive to driver inputs, and the 3 Series is still an excellent handler through a series of acute bends. Body control is good and the 3 still enjoys a near-perfect weight distribution front-to-rear. Grip levels are high enough, while the optional adaptive M Sport Suspension improves the dynamic ability of the 3 Series to a greater degree.

Ride comfort is as good as it has ever been in a 3 Series, with the F30 feeling supple, well-planted, and comfortable in most conditions. This is despite the fitment of run-flat tires which resulted in rather brittle ride quality in older BMWs. While reasonably refined, the 3 Series does suffer from more road noise than in an Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class. BMW's stop/start system is also more abrupt than other competitors and is better left switched off.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan a good car?

As the sixth-generation 3 Series approaches the end of its lifecycle, competitors have gradually caught up and in some areas surpassed the BMW. The Jaguar XE is a more engaging drive, the Audi A4 is more comfortable and refined, while the Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a significantly more opulent cabin. Japanese competitors from Genesis and Lexus also offer more features as standard. However, the 3 Series is far from outclassed. It remains a talented mid-size sedan with a comfortable ride, a cabin made from good materials, a class-leading infotainment system, and superb powertrains. BMW has been doing this for longer than anyone else, and it shows in the 3's consistent spread of abilities - there isn't really any area where is seriously disappoints. It's simply that the highs aren't quite as high as they were in a segment rich with talent. The 3 Series remains formidable, but it may just be worth holding out for the all-new model arriving next year.

Check out other BMW 3 Series Styles

2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan Comparisons

Audi A4 Sedan Audi
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Mercedes-Benz

2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs Audi A4 Sedan

Audi's A4 offers an attractive blend of smart design, impeccable build quality, and a comfortable driving experience. The restrained, classy exterior is a match for the more angular 3 Series, but the A4's cabin wins with superior materials, a warmer ambiance, and more standard features than the BMW - heated seats, a sunroof, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a forward-collision warning system are all missing or optional on the 3 Series but standard on the A4. With standard front-wheel-drive, the basic A4 drives more smoothly but is less alert than the 3 Series in the corners. Both cars' steering systems lack feedback, but buyers prioritizing comfort won't mind. The 3 Series has the better automatic transmission, but the A4's manual gearbox is more pleasurable to operate than the 3 Series'. At this stage in their respective life cycles, the A4 just edges out the sportier 3 Series.

See Audi A4 Sedan Review

2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan vs Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan

The much improved Mercedes-Benz C-Class impresses long before you drive it for the first time. Inside and out, its striking but classy design has found favor with thousands of Americans. While the build quality of both cars is equally good, the C-Class cabin makes a far greater impression with its intricate shapes and stylish detailing. As has always been the case, the C-Class is the softer of the two cars and the 3 Series is a better handler, but the gap is closer than ever before. While the Mercedes may be more striking inside, BMW's infotainment system and various technologies are a lot simpler and more intuitive to operate. Both cars offer spacious interiors, are similarly practical, and provide comparable performance.

See Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Review

2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan Popular Comparisons

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