The exterior of a blue BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series review (2019-2023)

Fun to drive and practical, the BMW 3 Series is one of the best compact executive cars. It rides comfortably, handles sharply and has lots of space.


  • Nimble handling and a comfortable ride
  • Engine choices offer performance and economy
  • Well-equipped and luxurious cabin


  • More expensive than some rivals
  • Rear view visibility isn't great
  • Audi A4's interior is better


“BMW has always been renowned for quality and performance.”

The new BMW 3 Series went on sale in the UK in March 2019, and is available as a saloon car or as an estate, called the 3 Series Touring.

As well as nimble, rear-wheel-drive handling, BMW has always been renowned for quality and performance. Whether you choose a diesel, petrol or plug-in hybrid, the 3 Series will give you comfortable, reliable and economical motoring. Four-wheel-drive models are also available.

The four-door saloon body remains the most popular choice but if you want to maximise practicality, look for the sporty estate model.

The basic 3 Series trim levels are SE, Sport and M Sport, but even the basic SE trim levels are lavish, with a big touchscreen, standard sat nav, and Apple CarPlay. BMW likes to adjust the trim levels on a regular basis, so you might see models called "SE Pro" or "Sport Pro". This just means they have slightly different features.

What’s the interior like?

“The latest screens offer pin-sharp images and intuitive menus which make accessing functions easy.”

The BMW 3 Series has extremely supportive seats, a light, airy interior and a clear dashboard. The latest models have an 8.8-inch touchscreen as a minimum – higher-spec models are up to 10.3-inches – but also feature a control wheel on the centre console, which is much easier to use on the move. The latest screens offer pin-sharp images and intuitive menus which make accessing functions easy.

Although you sit quite low, it’s easy to see out of thanks to relatively slim screen pillars. The parking sensors are useful when it comes to reversing as the rear view isn't the best.

The back seats are easy to get into and space is on a par with the Audi A4 – which makes it roomier than the Mercedes C-Class. The boot is reasonably sized at 480 litres which is big enough for three large suitcases. Build quality is excellent – perhaps not quite as plush as the Audi, but not far off and certainly a cut above less premium cars of this type.

What’s it like to drive?

“BMW engines have always been sophisticated, smooth and powerful.”

BMW pitches all its models as ‘drivers’ cars’, which means potent engines, quick and responsive steering and a supple ride over uneven road surfaces. This agility is what gives the 3 Series an edge over the likes of the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi 4. Only the Jaguar XE comes close

BMW engines have always been sophisticated, smooth and powerful. There’s also lots of choice. With most cars being sold to corporate users, there are lots of diesels around – the 2.0-litre 320d being especially popular. There's also an efficient yet powerful plug-in hybrid model, and several petrol choices from the efficient to the very powerful. The latest range topping M340i has four-wheel drive and provides genuine performance.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“With such a spread of engines available, you can choose a super-efficient 3 Series, a very powerful one or something in between.”

BMW's are popular and command a premium to buy over less luxurious brands, but the payoff is that they tend to hold their value relatively well.

With such a spread of engines available, you can choose a super-efficient 3 Series (the diesels will get a particularly good fuel economy) or a very powerful one, which will drink fuel at a faster rate. There are lot of options in between, too.

The plug-in hybrid 330e models offer the best of both worlds, with the ability to do dozens of miles on electric power own, as long as you keep the battery charged up. However, they cost more to buy.

As a premium brand, any BMW is going to have premium prices when it comes to service, maintenance and repairs, but they'll be no worse than the 3 Series' close rivals. Insurance costs can also be high, especially on the performance models.

Be aware that lots of 3 Series cost more than £40,000 to buy, which means they'll have a surcharge on their annual Vehicle Excise Duty (car tax) until they're six years old.

An easier way to find or sell a car

You’ll find lots of used cars for sale at Cazoo, all available to buy through our trusted dealers.

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Which one is best for you?

With a variety of choices within the 3 Series range, the best one for you depends on your priorities. If practicality is a must then you can't go wrong with a Touring estate – for any, it's all the car they'll ever need.

When it comes to engines, the 320i petrol is a great all-rounder with enough power for everyday use and a restrained appetite for fuel. If you regularly do longer distances, look at the 320d diesel. The 330e PHEV could save you a lot on fuel around town, but costs more.

For trims, you may find that the SE has all you need, although if you want a bit more sportiness, the M Sport is a popular alternative.

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