Pros & Cons

  • Smooth engine options
  • Athletic handling
  • Comfortable front seats
  • iDrive can be difficult to use




Critics' Rating: 9.7
Performance: 9.3
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.5
Safety: 9.1
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2010 BMW 3-Series Overview

When it was new, critics praised the 2010 BMW 3-Series for its balanced, athletic handling and peppy, responsive engines. For these traits, the 3-Series is a perennial reviewer favorite. It also received good crash test ratings. The 3-Series comes as a sedan, convertible or coupe, as well as a wagon and high-performance M3 variant, which are reviewed separately.

Available engines include a 230-horsepower inline six-cylinder found in the 328i, a 300-horsepower turbocharged inline six in the 335i and the twin-turbodiesel 335d, which produces 265 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque. The 335d comes with rear-wheel drive and an automatic transmission, while other models offer your choice of a manual or automatic transmission, as well as rear- or all-wheel drive. Critics said that all three engines are smooth and powerful.

A 328i with either transmission achieves 18/28 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class, while 335i and all-wheel drive models get slightly worse mileage. The diesel variant nets 23/36 mpg city/highway, which is quite good for a non-hybrid car. An available M Sport package adds a sport-tuned suspension, which gives the 3-Series even better handling. Trunk space in the 3-Series sedan is 12 cubic feet, which is a bit low for the class. With its retractable hardtop, the convertible variant has very little cargo space when the top is down. However, this problem is typical of hardtop convertibles.  

Inside, critics liked the 3-Series for its good fit and finish and comfortable seats, though some noted that rear legroom could be better. Base models come equipped with leatherette upholstery, automatic climate control and a 10-speaker stereo. Upper trims and option packages add features like leather seats, Bluetooth, a power sunroof, navigation, rear parking sensors and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, which many critics found difficult to use.

See the full 2010 BMW 3-Series specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you’re not committed to a BMW product, you may want to look at the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Though it’s not as agile as the 3-Series, most critics said the C-Class strikes a nice balance between a comfortable ride and agile handling. Like the 3-Series, it also comes with a range of engines and rear- or all-wheel drive, and offers similar amounts of interior and cargo space.

Thanks to its powerful engine and taut handling, critics regarded the 2010 Infiniti G37 as the 3-Series’ closest rival. Like the 3-Series, the G37 is available as a sedan, coupe and convertible, which makes it a fitting rival regardless of which 3-Series you’re considering.

Compare the 3-Series to the C-Class and G37 »

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