Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engine choices
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Superb handling
  • Leather isn’t standard




Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 8.6
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 8.9
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 BMW 3-Series Overview

The base 328i sedan features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that reviewers said delivers peppy acceleration. The 328i coupe and convertible have a six-cylinder engine. All 335i models come with a turbocharged six-cylinder engine, which critics said delivers more thrilling acceleration. The 2012 3-Series is available with rear- or all-wheel drive and either a manual or automatic transmission. Test drivers wrote that the six-speed manual transmission is satisfying to shift and the eight-speed automatic executes quick, smooth gear changes. V8-powered M3 models carried over unchanged from 2011. Both the 328i and 335i sedans get an EPA-estimated 23/33 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class. Reviewers agreed that the 3-Series offers a superb combination of ride comfort and nimble handling. They added that the car has strong brakes and feels planted to the road, making it a delight to drive.

Reviewers agreed that the 2012 BMW 3-Series’ interior has high-quality materials and detailed styling. Critics were pleased with the comfortable and supportive front seats, but complained that leather upholstery is not standard. They added that the 3-Series has spacious rear seats for the class. The BMW 3-Series has a comparably sized trunk as others in the class. Standard features include leatherette upholstery, automatic climate control, HD Radio, Bluetooth, a USB port and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system. Available features include a moonroof, heated front and rear seats, leather upholstery, a rearview camera, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, a Harman/Kardon audio system, navigation and a head-up display. Automotive journalists wrote that the iDrive infotainment system is fairly easy to use.

Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers said the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class isn’t the sportiest car in the class, but nonetheless has a smooth ride and composed handling. They were particularly impressed with the ample power and quick acceleration in the V6-powered C350.

Test drivers wrote that the 2012 Audi A4 has a handsome, high-quality interior. Unlike the 3-Series, the A4 comes standard with leather seats and all-wheel drive, and reviewers agreed that the A4’s standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine has ample power.

Compare the 3-Series, C-Class and A4 »


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