2019 BMW 3-Series

Performance


MSRP
$40,250
U.S. News Best Price Program

2019 BMW 3-Series Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.9

The redesigned 2019 BMW 3 Series sedan showcases notable improvements compared to the previous generation. A twin-turbo four-cylinder engine replaces the timid base engine in the previous model. The updated steering and suspension systems give the 3 Series sedan even more nimbleness and grin-inducing abilities than before.

  • "… company engineers say the most central tenets of the new 3 are the retuned suspension, and the calibrations between hardware and software systems. 'Getting everything to work together more beautifully,' as one described. Plying the 330i on Portugal's open expressways and along backroads, those elements indeed come through brightly. The engine is plucky enough to make short, hard passes, but this is an automobile that likes momentum." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Earlier this year, BMW engineers told me their goal was to create 'the best sport sedan in the world' -- or, more realistically anyway, the best-driving car in its class. In that regard, mission accomplished. The new 3 Series is a proper return to form." -- CNET
  • "Above every other aspect, the 2018 BMW 3 Series sedan, hatchback and wagon place an emphasis on driving pleasure. It's been the brand's calling card for nearly four decades and neither time nor technology has gotten in the way. Speed and agility are standard on every model, and even the base 320i with only 180 horsepower can hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The base 330i trim comes with one of two engines. The sedan comes with a 255-horsepower twin-turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The carry-over Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo models have an engine of the same size but with a 248-horsepower rating. Both engines deliver brisk acceleration and gratifying exhaust notes. All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW isn't offering last year's six-speed manual transmission, though the automatic shifts smoothly and on point.

Fuel economy ratings are not yet available for the 330i sedan. Gas mileage for other 330i models is estimated at 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, which are typical numbers for a luxury small car's base engine.

For 2019, one upgraded engine is currently available. The 340i models come with a twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine that produces 320 horsepower. It returns fuel economy estimates of 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Other 3 Series trims will likely join the lineup, but BMW has not yet confirmed additional 2019 models or release dates. Expected upcoming models include one or two diesel-powered models, the plug-in hybrid 330e iPerformance, and the high-performance M340i.

  • "The revised turbo four never feels overly wound even when flogging it in low gears, and there's little of the previous engine's harsh vibrations. Torque is modest, but it's a happy four-banger; even the sound from inside the cockpit is punchy, settling into a mid-range bass in Sport Plus mode." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The 330i has ample power and gobs of torque for good flexibility for merging and passing, really under all driving situations. There simply aren't any flat spots or holes in the 330i's power curve. BMW claims zero-to-60 mph acceleration in the sub-6 second range (running premium unleaded, of course) and there's no reason to doubt it." -- New York Daily News
  • "Moving to the 248-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine in the 330i [Sport Wagon and Gran Turismo] brings what we think is the best combination of performance and price, while the 320-horsepower 340i delivers V8-like power and growl." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Handling and Braking

Handling is crisp in the redesigned 3 Series sedan thanks to a more responsive steering system. The upgraded suspension system rapidly adjusts to changing road conditions to keep the car stable. The 3 Series sedan comes standard with rear-wheel drive and four drive modes: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is available for $2,000 in the base sedan, and it comes standard in all other 2019 models.

  • "At sporting speeds on public roads, the 3 is unflappable; part of the credit goes to those new 'hydraulic stop' dampers that work on the compression stroke in the rear and the rebound stroke in front. If you're having trouble visualizing it, just know the car settles instantly after bumps and dips, and maintains its composure in every situation I threw at it. The 3 also has excellent sight lines thanks to a lower, more horizontal dash layout than some of its luxury competitors (cough, C-Class, cough), meaning it's easier to drive quickly; some credit also goes to the beautifully dialed-in steering that's one of the better electric systems anywhere. There's still not a lot of road feel through the wheel, but you know exactly where you're putting the car." -- Autoweek
  • "There's … [m]ore directness in the way the steering responds to commands, without dithering or interpretation. And a reassuring firmness to the brakes equally possessed of finesse and pinpoint control. All of this against a backdrop of well-damped vertical body movements, virtually no lean in corners, and billet-like body stiffness." -- New York Daily News
  • "The supple ride attests to BMW's focus on luxury, but a true sport sedan lies beneath. The harder you push a 3 Series, the better it feels. The optional M Sport lowered suspension increases athleticism without a stiffer ride penalty. Retains a sense of refined performance that sets it apart." -- Edmunds (2018)
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2019 BMW 3-Series

MSRP: $40,250 - $51,250

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