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3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

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2019 BMW 3-Series OVERVIEW

The 3-Series is the cornerstone of the BMW brand. It's the nameplate upon which the reputation of the roundel lies upon, and it's the vehicle whose athleticism lends credence to that idea of the "Ultimate Driving Machine." The new 2019 BMW 3-Series is the next generation of the brand's most important moneymaker, and it makes big promises about returning to form dynamically while advancing technologically. In the face of relentless competition, it will have to do just that if it wants to remain the segment favorite.

What's New for 2019

The all-new 2019 3-Series sedan, dubbed G20 by BMW engineers, is the successor to the outgoing F30 generation. Note that the Sports Wagon and hatchback-esque Gran Turismo return unchanged from the prior year. There are presently no plans to replace these models with G20-based descendants, so act now if you're hankering for these extra-practical 3s – there's no telling when the supply of these niche offerings will dry up for good.

Mercedes-Benz CLA Class

Choosing Your BMW 3-Series

One of the greatest assets of the 3-Series is its versatility; it's powerful, comfortable, luxurious, and sporting – not to mention the three available body styles each offer a unique blend of style and practicality. For 2019, the 3-Series is offered as an all-new sedan or the carryover wagon and five-door Gran Turismo.

Regardless of roof shape or door count, most models will wear the 330i designation, or 330i xDrive if equipped with all-wheel drive, which represents BMW's familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The sedan's powerplant enjoys numerous enhancements to the turbo and the internals, resulting in maximum power of 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

The wagon and Gran Turismo still use the older version of this motor, which means they make do with 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Impressively, the all-wheel-drive wagon runs the zero-to-60 mph sprint just 0.1 second slower than its four-door brethren, despite the sedan boasting a lighter curb weight, seven extra horses, and 37 more lb-ft of torque.

Buyers looking for more serious performance but not ready to commit to the powerhouse that is the M3 will be interested in the M340i. Available summer 2019, the heart of the M340i is a turbocharged straight-six motor tuned and finessed to 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes paired to a specially-tuned chassis, performance differential, and high-performance brakes. BMW estimates a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds for their high-spirited concoction. It's limited only to the sedan, so don't get excited by the thought of a 382-horse, tire-smoking BMW station wagon.

The Gran Turismo is the only model that uses the 340i designation without an M preceding it. Like the M340i, things begin with a 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six, but the similarities end there – don't expect any of the performance goodies that liven up the M340i. Horsepower and torque ratings stand at 322 and 330, respectively, and AWD is mandatory.

All engines come affixed to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This marks the first time the 3-Series hasn't been offered with a manual transmission, though in Europe a six-speed stick shift can still be found in base models.

Going about configurating a 3-Series is a rather exasperating process of first choosing what BMW calls a Design, afterwards selecting a Tier, and only then proceeding to available options and packages. Now, due to the new sedan sharing the stage with the carryover wagon and Gran Turismo, the continuity of this setup across the range has been muddled. For simplicity's sake, we've broken out the selection process and equipment levels for each body style below:


The all-new sedan starts with the 330i trim, with pricing beginning at $41,245 (all prices include the $995 destination charge), and the 330i xDrive, with the upgrade to all-wheel drive adding $2,000 to bring the price up to $43,245.

Opt for the sedan and three Designs are presented. The 330i Sport Line Design starts $41,245 and is differentiated by gloss-black exterior trim. The 330i Luxury Design costs an additional $1,950 ($43,195 starting price) and has a leather interior and chrome exterior trim. The M Sport Design includes 19-inch M wheels, chassis upgrades, more aggressive fascias, and an M-design steering wheel. However, this Design also requires purchasing the $900 Parking Assist Package that includes active parking assist and blind-spot monitoring. The total after destination is $47,145 for a 330i M Sport Design.

Each design comes with the same level of standard features. LED lights, power-folding and heated mirrors, 14-way power seats, a seven-speaker audio system with HD radio, an 8.8-inch screen using BMW's iDrive software, adaptive cruise control, and three-zone climate control are among them. There's also forward collision warning, city collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and automatic collision notification in the case of an accident.

Tiers, thankfully, have been dropped in lieu of option packages. The nomenclature for these packages are the same as the old tiers (Convenience, Premium, and Executive), and, like last year, each succeeding package is more extravagantly optioned than the last.

Convenience costs $2,150 and includes blind-spot monitoring, four-way lumbar support, SiriusXM radio, and keyless entry. The $2,800 Premium Package brings along heated seats and steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, real-time connectivity, a head-up display, a 12.3-inch digital cluster, and a 10.25-inch center screen housing navigation and the most advanced iDrive software. The Executive Package is $2,100 and bundles automatic parking assist, laser headlights, gesture control, audible parking sensors, and a surround-view camera.

Other packages are available as well. These include the $2,450 Track Handling Package with M Sport brakes and differential, a $500 Driving Assistance Package with blind-spot monitoring, a $900 Parking Assistance Package, and a $1,700 Driving Assistance Professional Package with autopilot functionality up to 37 mph.

All the above is pertaining to the 330i and 330i xDrive, both of which come exclusively with the 255-hp four-cylinder. The $56,995 M340i, due out this summer, is offered with similar equipment levels and option packages. Its raft of performance features that justify the price bump include the 382-hp six-cylinder engine, M Sport brakes and chassis tuning, M Sport differential, variable sport steering, and standard all-wheel drive.

Sports Wagon

The 3-Series Sports Wagon is a decidedly simpler affair when compared to the sedan. The 248-hp 2.0-liter four with all-wheel drive is the only combo on tap, which means all wagons will be badged as 330i xDrive models.

Prices begin at $45,995 for the Sport Line Design, which, like the sedan, uses gloss-black accents to convey a sportier appearance. The Luxury Design also starts at $45,995 but subs out black trim for brightwork. The Shadow Sport Design is another $600 ($46,595 starting price) and includes 19-inch wheels and some darker chrome appointments, while the M Sport Design wagon starts at $49,945.

The base wagon includes 17-inch wheels, LED lights, power-folding and heated mirrors, 10-way power seats, a seven-speaker audio system, iDrive with a 6.5-inch screen, automatic climate control, and a panoramic moonroof. The same active-safety systems found on the base sedan are standard here as well.

Unlike the sedan, buyers can choose among the three Tiers (Convenience, Premium, Executive), or opt for none, before proceeding to options and packages.

The Convenience Tier is $850 and includes keyless entry, lumbar support, and SiriusXM radio. Moving up to the Premium Tier means spending another $3,000 over the Convenience. That money buys real-time traffic info, navigation, heated seats, remote services, Apple CarPlay, and a head-up display. The Executive Tier stickers for $3,100 more than the Premium and adds a surround-view camera system, a digital gauge cluster, automatic high-beams, adaptive LED lights, and parking assist. Note that all Tiers build off the previous one, so, for example, the Executive includes all the features found on both the Convenience and Premium Tiers.

The available Track and Handling Package is the closest thing to getting a performance station wagon from BMW. It costs $2,300 and includes variable sport steering, M Sport brakes, and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

Gran Turismo

The 3-Series Gran Turismo can be had in 330i xDrive form for a starting price of $46,395 or 340i xDrive fashion for $52,245. Most versions will be built in 330i xDrive spec, which, like the wagon, means a 248-hp four-cylinder paired to all-wheel drive. There is, however, the option to upgrade to the 322-hp, 3.0-liter straight-six in the 340i xDrive. This motor lets the GT do zero-to-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, making it the fastest 3-Series currently available (that is, until the M340i arrives).

The three trims and three designs are once again available to choose from. The Sport Line and Luxury Designs both cost $46,395, while the M Sport Design demands $49,845. At the same time, the Convenience Tier costs $850, the Premium is $3,850, and the Executive Tier rings up at $6,950. However, on the 340i xDrive, the contents of the Convenience Tier are standard, so it's not available.

There are no available packages for the Gran Turismo.

CarsDirect Tip

The 2019 BMW 3-Series lineup is confusing as ever this year, so don't sweat it if you find yourself lost in the options, packages, Designs, Tiers, and all the other BMW rigmarole. We'll try to make it simple: if you want a sedan, look at a 330i with the Premium and Track and Handling Packages. For those interested in the wagon, the Shadow Line Design, Premium Tier, and Track Package makes for an enticing combo. Gran Turismo buyers should get a 340i with the Premium Tier and enjoy the fastest 3-Series that isn't bestowed with the letter M.

Get your price on a BMW 3-Series »

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