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Expert Rating

BMW 3 Series

(2019 - present)

Expert Rating

New car score:

75
%
A

Used car score:

68
%
B

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

85
%
A

Safety Rating:

81
%
A

Eco Rating:

73
%
A

Reliability Rating:

46
%
E

Running Costs:

55
%
D

How are our Expert Rating scores calculated?

Expert Rating

New car score:

75
%
A

Used car score:

68
%
B

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

85
%
A

Safety Rating:

81
%
A

Eco Rating:

73
%
A

Reliability Rating:

46
%
E

Running Costs:

55
%
D

Summary


The BMW 3 Series is a medium-sized saloon and estate model, and has long been considered the benchmark for the compact executive saloon class. The latest generation was unveiled in late 2018 and went on sale in the UK in early 2019.

The estate (known as Touring) models were launched several months after the saloon versions. Additionally, the high-performance M3 saloon arrived in the UK in early 2021, joined by a Touring version in 2023.

The BMW 3 Series has received very high scores from the UK media. As with previous generations, particular praise has been directed at the way the BMW 3 Series drives compared to its rivals. The quality and design of the interior are better than previous models, although other cars are just as good or better.

Reliability seems to be a mixed bag for the BMW 3 Series. In the 2021 What Car? reliability survey, the 3 Series finished both third (petrol engines) and fourth (diesel engines) out of 17 cars in the executive car class. However, exclusive data provided to us by MotorEasy (see below) suggests otherwise, with the 3 Series scoring well below average for reliability. In the 2022 What Car? reliability survey, the 3 Series diesel ranked dead last in the executive car class.

As of January 2024, the BMW 3 Series holds a New Car Expert Rating of A, with a score of 75%. It has an excellent safety score, low CO2 emissions and has received many positive media reviews, but ownership values are less flattering – reliability is historically poor for the 3 Series, while running costs are high.

As a used car, the rating drops to a B, with a score of 68%, as running costs and reliability are weighted more heavily in our used car calculations.

3 Series highlights

  • Still the best car in its class to drive
  • Interior a significant improvement
  • Petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid options available
  • Cabin space now a match for rivals

3 Series lowlights

  • Battery range can’t match class leaders
  • Ride firm with sports suspension
  • Digital display not as good as those on rivals
  • Another BMW with polarising styling

Key specifications


Body style: Mid-sized saloon and estate
Engines: petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid
Price: From £40,205 on-road

Launched: Winter 2018/19
Last updated: Summer 2022
Replacement due: TBA


Media reviews


Reviews, road tests and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

The Car Expert

+

Auto Express

+

Auto Trader

+

Autocar

+

Business Car

+

Car

+

Car Keys

+

Carbuyer

+

Carwow

+

Company Car Today

+

Daily Mail

+

Daily Mirror

+

Electrifying.com

+

Evo

+

Green Car Guide

+

Heycar

+

Honest John

+

Motoring Research

+

Motors.co.uk

+

Parkers

+

The Sun

+

The Sunday Times

+

The Telegraph

+

Top Gear

+

What Car?

+

Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

Overall score: 5 stars
Date tested: October 2019
Read the full Euro NCAP review

Adult protection: 97%
Child protection: 87%
Vulnerable road users: 87%
Safety assist: 76%

Eco rating


Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

Model tested: 2.0-litre diesel automatic 320d saloon

Overall score: 2 stars
Date tested: November 2020
Read the full Green NCAP review

Clean Air Index: 6.2 / 10
Energy Efficiency Index: 6 / 10

The rating above only applies to the 320d saloon, which is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine with an automatic gearbox. It does not apply to any other engine/gearbox combination.

Reliability rating

MotorEasy logo 600x167

Reliability data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by MotorEasy

All data based on MotorEasy average workshop costs for extended car warranty claims

As of December 2022, the BMW 3 Series is below average when it comes to reliability with a score of just 46%, according to workshop and warranty data provided by our commercial partner, MotorEasy. This covers both the current model (2019 onwards) as well as earlier generations.

Based on a large number of warranty repairs, the average repair costs is also quite high at nearly £800. That’s a lot more than the cost of a used car warranty, which is certainly worth considering if you own a 3 Series or are thinking about buying one.

The most common problems reported for the 3 Series plate to its engine, and unfortunately these are also the most expensive faults, with an average repair bill of about £1,600. Gearbox problems are also similarly expensive to repair, but appear to be less common.

Report bills for electrical system, engine and suspension are more competitive, thankfully, averaging less than £400 for each.

Make sure that any used car warranty you are purchasing covers all of these potential problem areas.

Running cost rating

Clear Vehicle Data logo close crop

Monthly cost of ownership data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by Clear Vehicle Data

Fuel consumptionAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models42 mpgD34 – 44 mpgC – D
Diesel models54 mpgB43 – 61 mpgA – C
Plug-in hybrid models186 mpgA157 – 202 mpgA – A
CO₂ outputAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models155 g/kmB145 – 191 g/kmB – C
Diesel models136 g/kmB119 – 172 g/kmA – C
Plug-in hybrid models33 g/kmA30 – 40 g/kmA – A
Battery rangeAverageScoreVariationScore
Plug-in hybrid models34 milesE30 – 37 milesD – E
Insurance groupAverageScoreVariationScore
All models33C24 – 42B – D
Service and maintenanceCostScore
Year 1£236B
Year 2£539B
Year 3£932B
Year 4£1,203B
Year 5£1,611B
Overall£4,521B

The BMW 3 Series is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to running costs. Fuel consumption for the petrol models is worse than average, while the diesels are better than average.

The plug-in hybrid models look great on paper, but this is entirly unrealistic. That’s not BMW’s fault, but rather the way that the EU/UK regulations are written. The battery range for the plug-in hybrid also looks poor, but is actually not too bad for a plug-in hybrid car.

Insurance costs are about average, while scheduled servicing and maintenance costs are good.

Awards


Trophies, prizes and awards that the BMW 3 Series has received

2023

  • EcoCar Electrified Top 50 – Best Plug-In Hybrid Large Car + Best Plug-In Hybrid Large Estate Car
  • Fleet News Awards – Most Reliable Company Car
  • What Car? EV Awards – Best Used Hybrid Executive Car (330e)
  • What Car? Used Car Awards – Best Used Car + Best Used Executive Car + Best Used Hybrid Car

2022

  • Business Car Awards – Best Premium Car
  • Company Car Today CCT100 Awards – Best Compact Executive Car
  • EcoCar Electrified Top 50 – Best Compact Executive Plug-in Hybrid
  • Fleet World Awards – Best Compact Executive Car
  • What Car? Awards – Best Executive Car
  • What Car? Electric Awards – Best Used Hybrid Executive Car (330e)

2021

  • The Car Expert Awards – Medium Car Class Champion, petrol/diesel
  • Auto Trader New Car Awards – Best Hybrid (330e)
  • Business Car Awards – Best Premium Car
  • Business Motoring Awards – Best Medium Car + Best PHEV
  • Carwow Awards – Best Family Hybrid Car (330e)
  • Company Car Today CCT100 Awards – Best Compact Executive
  • DieselCar & EcoCar Top 50 – Best Compact Executive Car
  • Fleet News Awards – Best Premium Car
  • Fleet World Awards – Best Compact Executive Car
  • Parkers New Car Awards – Best Company Car
  • What Car? Awards – Best Executive Car + Best Plug-In Hybrid to Drive + Best Estate Car to Drive
  • What Car? EV Awards – Best Hybrid Executive Car

2020

  • Auto Trader Awards – Most Loved Car
  • Autocar Britain’s Best Car Awards – Best Company Car (330e)
  • Business Car Awards – Best Premium Car
  • Company Car Today CCT100 Awards – Car of the Year + Best Compact Executive
  • DieselCar & EcoCar Top 50 – Best Compact Executive Car
  • Fleet News AwardsNew Company Car of the Year + Best Premium Car
  • Fleet World Awards – Best New Fleet Car + Best Fleet Compact Executive Car
  • Parkers New Car Awards – Best Company Car (330e)
  • What Car? Awards – Best Executive Car + Best Plug-in Hybrid + Safety Award
  • What Car? Electric Car Awards – Best Plug-In Hybrid Executive Car

2019

  • Auto Express Awards – Best Compact Executive Car
  • Business Car Awards – Best Premium Car
  • carwow AwardsCar of the Year + Best Family Car
  • What Car? Awards – Best Executive Car

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the BMW 3 Series, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Alfa Romeo Giulia | Audi A4 | Audi A5 Sportback | Jaguar XE | Kia Stinger | Mazda 6 | Mercedes-Benz C-Class | Peugeot 508 | Polestar 2 | Subaru Levorg | Tesla Model 3 | Vauxhall Insignia | Volkswagen Arteon | Volkswagen Passat | Volvo S60 | Volvo V60

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The new BMW 3 Series has received very high scores from the UK media, with particular praise for the way it drives compared to its rivals.BMW 3 Series