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Expert Rating

BMW 3 Series

Our unique Expert Rating Index combines scores from 30 of the top UK motoring websites to give you a definitive rating on every new car

Expert Rating

BMW 3 Series

(2019 - present)

    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 was unveiled in September 2020 and arrived in the UK in early 2021.

    The BMW 3 Series has received very high scores from the UK media. Initial ratings were even higher than the current Expert Rating of 85% (as of August 2022), with the scores moderating slightly as media outlets spent more time with different models of the 3 Series range on local roads.

    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.

    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 £33,250 on-road

    Launched: Winter 2018/19
    Last updated: Summer 2020
    Replacement due: TBA


    Media reviews


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

    The Car Expert

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    Auto Express

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    Auto Trader

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    Autocar

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    Car

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    Car Keys

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    Carbuyer

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    Carwow

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    Company Car Today

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    Daily Mail

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    Daily Mirror

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    Electrifying.com

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    Evo

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    Green Car Guide

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    Heycar

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    Honest John

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    Motoring Research

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    Motors.co.uk

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    Parkers

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    The Sun

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    The Sunday Times

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    The Telegraph

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    Top Gear

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    What Car?

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    Which?

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    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

    The BMW 3 Series is below average when it comes to reliability as of August 2022, according to extended warranty data provided by our commercial partner, MotorEasy. This covers both the current (2019 onwards) model as well as earlier generations.

    The most common problems reported for the 3 Series are electrical system, engine and suspension. While the average repair costs for electrics and suspension are both reasonable, it’s worth noting that the average repair bill for engine problems is more than £2,000, so this is something to look for if you’re considering a used car.

    It’s certainly worth either taking out a used car warranty or checking a car’s paperwork to see if it has already had repair work done in these areas.

    Awards


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

    2022

    • Company Car Today CCT100 Awards – Best Compact Executive
    • Fleet World Awards – Best Compact Executive Car
    • What Car? Awards – Best Executive Car

    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
    • 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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    BMW 3 SeriesThe 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.