This year, the BMW 3 Series has made Car and Driver's acclaimed 10Best List for an unprecedented 22nd year in a row. Known around the world for its sporty looks, superior handling and powerful engines, the 3 Series has been a perennial favorite amongst driving enthusiasts and Car and Driver's writers alike. The 3 Series has been on every 10Best List since 1992 and that's an incredible accomplishment for our most popular BMW.
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The same old song and dance, differently.
Regular readers of this publication may have felt inklings or heard the notion that we have a certain fondness for the 3-series, as we've lofted it to this list now for 22 years in a row. This being a transition year for the model, the F30 sedan stands alone as the winner, without support from the rest of the lineup. Recent comparison and road tests suggest that we haven't gone ga-ga for the F30 as we did its predecessors, but it nevertheless delivers one of the best overall packages on the market. Two turbocharged engines offer improved fuel economy while the inline-six in the 335i maintains nearly undetectable NVH levels. The body and interior may have grown slightly, but that imposes little or no weight penalty. Front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the back seat is adult friendly. There's virtually no performance gap between the six-speed manual and the eight-speed automatic. With five equipment lines to choose from (base, Modern, Luxury, Sport, and M Sport), the 3's appeal has expanded to reach a larger audience without breaking its grip on the sports-sedan segment. Many would-be challengers have benchmarked this winning formula, and some even match or beat it in one way or another, but they all fall short of the gestalt. The F30 is just getting started, too?a hotly anticipated M3 version slides into view next year.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear- or 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
BASE PRICE: $37,395?$45,695
ENGINES: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 240 hp, 255 lb-ft; turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter inline-6, 300 hp, 300 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
WHEELBASE: 110.6 in
LENGTH: 182.5 in
WIDTH: 71.3 in HEIGHT: 56.3 in
CURB WEIGHT: 3450?3750 lb
EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECONOMY: 20?24/28?34 mpg