For decades, the BMW 3 Series has had journalists reaching for the thesaurus to better describe how well it drives. It’s a constant fixture on annual “best” lists. And driving enthusiasts love it for all the flexibility it offers. After all, you can have it as a slinky coupe, or the 3 Series Sport Wagon offers fun for the whole family.
The BMW 3 Series Coupe is an icon of style, power and performance. It is the embodiment of The Ultimate Driving MachineÒ. It all starts with the dynamically engaging, rear-wheel drive 328i Coupe (MSRP $37,650), which features an aluminum/magnesium composite engine block for better weight distribution and, by extension, superior handling. The 230-hp 3.0-liter inline-six propels the 328i Coupe from zero-to-60 mph in a scant 6.2 seconds. A traditional, slick-shifting six-speed manual is standard, and a six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic is available. Likewise, drivers who demand the most out of their driving experiences can choose the 328i xDrive Coupe, which incorporates the rear-wheel-biased xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system. Despite providing spirited performance, drivers can expect fuel consumption of 28 mpg on the highway in rear-drive models and up to 26 mpg with xDrive, depending on the transmission selection.
If you seek even more excitement behind the wheel, the 335i Coupe features a 300-hp 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six, one of Ward’s
10 Best Engines for 2011. It rockets from zero-to-60 in just 5.3 seconds. As with the 328i, a six-speed manual is standard, a six-speed STEPTRONIC is available and an xDrive model is also offered. Highway fuel economy is EPA-estimated at up to 28 mpg.
The most exciting 3 Series Coupe is the 335is, upping the ante even further with a 320-hp 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder and an available seven-speed double-clutch transmission for perfect shifts. It also features launch control for maximum acceleration and near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution for awe- and confidence-inspiring handling. All that, and it still registers 26 mpg on the highway.
Every well-equipped 3 Series Coupe can be further enhanced with features like a Premium Package, a Cold Weather Package with heated front seats and an M Sport Package complete with higher top speed and racier trim. Convenience options such as navigation, a rear sunshade and iPod compatibility make the in-car environment even more pleasant. While, driving assistance features such as Park Distance Control, BMW Assist with Bluetooth and automatic high beams add an even greater sense of security and reduce distraction.
As attractive as the BMW 3 Series Coupe is, if you regularly travel with your whole family, it may not fit everyone. Fortunately, there’s an option that adds practicality without sacrificing the inherent sportiness of the 3 Series: the 2011 BMW 328i Sport Wagon.
The 328i Sport Wagon shares its powertrains with the 328i Coupe, so it has a 3.0-liter 230-hp inline-six and a six-speed stick as standard equipment. Once again, the six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic and xDrive all-wheel drive are also available. The wagon’s body style means it can be had with some features unavailable on the coupes. For instance, a dual-panel glass Panoramic Moonroof with electric sunshade is offered. The Sport Wagon also offers up to 60.9 cubic feet of cargo space. Expect highway mileage of 27 mpg.
Like its two-door sibling, the 328i Sport Wagon is available with the same luxury, convenience and performance features available on the coupe. From the Cold Weather Package, to navigation and satellite radio, to the M Sport Package, the 3 Series Sport Wagon is every bit the Ultimate Driving MachineÒ.
Safety is front and center in every 3 Series vehicle, and drivers can rest assured each is equipped with anti-lock brakes and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). For superior traction in poor conditions, models equipped with xDrive deliver an added sense of confidence.
Whether as a Coupe or Sport Wagon, the BMW 3 Series delivers exceptional quality and attention to detail, and gives an involving driving experience that is unmatched among small luxury cars.