|Exterior||Black Sapphire Metallic|
|Transmission||8-Speed Shiftable Automatic|
|Engine||4cyl - 2L|
Entry-level luxury cars dominate premium-brand vehicle sales in the United States. These are the cars people buy when they get that big promotion at work, and the BMW 3 Series has long been a favorite with consumers and critics alike. There's good reason for its success. The 3 Series comes with some of the most powerful and fuel-efficient four- and six-cylinder engines in this class and arguably the nicest interior furnishings. It also has a reputation for providing sporty handling and a fun overall driving experience. Although the current-generation car puts more priority on ride comfort than previous versions, the 2014 BMW 3 Series remains enjoyable whether you're seeking out roads less traveled or just driving to the office.
The 2014 model year brings plenty of change for the 3 Series line. The BMW 3 Series wagon returns to the lineup after taking 2013 off, and as expected it shares its platform architecture and engines with the 3 Series sedan. This time around, however, the wagon is all-wheel drive only. Meanwhile, the 3 Series coupe and convertible are history, as the redesigned versions of these cars will be known as part of the 2014 4 Series line.
BMW also introduces a brand-new engine for 2014, and if your heart bleeds for mpg, you're probably going to like this 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder diesel. Rated at 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, this engine is extremely efficient, as the rear-wheel-drive diesel 3 Series sedan earns an impressive 37 mpg combined EPA rating, while the AWD 328d wagon carries a 35 mpg combined rating. Although the 2014 328d sedan and wagon aren't as quick as other 3 Series models, they're not exactly slow -- BMW claims they can hustle from zero to 60 mph in the low 7-second range.
The 328i sedan adds a more powerful version of the 320i's engine, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, and driver memory functions. The 328i and 328d wagons are equipped similarly to their sedan counterparts.
For extra safety, the Driver Assistance package provides a rearview camera along with front and rear parking sensors. The Driver Assistance Plus package gets those items plus side- and top-view cameras, blind-spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system, a driver drowsiness monitor and a speed limit info display. The Cold Weather package comes with heated front and rear seats plus a heated steering wheel. The Dynamic Handling package bundles the sportier suspension tuning from the M Sport line with variable-ratio steering.
2014 BMW 3 Series sedans offer a choice between rear-wheel drive and the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, while AWD is standard on 3 Series wagons. A six-speed manual is available on sedans, but the wagon comes only with an eight-speed automatic transmission (optional on the sedan). Automatic-equipped 3 Series cars with the Sport or M Sport package have a "sport" version of this transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. Both transmissions come with an automatic stop-start function that turns off the engine when the car stops in order to save fuel.
The 320i comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine rated at 180 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. Considering we recorded a decent 7.3-second 0-60-mph time at the track, the EPA fuel economy ratings are impressive at 28 mpg combined (24 city/36 highway) for a rear-drive sedan with the automatic. The manual version and xDrive versions are nearly as good, rating 27 mpg combined.
Every 2014 BMW 3 Series comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.
The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry when the windshield wipers are in use and automatically snugging the pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle. BMW Assist emergency communications is standard and includes automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance.
Options include parking sensors (front and rear), a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system and an automated parking system.
In Edmunds brake testing, a 328i sedan with 18-inch summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 115 feet, while the 328i M Sport stopped in 109 feet -- average distances for an entry-level luxury sedan with summer tires. Book-ending this group were the 328d xDrive wagon with all-season tires at 126 feet, and the ActiveHybrid 3 at 106 feet on summer tires.
In government crash testing, the sedan received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, plus four stars for frontal protection and five for side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the sedan the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. It received the second-worst rating of "Marginal" in the Institute's small-overlap frontal-offset crash test. Its seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Although the latest 3 Series has lost a bit of the previous car's hard-edged athleticism, the reality is that this car still delivers the best all-around driving experience in the entry-level luxury sedan class. The ride is smooth and quiet, no matter which wheels and tires you choose, so the car is fantastic for road trips. Although we haven't driven the 2014 BMW 3 Series wagon, its handling should be similar to the sedan, which feels nicely composed when going around turns.
The steering is the weakest link in this package: Most consumers will find it very precise, with ideal weighting, but more demanding drivers might notice that it lacks the detailed feedback that made older BMWs feel special.
Still, we have no complaints about the engines. The 320i and its 180-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides a punchy power delivery and acceleration on par with rivals. That leaves the former base model, the 328i and its turbo-4, as a desirable upgrade model. The six-cylinder 335i might seem like overkill at this point, but its huge wallop of power and distinctive inline-6 sound still make it the best choice for those wanting the top sport sedan experience.
If you'd like to take it for a spin, give us a call now at 720.204.2542
Exterior: The exterior of this unit is in excellent shape with no major flaws.
Interior: The interior is in excellent condition.
Mechanical: This vehicle is "Insight Certified" with no known mechanical defects after completing a 144 point mechanical inspection with required maintenance performed.
Tires: The tires are in excellent health with plenty of tread life remaining.