The BMW 3-series has been the benchmark executive saloon for decades now, thanks to its combination of great driving dynamics, premium appeal, versatility, excellent build quality and often highly affordable running costs, depending on the version you choose.
You’ll find examples of both the sixth-generation (2012-2019) and latest 2019-on seventh-generation 3-series available at Motorpoint. So check out the spec secrets below, then browse our latest stock…
Or try these: Mercedes-Benz C-class, Audi A4, Jaguar XE
Both the 2012-2019 and 2019-onwards generation 3-series are available with a range of four- and six-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines (plus a three-cylinder petrol in the case of the earlier model).
Models ending in ‘i’ are petrols, ‘d’ is for diesel, and ‘e’ represents the new era of electrified hybrid models. Unlike earlier 3-series, badges on the bootlid don’t always correspond to engine size, it’s more about the performance they offer – a 330i has a small but punchy 2.0-litre turbo engine these days.
For the 2012-2019 3-series, the 318i uses a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine, while everything up to and including the 330i has a 2.0-litre four cylinder. The 335i and 340i are highly sought after because they’re fitted with BMW’s famed 3.0-litre straight-six engine. M3 models go a step further with a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol unit.
All diesels up to the 325d are 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesels, while the 330d and 335d are 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbodiesels. The 330e is a four-cylinder plug-in hybrid.
It’s much the same logic for the latest 2019-onwards model, save for the 318i now being a 2.0-litre four-cylinder rather than the previous three-cylinder unit. The 330d is now joined by the M340d, and there is no 325d.
There’s a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes across the range, plus rear or xDrive all-wheel drive.
The BMW 3-series is available in a range of four-door saloon and estate body styles. A 3-series GT model was also offered for the 2012-2019 model – it added a hatchback tailgate and longer wheelbase, so there’s more space for rear-seat passengers than other 3-series models. The GT was dropped for the the latest generation, though the saloon and estate both adopted a longer wheelbase to free up extra interior space anyway. Two-door coupe and convertible models are now sold under the 4-series name.
The 2012-2019 3-series was offered with six core trim levels: ES, SE, Sport, Modern, M Sport and Luxury, plus a few others added under the Efficient Dynamics banner and aimed at business users. The truth, however, is the overwhelming majority of UK cars are SE, Sport or M-Sport.
- SE highlights include 17-inch alloys, rear parking sensors and auto lights/wipers.
- Sport gets different 17-inch alloys, redesigned bumpers and red stitching.
- M Sport extras include Dakota leather, sportier bodystyling and lowered and uprated suspension.
The latest 3-series simplified the choices with SE, Sport and M Sport, but later added Sport Pro and M Sport Pro Edition. This time almost all UK cars are M Sport specification, which includes 18-inch alloys, leather trim, sports seats and distinctive sports body styling.
The M340d/M340i models are trim levels in their own right, and effectively take M Sport specification another step further.
Even the most basic 2012-2019 3-series are equipped with the iDrive infotainment system and 6.5-inch colour screen, but the latest model takes a big leap forwards with adaptive LED headlights, a reversing camera, and the new BMW Live Cockpit Plus, which includes a 8.8-inch central instrument cluster.
You’ll need to step up to M Sport spec to get the 12.3-inch touchscreen (also controlled by BMW’s highly intuitive iDrive dial) and 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, plus the Operating System 7.0 with Intelligent Personal Assistant – a brilliant voice-control system.
Browse our stock to find your perfect nearly new BMW 3 Series now!