The newest generation of 3 Series is a redesign stemming from 2011. This generation saw only slight exterior tweaks from the last, which began production in 2004. In effect, the current model has been produced since 2003, a testament to how far ahead of its time BMW has often been.
The exterior design is one of the sharpest of any compact. The Bavarians seem to take seriously the idea that car building is a form of high art. The styling of the BMW 3 Series strikes a near perfect balance between boldness and understatement. The overall poise of the car is aggressive, with an almost grimacing fascia, a road-hugging stance and enough ducts, channels and ground effects to make you think you were looking at a race car. Yet there’s nothing overt or garish about it. The contours of the car heavily allude to its more expensive cousin, the 7 Series and give the car a presence that one may not expect from a package costing just half what it’s larger counterparts run.
The 3 Series is not a single car but a line of vehicles. This means that there are a plethora of available engine, mechanical and interior options that comprise a host of different models. But at the series’ most basic, the company’s best seller, the 330i, has a turbocharged 2.0 liter, inline four-cylinder engine that produces a surprising 248 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. That’s a lot of power, especially when married to BMWs 10 speed transmission, which can push the compact Bimmer from 0 to 60 in just 5.4 seconds, making it one of the fastest cars in its class.
While not technically a sports car, the 330i can pull nearly .9 lateral Gs on the skidpad and can brake from 70 mph to zero in just 168 feet. These are seriously impressive numbers for a stock luxury compact, making the 3 Series a at-home in a drag race as it is in the grocery store parking lot.
The interior is likewise impressive. While not quite as finely appointed as some of its larger brethren, the 3 Series benefits from tasteful chrome accents throughout the cabin and comfortable yet firm leather seats. BMWs trademark red digital displays give the car an aeronautical feel while the large 8-inch iDrive touchscreen display packs all the latest technology, including Android Auto, GPS navigation and Sirius Satellite Radio as standard.
The 3 Series starts at $33,000 and goes upwards of $70,000 for the Ferrari-eating M3 uber compact.
Why leasing a BMW 3 Series may be superior to buying
Leasing can provide a large number of benefits, too numerous to fully list in a short article. But the most compelling reason to consider leasing a BMW 3 Series is simply the massive amounts of up-front and near-term costs that doing so can save you, verus buying.
If you’re in the market for a new BMW, the chances are high that you are the type of person that knows how to put your capital to good use. Buying a new car is generally not a fantastic investment. But leasing can be. A typical new car is the single fastest depreciating asset that most people will ever buy. Aside from the enormous up-front costs required to buy a new car, even on a bank loan, the depreciation and resell market risk means that many people who borrow money to buy a new car will end up underwater on the deal.
Why not keep the $10,000 to $15,000 it will cost you to buy a new BMW and instead invest it?