The BMW 3 Series is now entering its 43rd year of production. The venerable sports sedan has long been a leader in its segment, and the new generation of 3 Series is no different. With BMW’s trademark penchant for high-tech gadgetry, the newest 3 Series couples advanced technology, serious power and artful design into one superlative package.
The exterior is a slightly redesigned version of the 3 Series’ body, going all the way back to 2004. This is less a statement of a stale design and more an acknowledgement of just how good BMW got it the first time around. Yet even as similar as the current 3 Series is to those that have been produced in the 13 years before it, there are some new flourishes that many drivers will appreciate.
The newest 3 Series has a slightly more aggressive stance and makes use of some sharper angles as well as channels and grooves in both the body and the hood. This, coupled with the 3 Series’ low profile and oversize rims, gives the car a more foreboding presence, making it closely reminiscent of its larger cousin, the 7 Series. Both the front fascia and rear taillight section have been subtly tweaked. Overall, the car has a serious street presence. You’ll be eager to pull up to the valet in the new 3 Series.
Because the 3 Series is a line of sports sedans and not just a single model, it comes with a wide variety of engines and other appointments. The standard model, the 330i, comes with a 2.0 liter, inline four-cylinder engine that is capable of producing 248 horsepower. The engine puts power to the wheels via a 10-speed, automatic transmission, which is capable of powering the car from 0 to 60 in just 5.4 seconds, making it one of the fastest sports sedans on the market today.
The 3 Series also features the feared and respected M3, one of the closest things to a true supercar that a sedan under $70,000 that exists. The M3 is powered by a 3.0 liter straight-six that makes an astounding 444 horsepower and can rocket the sports sedan from 0 to 60 in a hair under 4 seconds. The M3 starts at $65,000.
The 3 Series features an interior that is heavily derived from its larger counterpart, the 7 Series. It has a decidedly upscale feel, with polished aluminum accents throughout the cabin and tasteful use of leather paneling. The interior is a nice place to spend a two hour road trip or your daily commute.
Overall, the new 3 Series delivers excellent value. The car starts at $33,000.
Why leasing a 3 Series can be your best bet
Leasing can be superior to buying for a large number of reasons. But the most convincing reason to lease a car is the enormous immediate and near-term savings it can provide to the consumer.
A typical BMW 3 Series can be leased for as little as $400 per month. That same car may cost as much as $1,000 per month when bought on a bank loan. Over the course of a typical 36-month lease, this can easily add up to thousands or even tends of thousands of dollars in savings.
But there are equally large savings on up-front costs. The drive-off costs of a new BMW bought on bank loan, by the time the down payment, closing fees and taxes have been paid, will often exceed $10,000. The same car, when acquired on lease, may be driven off the lot for less than $1,000 in total cash outlays. This means you can retain all of that money, which would have otherwise been sunk into a rapidly depreciating asset, to invest in other pursuits.
Even for those who shun the idea of not owning their vehicle, there are many reasons to take another look at leasing.