I’m going to be real with you. You don’t even need to read this BMW 3 Series pros and cons list to validate getting one of these amazing cars for yourself. Despite its flaws, it’s pretty much perfect, and you should totally get one.
BMW designed the 3 Series to be as sporty as it is practical. It handles like a sports car, it’s relatively quick, and it’s extremely easy to drive (which makes it an excellent daily driver). I think we can all agree on that.
The major drawbacks are high maintenance costs and general reliability. This isn’t a car for the financially timid.
All the pros and cons of the BMW 3 Series
It’s important to note that everything I’m about to tell you is not specific to any model year of the 3 Series. Yes, some years and generations of the 3 Series are better than others (I really liked the 2015 328i), but they all basically do the same thing. That’s what these pros and cons are all about:
- It’s a sports car disguised as a boring(ish) sedan. In other words, it’s about the stealthiest sports cars on the market.
- The driving dynamics are next-level insane. Throwing a BMW 3 Series into tight corners is an absolute joy.
- Along those lines, steering feedback is exceptional. Every BMW 3 Series that I have ever driven felt extremely communicative.
- The 3 Series is the perfect road trip car. It’s comfortable, fast, and it’ll effortlessly cruise at 90mph on the freeway for hours on end. Hypothetically, of course.
- Yeah, it’s fast. No, it’s not ‘muscle car’ or ‘electric car’ fast , but it’ll satisfy any driver with a heavy right foot.
- Interior room is extremely generous. It feels like a much larger car than it actually is, which is deceptively good fun on roads with tight corners.
- Outward visibility is excellent, which makes it an easy car to drive in heavy traffic.
- This is subjective, but I’ll say it anyway: the 3 Series (no matter what model year) is a fantastically well-proportioned and good looking vehicle. I don’t think I’m alone on my opinions regarding this.
- Maintenance and repair costs (especially on older models) can be exorbitantly expensive compared to the competition.
- Let’s be honest: BMW reliability hasn’t been all that great over the years, and the 3 Series isn’t immune to its fair share of problems. I dare you to read through my list of 2015 BMW 328i problems without any butt clenching.
- As the years go on, the gauge cluster seems to be getting more and more complicated. It took me over 3 hours of driving to find the odometer in the newest 3 Series that I drove! It’s infuriating.
- The infotainment screen is overly complex compared to the competition. Especially on later models.
- It used to be that the 3 Series was an economical choice for a high-quality / sporty daily driver. Not anymore. Have you seen the prices for new 3 Series lately? It’s outrageous.
- One of the signature design elements of the 3 Series are the low overhangs ahead (and behind) the wheels. This translates to much less trunk space than you might expect for a car of this size.
- Being relatively fast (both in a straight line and around corners has one major downside: it’ll tempt you to drive more aggressively than you normally would. It’s hard not be an idiot behind the wheel of a 3 Series BMW!
Two good reasons why you should buy a BMW 3 Series
Look. I know I’m not going to have to twist your arm to go out and buy a BMW 3 Series. I want one too, and there are many reasons for it. For the few of you who need more encouragement, here are my top two reasons:
1. It’s the most fun you can have in an otherwise generic looking sedan
I don’t want to buy a BMW 3 Series because of the way it looks. I want it for the driving dynamics. Yes, I will agree that most generations of the 3 Series look great, but the way it drives is what makes it special IMHO.
It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’ll pamper you like a celebrity all week during your commute to work, and then turn around and hang with much more powerful cars down at your local racetrack on the weekends. This is an extremely fun (and versatile) vehicle.
2. It’s practical AF
I’ve always liked the 3 Series because of how fun it is to drive. That said, buying one because of how practical and comfortable it is is a completely valid reason as well.
As I mentioned in the pros and cons above, the 3 Series is an excellent road trip car. The windows are large, the driving position is darn near perfect, and the seats are really comfortable. It’s all these things that makes it not only an excellent daily driver, but perfect for driving long distances.
Two good reasons why you shouldn’t buy a BMW 3 Series
I’ll be honest. I had to think really hard about all the reasons why it wouldn’t be a good idea to buy a 3 Series (any model year). Honestly, the only things I could think of aren’t serious enough to make it not worth not buying at all. But here goes anyway:
1. Maintenance and repair costs have the potential to be a really big problem
The cost of maintenance and repairs applies less to newer models, as the warranty will pretty much take care of anything that goes wrong. The issue arises when the warranty expires, and you have to pay for all the maintenance and repairs yourself.
BMW parts and labor is expensive. It always has been, and it always will be. You absolutely need to factor these costs into the equation when trying to figure out if this is a car you can afford. Things will break. And it’ll be expensive.
2. You’ll be instantly labeled as a giant douchebag
Admit it. There’s been at least one instance in your life where you were completely enraged by the antics of a self-righteous BMW driver. The 3 Series has a reputation for attracting these types of people. Even if you don’t identify as one them, many will naturally assume that that you’re a total douche.
Of course, being labeled as a douchebag isn’t so much of a problem if you don’t give a crap about what other people think of you. In that case, have at it and enjoy the hell out of your shiny new 3 Series. The rest of you need t0 think long and hard about the kind of person you really are before lumping yourself in with some of the most self-centered individuals on the planet.