Presented by Olympic Auto Sales,
Atlanta’s premier Luxury Buy Here Pay Here
BMW slightly revised front and rear fascias for 2016. Headlights and taillights now have a more distinctive signature when illuminated, air intakes are wider, and bumpers have been reshaped. The overall effect is aggressive, but handsome.
There's also the 2016 3-Series Gran Turismo, a five-door hatchback with significant dimensional differences: nearly 8 inches longer overall, about 4 inches longer in wheelbase, and about 3 inches taller. Frameless windows, a large hatchback, and a rear spoiler, along with the coupe-like profile, push this model in a new direction that appears as one third fastback, one third wagon, and one third crossover. While its shape and sheet metal are unique, it's still instantly recognizable as part of the 3-Series family.
We like the fact that the dashboard's design eschews retro cues with a clean, horizontal instrument panel broken only by a freestanding display monitor. It's adorned with elegantly understated aluminum or wood appliqués. The 3-Series can be equipped with many different trim lines and appearance packages, but try before you buy because they tend to make a greater difference inside and some combinations can be visually startling. The Sport Line, optional last year, is standard on the 328i, 328d, and 340i. There's also an M Sport package and—new this year—a Track Handling package notable for brakes with distinctive blue calipers.
The current 3-Series lineup offers several turbocharged engine choices. To start, there are two variants of a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4: it makes 180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque in the entry-level 320i, while rising to 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque under the hood of a mid-range 328i. Horsepower dips to 180 with the four-cylinder turbodiesel in the 328d, but torque checks in at a healthy 280 lb-ft. Under the hood of the new range-topping 340i is an all-new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. The 335i Gran Turismo retains last year's 300-hp six-cylinder engine.
Although its dimensions have grown considerably in recent years, the 2016 3-Series is still very much a compact sport sedan. That means you'll find plenty of space up front, where a wide range of adjustability enables almost anyone to find a comfortable position—this is true whether you choose the base seats or upgraded Sport seats with extending thigh bolsters and stronger side bolstering. The rear seat is a different story. While there's now enough space for adults, and it's fine for short trips around town, taller passengers will still come up short on leg room.
We'd like a wider trunk opening, but space is good, and with the right option package you can move your foot under the rear bumper to open the trunk when your hands are full. The Sports Wagon provides much more utility, and offers an appealing compromise for active families who want an engaged driving experience and a good measure of practicality.
The Gran Turismo may look, simply, like a hatchback variant of the sedan and wagon, but it's actually a much different car with a longer wheelbase, extra height, and interior volume that's nearly midsize. There's a higher driving position, and while rear-seat passengers gain several inches legroom they also encounter limited headroom thanks to a sloping roofline—a design element that also restricts space in the rear cargo area.
Manual transmissions are still widely offered in the 3-Series lineup, rather than being reserved for entry-level or high-end trim levels. If you prefer a 6-speed manual to an 8-speed automatic, it's a no-cost option for most 320i, 328i, 340i models. (Only the 328i xDrive is automatic-only.) Sport-model automatics come with special programming for faster shifts, and in sedans with the 8-speed it’s so good out on the racetrack that we might actually choose the automatic over the manual.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.