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Exterior design is defined by the classic proportions of a sports sedan. The hood is lower at the nose, but rises higher than the previous model thanks to pedestrian safety regulations; the cabin is larger and longer; and we especially like how the greenhouse doesn't get pinched by a rising belt line near the tail. BMW gave the 3-Series a few styling tweaks for 2016. Headlights and taillights have been redesigned with even more distinctive signatures when illuminated. Front and rear fascias were also reshaped.
The current 3-Series lineup offers several turbocharged engine choices. To start, rising to 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque under the hood of a mid-range 328i.
You don't have to worry about turbo lag with any 3-Series engine. Boost comes on so quickly and seamlessly it's easy to forget they aren't normally aspirated. The engine note, for instance, is just about the only giveaway that a 328i—with peak torque at only 1,250 rpm—isn't powered by a larger-displacement 6-cylinder engine.
You'll get a driving experience that fully lives up to long-held standards for handling and dynamics whether you choose a sedan or a wagon. The Gran Turismo is more oriented to comfort, though it's still confident and responsive, and we'd take it over a taller crossover.
The 328i is probably our pick of the lineup for a balance of power, fuel economy, and sticker price. It works well with an automatic transmission, churning out torque in the low-to-mid rev range; with a manual transmission it will zip to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. BMW has put tremendous effort into making the 3-Series more fuel efficient, and the EPA rates the 328i at 35 mpg on the highway, when equipped with an automatic.
All 3-Series cars now get an electric power steering system that loads and unloads nicely, and gives you—when you finally reach the 3’s impressive limits of grip—a little feedback from the road. We'd only wish for a better sense of the roadway surface before you approach those limits, which is what the hydraulic steering provided. A premium variable sport steering option permits easier parking along with sharper handling by altering the ratio mechanically, avoiding the digital transitions that can make electric power steering systems frustrating.
Driving Dynamics Control is included for the entire 3-Series lineup. With a rocker switch that’s right beside the driver’s knee, you can toggle between Eco Pro, Comfort (default), Sport, and Sport+ modes. With Sport, you get sharpened steering response, delayed shift points, and such, while Sport+ allows more slip from the stability control.
Federal safety authorities have given the 2016 3-Series a five-star overall rating, including four star frontal and five-star side impact ratings.
The 2016 BMW 3-Series only managed "Marginal" scores in the IIHS small overlap frontal category—corresponding to a higher chance of injury in such a crash. However in most other test areas from the IIHS, this model has earned top marks.
In the IIHS small overlap test, which simulates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with either another vehicle or an object such as a utility pole or tree, sends the vehicle into a five-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph, lining up the vehicle so that the barrier is struck by 25 percent of the total width of the vehicle.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.