We don't just talk cars ... we teach how to buy them.
2013 BMW 3-Series Pros, Cons, Prices
And Best Deal Strategy
(See Also: "The Ultimate 3-Series Negotiation Secret")
The BMW 3-Series is one of the most renowned sport sedans on the planet and the best-selling luxury car in the United States. The 2013 version, while also possessing a few negative characteristics, will likely continue its position at the top of the leaderboard in its class.
Redesigned last year, the sedan is actually larger than its predecessor but weighs less due to a greater use of aluminum in its revised suspension. Also introduced last year is electrically driven steering which has helped boost fuel economy. The new 3-Series also comes with BMW's Driving Dynamics Control, which improves performance by allowing drivers to pick between four modes that fine-tune automatic transmission shifting patterns, steering effort and throttle response.
2013 BMW 3-Series
Also new this year, the base 328i sedan has replaced its naturally aspirated inline-6 engine with a turbocharged four-cylinder that not only increases power and torque, but also improves gas mileage at the same time. Other significant new features include an optional 8-speed automatic transmission and a pump-friendly automatic stop/start system.
Before making a final buying decision, however, prospective owners should not only consider a vehicle's appealing qualities, but measure the possible impact of its drawbacks as well. And if one then decides to proceed with a possible purchase, it's essential to also have a rock-solid plan for getting the best price (see the "How To Get The Lowest Price" link below).
The 2013 3-Series offers an excellent balance of ride quality and handling. With its new chassis, steering system, four-cylinder turbo and multiple drive settings, the 3-Series is an engaging and capable performer that is a joy to drive. The four door models are the smoothest to drive, making them the better choice for those who anticipate significant long-trip use.
And for those who still favor the the traditional inline-6 driving experience, both the 335i and 335is pack a robust torque boost that's very likely to please.
The engines are both powerful and fuel efficient. Powering the 328i sedan and wagon is the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that produces 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. In independent performance tests, a manual 328i sedan was timed from a standstill to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds, faster than any other four-cylinder competitors.
Yet the four-cylinder's fuel economy is excellent for this class, coming in at an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city and 34 mpg on the highway with the manual, while the automatic gets a very similar 23 city and 33 highway.
Powering both the 328i coupe and convertible is a 3.0-liter inline-6 that delivers 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. BMW puts its 0 - 60 time with a manual transmission at a still very quick 6.2 seconds. The gas mileage performance for this engine, with either transmission, is 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for the coupe, while the convertible and/or all-wheel drive comes in 1 or 2 mpg less in each.
Under the hood of all 335i models is a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder that pumps out 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. It is considered one of the best engines in the luxury segment while its fuel economy nearly matches the four-cylinder's. BMW puts the sedan's 0 - 60 mph time at a fleet 5.4 seconds for the sedan, while its gas mileage rating is still an impressive 23 city and 33 highway with the automatic and 20 and 30, respectively, with the manual. The coupe still gets a respectable 19 city and 28 highway with rear-wheel drive and the manual, while the automatic and all-wheel drive lower these numbers by 1 or 2 mpg.
Powering the 335is is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder that outputs a robust 320 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque ... and with its temporary overboost function, torque can max out at 370 lb-ft. In performance tests, a manual 335is coupe did the 0 to 60 sprint in just 5 seconds. Gas mileage for the 335is comes in at 18 mpg city and 26 highway with the 6-speed manual and 17 city, 24 highway with the 7-speed automated dual-clutch (DCT).
Lastly, the ActiveHybrid3 couples the 335i's engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. All combined, its production comes in at 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. Quicker and more powerful (0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds) than the traditional 335i, it still gets better gas mileage, standing at 25 mpg city and 33 mpg on the highway.
2013 BMW 3-Series interior
The cabin is refined and upscale. Both the build quality and materials are top-notch ... even the standard leatherette (vinyl) upholstery has a very high quality overall look and feel. The availability of high-tech goodies and features is also abundant.
Even the base-model seating is comfortable and supportive, while the premium seating of the sport packages is outstanding. The rear seat is also one of the roomiest in the entry-level luxury class, while last year's 4-inch boost in the overall length of the sedan added still more front and rear legroom. In addition, the convertible has available heat-reflective leather that does a great job keeping the seats from becoming scorching on those hot sunny days.
There's a wide selection of body styles. Offered in sedan, wagon, coupe and hardtop convertible designs, most consumers can find something that's just right for them.
Despite its interior spaciousness, the 3-Series does not offer much in the way of interior storage space. There is a limited amount of compartments and storage cubbies. Trunk space is about average, however.
Prices can rise quickly with the addition of appealing optional packages: Driver Assistance Package ($1,900), Luxury Line ($2,100), Modern Line ($2,100), Premium Package ($3,100), Sport Line ($2,500) and Technology Package ($3,100).
While still possessing sharp and impressive road manners, chassis and steering changes in the new sedan and wagon have resulted in somewhat less overall driver engagement. The responsiveness and driver feel of the steering in particular does not quite measure up to what some "BMW purists" may be used to. While still a leader as a very "fun car to drive", it is no longer the standout in the sport sedan class. The tradeoff, however, is improved fuel economy.
The hybrid model is not what most consider to be traditionally fuel efficient. The ActiveHybrid3 is powerful and fast, and not engineered for maximum gas mileage savings. In fact, given its price premium over the 335i, it's been estimated that it would take over six decades to pay back the added investment based on current fuel costs.
BMW's iDrive electronics interface is a bit complicated and not particularly user-friendly. It takes some getting used, but does offer a wide range of personal customization for those willing to spend the initial time to learn the system.
The 2013 BMW 3-Series continues to impress on a number of different levels, including performance, features, build quality and fuel economy. While the 3-Series may stand at the top of its class overall, it doesn't necessarily provide the most features or equipment for the dollar. Competitors perhaps also worthy of consideration might include the Acura TL, the Audi A4, the Cadillac ATS, the Infiniti G37 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Here's the details on exactly how to get the best price on a new BMW 3-Series ... or any other car.
Also, For 'Used' Car Buyers ...
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try an Open-To-The-Public Auto Auction in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.