Car trim reviews

BMW 3 Series Sport

"The Sport brings a touch of excitement to the BMW 3 Series range, without costing the earth."

The BMW 3 Series Sport is based on the 3 Series SE but comes with a range of ‘BMW Sport’ detailing. Buyers looking for the sportiest version should look at the top-spec M Sport models. It’s available with a choice of three 2.0-litre diesel engines, including the 316d, 318d and 320d, plus the 2.0-litre 320i petrol. All engines are fitted with stop/start and a six-speed manual, and there’s an optional eight-speed automatic. Prices start from around £27,000. Its closest rivals are the Audi A4 S line and Mercedes C-Class Sport, but neither are as competent or as enjoyable to drive. It’s so impressive, the 3 Series was named CarBuyer’s Best Diesel Car for 2015. All 3 Series Sport models are fitted with striking 17-inch double-spoke alloy wheels, cloth sports seats, a sports leather steering wheel, handbrake and gearlever, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch colour display, rear parking sensors and cruise control. Inside there’s a gloss black dashboard with red highlights, while on the outside, matching black trim adds to the sporty feel.

Good points

BMW is famous for building sharp handling cars, and although not fitted with sports suspension as standard, the 3 Series Sport is no exception. It allows twisty roads to be driven with a huge amount of confidence, while motorway work is carried out swiftly and quietly. Go for the impressive 320d model, and you’ll also enjoy fuel economy of 61.4mpg. The Sport is very well equipped as standard and comes with BMW’s Drive Performance Control – which is very easy to use. It’s fitted as standard and allows the driver to select between Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes to suit your driving mood. The driving experience is also improved by the sports seats, which hold you in place and make the interior feel more special when compared to the entry-level SE. The 320i petrol is the fastest model in Sport range, as it is capable of 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds. It is also one of the cheapest.

Bad points

As you’d expect for a CarBuyer award winner, there are very few problems with the BMW 3 Series. Nevertheless, the style of the 3 Series Sport’s interior will not suit everyone’s tastes - the red highlights and matching stitching may seem quite garish. The satin silver finish in the SE is much more subtle. Folding rear seats are essential if you plan to carry longer items, but BMW charges an extra £400 for this option on the saloon, a feature many of its rivals fit as standard. Another problem with the rear cabin is a lack of legroom for the middle passenger. Faced with a large transmission tunnel, the extra passenger definitely gets the short straw when it comes to comfort. It’s a shame the powerful 328i or 330d engines aren’t available in Sport trim, as they would suit its racy feel. On the other hand, the 320d EfficientDynamics model is also missing from the Sport trim line-up, so buyers miss out on maximum economy. Last not but least, because the BMW 3 Series sells in such large numbers, exclusivity is reduced, and although several personalisation options are offered, they are quite expensive.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Alarm
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure sensors
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Front fog lights
  • Auto climate control
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Single CD player
  • AUX stereo input
  • Cruise control
  • Stop/Start
  • Sports seats
  • Rear electric windows
  • Bluetooth

Recommended optional extras

  • Split-folding rear seats
  • Heated front seats

Our choice

If you can afford it, the 320d Sport offers very impressive performance and fuel economy of over 60mpg.

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