BMW 3 Series saloon - beautifully built with four handling modes
What the motoring press is saying about the new BMW 3 Series saloon
Price: £25,730 - £37,025
Pros: Good to drive, beautifully built and low running costs
Cons: Expensive options, bland styling and average cabin space
The new BMW 3 Series has a lot to live up to, as its predecessor has been the class leader in the compact executive sector since making its debut in 2005. But the old car wasn't without its flaws, and recent updates to the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class have made the 3 Series look vulnerable. As a result, the latest model couldn't have come soon enough. Designers have worked hard to improve BMW in every area, while there's now a model to suit every taste and budget, including ES, ED, SE, Luxury, Modern and Sport. Bigger, more refined and with a range of efficient new engines, the all-new version is the best yet.
Auto Express, 5.0/5.0
What's immediately clear is that BMW hasn't taken any risks with the styling. Viewed in profile, the handsome newcomer shares much with its successful predecessor. The nose drops lower, but the upright windscreen and trademark Hoffmeister kink in the C-pillars are familiar design touches.
There are four different handling modes - Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+, each altering ride, steering and throttle responses. In Eco Pro mode even such things as the level of air con, heated seats and mirrors are reduced to help you make that next petrol station. The six-speed manual comes as standard, but BMW's eight-speed auto is also now available across the range (for £1500).
MSN Cars, 5.0/5.0
BMW is to make a big deal of its new trim 'lines' at launch: Sport, Modern and Luxury. These sit above ES and SE and let buyers choose a 3 Series with the right colour 'mood'. Fine - but around two in three UK 3 Series are M Sport spec.