BMW 3 Series for sale

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Learn more about the BMW 3 Series

Compact without being cramped: luxury without being over the top. The 3 Series is the standard for small executive saloons to aspire to and a car that earns the title “The Ultimate Driving Machine” – and then some.

The iconic BMW 3 Series has dominated the saloon market for more than 40 years. Stacked with all the latest technology and available as an estate or with the famed M badge, the 3 Series is the distilled essence of BMW.

Which is a fancy way of saying it’s a fantastic driving machine. Powerful engines, rear wheel drive and almost perfect weight distribution give the 3 series a tonne of character. Add in a superb driving position and you feel like you’re at the heart of the machine and able to take on anything.

The 3 Series features a sublime range of diesel and petrol engines. The petrol engines offer plenty of grunt for hoofing out of corners without glugging fuel. The diesels provide excellent economy without rattling or discomfort. The 3 Series also offers a hybrid option that borrows technology from BMW’s electric range.

The 3 Series isn’t, however, a sports car: it’s a family saloon. You get a great driving machine that’s just as good at moving people and possessions.

Rear seat space is surprisingly large, even if headroom is a bit tighter for taller adults. The boot is pretty big too.

Comfort is excellent as well, with fantastic seating front and rear, along with a wealth of leather, leather-effect vegan plastics and aluminium dotted about the place. It’s
premium without being gaudy.

For a day to day cruiser you can sling through the back roads, the 3 Series is pretty much unbeatable.


At Glance BMW 3 Series Review

  • Chassis
  • Performance
  • Interior
  • Practicality
  • Overall Rating

The 3 Series comes in three spec levels: SE, Sport, and M-Sport. Each spec comes with adaptive LED headlights, live cockpit including sat-nav, and cruise control. 17-inch alloys and parking assistant with a rearview camera are also standard.

The Sport offers 18-inch alloys, heated sports seats, and leather upholstery. The M- Sport comes with ‘M’ aerodynamics body styling, a BMW personal assistant and sports suspension.

The M340i xDrive offers additional top-level performance with four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. It features adaptive suspension, a sports differential, and lower ride height.


It might be the base spec but the SE trim still comes with plenty of toys. Auto headlights and wipers are present and correct, as is BMW’s excellent iDrive system. Six air bags keep you safe and 17 inch alloys keep you looking swish.


Sport trim gives you more… Um,… trim. Yes, the improvements are mostly cosmetic, as standard, but you can add a shopping list of options so take a good look at the toys the first owner added to get a good idea what you’re getting.


The legendary M badge means one thing and one thing only: this is the fun one. Tuned to within an inch of its life, the M-Sport version is the one to go for if you’re a fan of back road fun. Bigger engines, better suspension and a tonne of little tweaks mean the the M-Sport gets you going fast, keeps you flat in the corners and gives you plenty of feedback through the steering column.

As compact executive saloons go, there are few that can hold a candle to the 3 series. Premium materials, perfect handling and a remarkably comfortable ride combine to make this the go-to business person’s car of choice.

It’s been that way since 1975, with each iteration learning and developing from the
last. While not BMWs top range sedan, there’s little to separate the 3 Series from its 5 Series siblings but the price.

bmw 3 series driving along a country road.

Brief History of the BMW 3 Series

First introduced in 1975, the 3 Series was successor to the 2 Series, encapsulating the look and style of the 70s with a boxy exterior and round headlights. 1982 saw the release of the second generation which offered a wider range of variations and the recognisable twin headlight design. The third generation hit the market in 1990, bringing with it the model’s first hatchback body style.

Another update came in 1997 with the fourth generation which also saw a new range of electronic features such as rain-sensing windscreen wipers. The fifth generation was introduced in 2005, one year before the 3 Series was given the award of ‘World Car of the Year’.

2011 brought with it the sixth generation of the series, introducing hybrid options for the first time, and bringing the 3 Series into the 21st century. The most recent generation was released in 2018 with a sleek styling and plenty of features to match.

If you want driving fun with a plush interior and plenty of space, the 3 series is the car for you.

Living up to BMWs moniker of “the ultimate driving machine”, the 3 Series has been the benchmark for driving enjoyment for decades. If you want to enjoy your drive, these are the cars to buy.

The 3 Series is also a great place to spend time, with fantastic infotainment and a classy interior that puts others to shame.

It’s also very decently priced, with many alternatives from Audi and Mercedes-Benz tipping the scales for many more pennies.

There are plenty od M3s on the market so a good chunk should already have been shaved off the purchase price. Keep an eye out for particularly well specced models, however, as they’ll hold their value the most and may have attractive monthlies.

Finding your Perfect BMW 3 Series is just part of the journey: buying or leasing it with great- value car finance? That’s the cherry on the cake.’s fantastic range of Car Finance options can help you to drive away with the BMW you’ve always wanted for much less than you ever expected to pay – even if you’ve had problems getting credit in the past.

Hire Purchase, PCP or Lease: we have the Finance you need for the Car You’ll Love.

The BMW 3 series is a terrific car at a fantastic price. The benchmark for all small executive sedans, it takes everything from the 5 Series and trims it down into a car that’s perfect for UK roads.

If you think luxury equals an abundance of chrome and flashs gimmicks, the 3 Series might not be entirely your cup of tea. If you value absolutely outstanding build quality with a restrained, classy interior and superb driving dynamics, the 3 Series is as luxury as they come.

Audi often match BMWs build quality but rarely can they match BMW handling. The 3 Series is often called the “ultimate driving machine” and BMW do everything they can to deserve the title.

A great many 3 Series cars are still out there on the road after 100,000 miles but, like any car that’s been out there this long and has been this successful, the 3 series has had its share of problems. THe thing to remember about 3 and 5 Series cars is that they are performance vehicles and owners often run them hard.

There is some evidence to suggest that Mercedes are a touch more reliable than BMW (though the data is constantly changing and worth taking with a pinch of salt) but there’s little doubt that the cost of any repairs tends to be higher in Mercs. With good upkeep and frequent maintenance both Mercedes and BMWs should last and last.

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