BMW 3 Series Coupe

The Essentials

  • Price from £27,005
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 60.1mpg
  • What is it? Few coupes are as good to drive, and the BMW 3 Series is surprisingly practical, too.

Great

  • Lethal good-looks
  • Impeccable manners
  • Top marks for safety and security

Gripes

  • Conservative styling won't be for all
  • The ride is firm
  • Lack of rear headroom might ruin passengers hairdos
  • Drive

    Strong and smooth, only the firm ride is a cause for concern

  • Inside

    The driving position is supremely comfortable, whatever height you are

  • Safety

    All the mod cons, from multiple airbags and run-flat tyres to a clever anti-lock brake system that keeps discs dry, whatever the weather

  • Reliability

    The Germans have built this beauty to last

  • Space

    There's plenty of room for four adults, no matter how long their limbs, but mind your head in the back

  • Standard and extras

    Everything you could possibly wish for and more, including automatic xenon headlights and wipers, plus reverse parking sensors

  • What's it like to drive?

    There's a firm edge to the ride of the 3 Series Coupe, but the pay-off is outstanding composure in bends. Even the most challenging roads are tackled without drama, while the steering provides reassuring weight and feel.
    The Coupe's frameless side windows do let in some wind noise at speed. However, you hear little road or suspension noise, and the engines are refined.
    The pick of the range is the 335i petrol model, which is so quick that it makes you question why anyone would spend half as much again on an M3.
    Alternatively, if you're on a more modest budget, the 320d diesel's flexible performance and impressive efficiency make it hard to ignore.

  • What's it like inside?

    The standard dashboard is classy and simple, while specifying sat-nav brings BMW's iDrive control system, which seems more complicated at first, but quickly becomes second nature.
    The 3 Series Coupe is also a genuine four-seater with a decent-sized boot, so it's far more practical than its closest rival, the Audi A5 Coupe.
    Every model comes with alloy wheels, cruise control, leather upholstery, rear parking sensors, climate control and a CD player with an MP3 input.

  • How reliable is it?

    Owners of the previous 3 Series saloon, which this car is closely related to, rated it just average for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
    Fortunately, that model did better in Euro NCAP crash tests, scoring five out of five for adult occupant protection and four out of five for child safety.
    The 3 Series Coupe comes with a long list of standard safety features, including stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution and front and rear ISOFIX child seat mountings.

  • Should I buy one?

    As long as you like the looks, the 3 Series Coupe is a fine choice. It's classy, spacious, fun to drive and, if you go for one of the diesels, surprisingly affordable to run. The only thing that would put us off is the fact that it's due to be replaced soon.