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BMW 3 Series 2010 review: road test

It takes a while for BMW to effect a mid- model change because they are staggered to happen over a period of up to two years. That's why we are only seeing the mid-model upgrade to the 3-Series Coupe and Convertible now while the sedan model went through its changes about 18 months ago.

And essentially, the sedan changes are reflected in the 3-Series Coupe and Convertible.  That means a new visage - new grille, lights with eyebrows, bumper changes and something similar at the back. Changes have been made to character lines on the body and the car's overall appearance has been lifted with new colours and wheels.

Mechanical

In line with the modest exterior changes are a range of engine upgrades that yield better fuel economy and more power.  Across both Coupe and considerably more expensive Convertible ranges there are two turbo diesels in 2.0-litre four and 3.0-litre six cylinder while the petrols are a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated straight six and a 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbo six in the 335i Sport that replaces the earlier twin turbo engine.

This engine has the same power (225kW) and torque (400Nm) as the twin-turbo but delivers maximum torque at a low 1300rpm and uses less fuel into the bargain.  The 335i Sport only comes in M Sport spec' and is available with a seven-speed double clutch "manumatic" transmission as well as the standard six-speed manual.

The entry level diesel 320d Coupe ($65,600) gains 5kW to 135kw and 30Nm to 380Nm and is available with a six-speed manual or optional six-speed auto with sequential change.  Other engine have been tweaked for improved economy and lower emissions but are essentially the same as before.

Suspension changes offer a new damper with softer initial ride qualities increasing stiffness as more demands are made on the car.  Upholstery upgrades include a sun reflective treatment on the Convertible's seats that keeps them cool on hot days in direct sunlight.

Drivetrain and Pricing

Various option packages are available across both Coupe and Convertible ranges that include the Innovation Package and the M-Sport Package.  We drove most of the new variants last week and all have characteristic BMW traits like sporty dynamics and a solid feel on the road. The 335i Coupe is approaching earlier six cylinder M3 performance levels and is capable of putting away a 0-100kmh sprint in the low 5.0 second bracket.

It has impressive throttle response from extremely low in the engine rev range and sings sweetly up to the 7000rpm redline.  Even the 330d is good for a low 6.0 second split.  The cars have superb dynamics even in Convertible form which bears a weight penalty of up to 150kg.
The segmented hard roof on the Convertible takes less than 20 seconds to retract or deploy and when place, looks almost the same as the Coupe model.

Verdict

Performance from the other models is similarly impressive - they are great to drive While it would be great to have the 335i in your garage, the reality is that the entry level 320d in auto would do the job just as well around town with the added benefit of being able to cover 1000km on a tank driven carefully and it's a decent performer too.  It's the one we'd buy.

BMW 3 Series Coupe and Convertible

  • Prices: 320d $65,600 (coupe), $78,500 (convertible); 325i $84,900, $98,700; 330d $94,700, $107,700; 335i M Sport $116,700, $129,900; M3 $158,300, $176,700; ($2965 for 6-speed auto on 320d and 325i, standard on 330d; $3500 for 7-speed double clutch option on 335i)
  • Engines: 1995cc 4-cylinder turbo diesel (320d); 2497cc straight 6 petrol (325i); 2993cc straight 6 turbo diesel (330d); 2993cc straight 6 petrol (335i); 3999cc V8 petrol (M3)
  • Transmissions: 6-speed manual with auto stop-start (320d, 325i, 335i, M3), 6-speed automatic (320d, 325i, 330d), 7-speed DCT (335i, M3 with auto stop-start).

Pricing guides

$14,990
Based on 97 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$8,500
Highest Price
$38,800

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
330d 3.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $16,900 – 23,540 2010 BMW 3 Series 2010 330d Pricing and Specs
320d Executive Touring 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $11,300 – 16,610 2010 BMW 3 Series 2010 320d Executive Touring Pricing and Specs
335i 3.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $21,900 – 29,700 2010 BMW 3 Series 2010 335i Pricing and Specs
320i Touring Executive 2.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $9,100 – 13,640 2010 BMW 3 Series 2010 320i Touring Executive Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$8,500

Lowest price, based on 80 car listings in the last 6 months

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.