Few cars are capable of serving the gods of both comfort and sportiness as well as the 2023 BMW 3-series sedan.
This perennial favorite can be outfitted as a corner-carving sports sedan or a well-appointed entry-luxury car-or a combination of both. Its three available turbocharged powertrains deftly walk the line between power and polish. The entry-level 330i and plug-in hybrid 330e offer impressive performance with above average fuel economy, while the turbocharged inline-six in the top-dog M340i packs 382 of the biggest, strongest horses this side of the Bavarian Alps. The 3-series doesn’t have the style of the Alfa Romeo Giulia or the value-packed features list of the Genesis G70, but it’s so well-rounded, athletic, and engaging to drive that it stands at the very top of our segment rankings.
What’s New for 2023?
BMW’s quintessential sports sedan gets a tech-heavy makeover for 2023 that sees updated exterior styling and a dramatic new all-digital dashboard. Keen eyes will notice that this same monolithic display that stretches two-thirds of the 3-series’s dashboard is the same design as what you’ll find in the brand’s flagship 7-series and electric iX SUV. The wall of screens runs BMW’s iDrive 8 interface and includes standard navigation, a voice assistant, and a 5G Wi-FI hotspot.
We’d choose the turbocharged four-cylinder 330i for its surprising power and inherently nimble behavior. We would equip our example with the M Sport package that brings additional features, unique styling bits, and a specially tuned suspension. With it we’d choose the Premium package that includes hands-free passive entry, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, and more. We’d also spring for the Dynamic Handling package that optimizes the sedan’s driving dynamics via adaptive dampers and upgraded brakes-and makes it feel closer to the memorable 3-series sedans of the past.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the 3 has a modern design complete with excellent materials and impressive build quality. Nothing feels cheap inside the 3-series, and its controls are well placed. The standard sport seats are well-bolstered and supportive, and they offer extensive adjustment so it’s easy to get comfortable. The car’s extra-cost content includes a detailed head-up display, customizable ambient interior lighting, heated front and rear seats, remote start, and wireless charging. The 3-series has a big trunk with an available power-operated deck lid. With 17 cubic feet of cargo space, the gas-powered sedan can fit six carry-on suitcases back there and 17 total with the rear row folded. For comparison, the Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan held one fewer suitcase in both tests and the Alfa Romeo Giulia could fit five and 15, respectively. The 330e has less trunk space (13 cubes) because of its battery pack, and we haven’t tested its carry-on capacity.