For decades on end, the used BMW 3 Series has delivered the high-octane performance and world-class luxury that sophisticated drivers demand. When you're shopping the used market, you can test-drive a wide variety of 3 Series models - including stylish convertibles and family-friendly wagons. These entry-level luxury cars have a little something for every kind of lifestyle. Before you start shopping, check out our used BMW 3 Series buying guide to learn a little more about what to expect from different model years.
Used BMW 3 Series Buying Guide
Sixth Generation, 2012-Current
Comfort: It might be an entry-level luxury car, but these used BMW 3 Series models are so classy that you won't feel like you're missing a thing. Used models run the gamut of upscale features, from classy leather upholstery to cozy heated seats. These sedans and wagons are more spacious than in previous generations, especially in the backseat, where you'll find plenty of family-friendly, spread-out space.
Technology & Convenience: As you browse the lot for your used BMW 3 Series, be on the lookout for modern features like the upgraded infotainment display. Its larger screen makes it easier to find the app you seek, minimizing distraction. If your 3 Series has a Harman Kardon sound system, you'll enjoy a premium take on all your favorite songs.
Safety: These models offer a range of vigilance-boosting safety aids, like lane departure warning and frontal crash mitigation with pedestrian detection. With BMW Assist emergency communications technology, features like stolen vehicle recovery and automatic emergency notification supply the help you need in a pinch.
Performance: Even for a luxury model, the 3 Series impresses with its well-rounded performance. No matter where you're going - on a grocery run or an interstate jaunt to grandmother's house - this car is engaging and responsive.
Fifth Generation, 2006-2011
Comfort: Compared to previous models, the fifth-generation 3 Series offers increased cabin space for long-haul comfort. Inside, you'll find luxury-level opulence in the streamlined dash and high-quality cabin materials.
Technology & Convenience: These used BMW 3 Series models include a modern electronics interface, so you can browse music options with minimal distraction from traffic.
Safety: The BMW coupes, convertibles, wagons, and sedans all come standard with antilock brakes and traction and stability control, keeping you from skidding out of control in stormy weather. Later models from this generation may also include high-tech driver aids, such as the automatic emergency braking system designed to mitigate damages in a collision.
Performance: With their strong engines and excellent driving dynamics, these cars impress driving enthusiasts with their quick acceleration and sharp steering. There's nothing they can't handle - from winding highways to narrow city grids.
What Drivers Love about the BMW 3 Series
If you're looking into the used 3 Series, you're likely the kind of discerning driver who craves high-octane luxury at an excellent price. No matter which model or model year you test-drive, you can expect a refined cabin and a powerful, responsive ride. Inside, the 3 Series wraps you in luxury, whether your model sports the handsome faux-leather upholstery or the real thing.
What to Look for in Your BMW 3 Series
Throughout production, BMW made several important changes to the 3 Series. In 2014, the coupe and convertible models became part of the 4 Series, leaving only the sedan and wagon models for your consideration. For 2016, BMW gave this entry-level luxury car a bit of a makeover, increasing engine power for a swifter, smoother ride and updating the exterior styling for a sleeker, more modern look.
Used BMW 3 Series Buyers Beware
There's a lot to like about the used BMW 3 Series. If you're shopping for an all-wheel-drive, navigation-equipped model from before 2009, however, you should test out the iDrive electronics interface before you make a final purchase. After 2009, this system became easier to use, but older incarnations were not as user-friendly.