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This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest BMW 3-Series Saloon review.

View all BMW 3-Series reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Belt about in a big petrol unit and you'll guzzle juice and scoff tyres, but specify a small engine or a diesel, drive carefully and you'll get plenty of mpg - manual diesel models return close to 50mpg on the combined cycle. Insurance isn’t cheap, though residuals are good and servicing is variable with use.

3-Series scores reasonably on the eco front. With an average of 192 g/km CO2 across the model line-up, its emissions are fairly standard for a medium-sized saloon. However, it's worth noting that the line up has a high number of diesel models, bringing the average down and giving buyers more choices of low-emission versions. Diesels typically produce less CO2 than petrol engines with similar power outputs.

The range is not particularly economical, averaging 37 mpg.

Overall, 3-Series is well built, dependable and has excellent reliability – continuing the notion of great German build-quality. Serious problems are rare and although we have heard reports of the occasional niggle, these are unlikely to be anything that won't be quickly sorted by the dealer. As ever, regular self maintenance and keeping to the service intervals will be of long-term benefit.

Estimated fuel cost per year

Fuel type Pence per litre Estimated cost per year *
Unleaded 128p £1,492 - £2,078 *
Diesel 131p £1,191 - £1,702 *

* The estimated fuel cost figure is based on an annual mileage of 10,000 miles and is a guide to how much this model will cost in fuel each year. It's calculated using the model's average MPG (calculated from both town centre and motorway driving) and the average fuel price from around the country. Actual fuel costs will vary based on driving style and road conditions.

Highest and lowest CO2 emissions

Engine CO2 emissions Road tax (12 months)
318d Diesel 151 g/km (Min) £200
328i Petrol 241 g/km (Max) £265

Ongoing running costs

Road tax (12 months) £160 - £325
See tax rates for all versions
Insurance group 23 - 35
How much is it to insure?

Vehicle excise duty (VED) varies according to the CO2 emissions and the fuel type of the vehicle. For cars registered before 01 March 2001 it is based on engine size. For cars registered on or after 01 March 2001 the VED or road tax is based on the car's CO2 emissions.