BMW 3 Series review - MPG, CO2 and running costs
Excellent economy and decent CO2 emissions make the BMW 3 Series a good choice for business and private users
The latest 3 Series offers decent economy across the board; driven sensibly, even the sporty M340i can get very close to 35mpg on average. CO2 emissions are relatively low – good news for private buyers and company car users alike. All quoted figures here are for the saloon – Touring estate buyers should factor in a slight dip in economy and an increase in emissions on account of the extra weight.
The 320d SE, with mild-hybrid tech, is the most economical choice, with a claimed maximum of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions from 119g/km. Adding xDrive to the spec brings a further emissions increase to 130g/km – along with fuel economy of 57.6mpg. It’s worth sticking with the rear-drive option unless you plan to make regular use of the four-wheel drive system’s improved traction in inclement conditions.
The powerful 330d does not suffer too much in terms of economy despite its six cylinders and 261bhp. Rear drive models return a maximum 56.5mpg and emit 132g/km of CO2, while xDrive models take a slight dip in fuel economy and release eight more grams of CO2 per kilometre.
Those that are seeking even more grunt won't be left too short-changed, the M340d xDrive manages to combine a 335bhp output with an outstanding 46.3mpg on the combined cycle.
Car group tests
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Used car tests
The most efficient of the petrol engines is the 318i SE with a claimed 44.1mpg and 144g/km of CO2. Almost the entire petrol engine range sits around this economy range; even the 330i returns up to 41.5mpg on average, with CO2 emissions from 148g/km.
The M340i is the least efficient model in the range, but still achieves a claimed best of 36.7mpg on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 176g/km.
The 330e plug-in is capable of travelling over short distances without using any fuel – its battery will provide up to 37 miles of electric range when fully charged. It’s this ability that helps the 330e achieve its impressive 201.8-217.3 maximum claimed economy and 30g/km CO2 emissions – though you’ll be hard pressed to match these figures in real life on longer journeys. It’s definitely the best choice for lower-mileage, shorter-distance drivers, however – keep your battery charged up and you could conceivably not use any fuel at all on shorter journeys.
Insurance groups for the 3 Series saloon and Touring models are competitive and range from 24 for the 318i SE Pro petrol version to group 42 for the M430d xDrive. The mid-range 320i and 320d saloon models, in popular M Sport trim, sit in group 29 and 30 respectively.
Thanks to the lure of the premium badge the BMW 3 Series has never suffered from terrible rates of depreciation, but as with the C-Class and the Audi A4 the sheer number of these premium models being sold each year has ultimately had a slight softening effect on their residual values.
The average retained value for the range after three years and 36,000 miles is around 51 per cent, with the 318i petrol and 330e plug-in hybrid models holding on to nearer 55 per cent.
In this review
- 1BMW 3 Series reviewThe BMW 3 Series offers the perfect blend of performance, driving dynamics, low running costs, technology and refinement
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe 3 Series offers class-leading performance along with an improved ride and excellent driving dynamics
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running Costs - currently readingExcellent economy and decent CO2 emissions make the BMW 3 Series a good choice for business and private users
- 4Interior, design and technologyImprovements in interior quality and technology are very welcome, but the styling is a little underwhelming
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceLeg and head room are better than before, with the 3 Series now matching or beating its rivals for interior space
- 6Reliability and SafetyProven mechanical components bode well for reliability, while its safety systems are among the best in class