BMW 3 Series review - MPG, CO2 and Running Costs
Excellent economy and low CO2 emissions make the 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 most efficient conventionally powered model in the range is the 318d in M Sport trim with an auto gearbox. Average economy is quoted at 53.3–55.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 134-139g/km.
The 320d, with mild hybrid tech, manages 56.5–58.9mpg and 127-132g/km of CO2. Adding xDrive to the spec brings a further emissions increase – 134-140g/km – along with fuel economy of 53.3-55.4mpg. 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 330d is the most powerful diesel but economy does not suffer too much despite its six cylinders and 261bhp. Rear drive models return 44.1-47.9mpg and emit 133-138g/km of CO2; xDrive models take a slight dip in fuel economy but only emit three more grammes of CO2 per kilometre.
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The most efficient of the petrol engines is the 318i M Sport – 41.5–42.8mpg and 149-154g/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 of up to 154-159g/km.
The M340i is the least efficient model in the range – 34–34.9mpg and 162g/km. The diesel-only Audi S4 is a more efficient choice, however.
The 330e plug-in is capable of travelling over short distances without using any fuel – its battery will provide 41 miles of electric range when fully charged. It’s this ability that helps the 330e achieve its impressive 176.6–201.8mpg claimed economy and 37g/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 G20 generation BMW 3 Series range from 28 to 32, with the 320d SE coming in lowest and the rapid and sporty looking 330i M Sport at the top of the table. There isn't insurance data currently available for the 318i petrol, although it should be particularly competitive.
Insurance costs are broadly similar for the 3 Series as they are for Mercedes’ C-Class and the Audi A4. For the last generation 3 Series, the least powerful model fell into group 18, while the high performance 340i M Sport was in group 39 (out of a possible 50 groups).
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 launch range of 320d and 330i models retain around 42-44 per cent of their value after three years. The more desirable M Sport models do slightly better than an entry-level SE model with no additional options.
Traditionally the high-powered diesel models have fared best in the 3 Series depreciation tables so once these models come to market they may be worth considering if you’re purchasing privately.
In this review
- 1BMW 3 Series reviewThe BMW 3 Series offers the perfect blend of performance, driving dynamics, low running costs, technology and improved 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 low CO2 emissions make the 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 and the 3 Series now matches or beats its rivals for interior space
- 6Reliability and SafetyProven mechanical components bode well for reliability while its safety systems are among the best in class