Caught in the classifieds: 2016 BMW 3 Series M Sport
In this weekís ďCaught In The ClassifiedsĒ we spotted a 2016 BMW 3 Series with M-Sport trim advertised on the DesperateSeller.co.uk website. It had done 70k miles, only had one owner from new, a full service history and was available for just £13,516. Hereís why we think these cars are worth a punt.
Most cars are simply means of transport. A way of getting from point A to point B as cheaply and as comfortably as possible. Most car manufacturers like to claim their cars are fun to drive and own, but very few actually deliver on that promise. When it comes to driving experience and fun factor, BMW is basically the benchmark everyoneís trying to beat. Ever since the first 3 Series E30 came out, BMW has dominated the premium performance saloon/estate segment.
With the F30 generation, they built upon the E90ís popularity and success, taking some of that carís rough edges and ironing them out. The F30 is possibly the most accomplished sporty saloon currently on the market, and with used prices as low as they are right now, you can find some amazing deals. To show you what we mean, letís take a look at this particular example for instance.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but no one can deny the F30ís looks are anything other than mean and aggressive. Itís got sharp lines everywhere, and creases and bulges sticking out of every body panel. Weíre not talking about the hardcore M3 variant either. Even base model 3 Series look amazingly well compared to their rivals.
An optional extra weíd highly recommend is the M-Sport package. It further enhances the car and gives it a much more aggressive demeanour that cars without the package just donít have. Finding an example with the M-Sport package is harder since theyíre a little rarer and theyíre costlier, but we promise itís well worth it.
With the M-Package you get different bumpers, different side skirts, and unique M wheels which look ace on the 3-Series. This is, by far and away, the most aggressive-looking car in its segment. The Audi A4 comes close, but thereís something about the way the 3 Series sits on the road that lets you know it means business. The Mercedes C Class is arguably the most mundane-looking car in stock trim.
Inside, the BMW has received some criticism for its conservative design and layout, but if time has taught us anything, itís that they knew what they were doing. A lot of cars start showing their age five or six years down the line, but thatís not the case with the F30. Even today, the 3 Seriesí cabin looks as fresh as the day it left the factory.
When it comes to build quality, all three are equally good, but the BMW takes the cake when it comes to materials and fit and finish. Itís just a step above the rest, especially if you get the M-Package with the special steering wheel and the superbly comfortable seats.
Speaking of the seats, let me talk you through the driving position because itís exactly what youíd want from a performance saloon. For starters, you can get nice and low in a 3 Series, which always comes in handy to give you a sportier feeling and better sense of the road. The steering wheel is exactly where you expect it to be, and the pedal placement is perfect. None of that off-centre offset you get with a lot of Mercedes cars. You can tell this is a driverís car from the moment you get inside.
On the technology front, BMWís iDrive infotainment system once again reigns supreme. Itís easy to use and itís intuitive, even if it takes some getting used to in the beginning. Once you know how the system works and you have the controls down though, scrolling through the menus is a walk in the park. Itís not as good as the newest system on the G20, but itís easily the best for its age.
The cabin feels airy and light, with plenty of space in both rows of seats. The Audi A4 is slightly larger inside, but not by much. The rear seats of the 3 Series are great if youíre hauling two passengers since theyíre the most comfortable and supportive. Three across can be a tight squeeze, but only if youíre carrying 6-foot adults.
Boot space is plentiful, but the saloon is naturally smaller than the estate. For a family of four, itís more than enough even for a weekend getaway. If you need more space, thereís always the 5 Series, but the 3 Series is immensely more fun to drive.
Engine and Performance
The 3 Seriesí party piece is the way it drives. Simply put, itíll out-handle and out-accelerate all of its rivals. Itís offered in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations, but most people will probably go for the xDrive since it offers more safety in damp and snowy conditions.
The great thing is that BMW thought of this, so they made sure to make the system rear-wheel-drive biased. Unlike Audiís Quattro in the A4 or Mercedesí 4Matic, the xDrive in the 3 Series genuinely feels like itís powering the rear wheels most of the time. It only steps in when it detects some slip or when it decides youíve run out of driving talent. Most of the time, you can even get it to squirm around on corner exit if you plant the throttle. Itís definitely the most exhilarating car to drive of the three.
You can get it with a variety of petrol and diesel engines, but the most popular one is the 2.0 litre diesel in the 320d. Itís powerful enough to be classified as quick, but itís frugal enough to be not that much thirstier than something like a diesel Golf. The 8-speed ZF transmission is fast and precise, and with the M-Package, you get flappy paddles which means you can shift gears yourself.
Model: BMW 3 Series
Trim: M-Sport Package
Target price: £12,000 - £14,000
Rating: 9 out of 10
The F30 3 Series is easily the most competent car in its segment. Itís the most fun to drive, easy to maintain, and it wonít drain your wallet to fill up. Just make sure to get the M-Package if you can since it transforms the car in terms of how it makes you feel. Search thousands of used BMW 3 Series cars for sale on DesperateSeller.co.uk today.