Fortunately, we are here to make it easy for you. The ubiquitous 3 Series and the consistently good X3 are our recommendations for first-time BMW buyers. Even in its most basic form, both do a great job of painting a picture of where the brand comes from: RWD, attractive driving dynamics, and a modern look.
But it also shows where BMW appears to be looking to the future: advanced technology and individuality. New additions are available to BMW Stable such as Remote Start and increased integration with the MyBMW app, and you can also choose to add features to your vehicle after purchasing it using the BMW Connected Store.
The two also represent the BMW range; From the entry-level 330i and X3 sDrive30i, right up to the custom M3 and X3M. Each part is ultimately found in slightly different segments, but they all serve up a great branding service as an introductory course. One drive in the X3M tells you everything you need to know about what the iconic M3 has to offer, and vice versa. We’ll take a look at both the X3 and 3 Series, discuss the different flavors, and you can decide which one works for you.
BMW 3 Series
Starting with the 330i, the 3 Series remains a favorite in the BMW Group. Despite low sales numbers in the SUV-loving market, there’s still plenty of value here if you’re not averse to driving a sedan. And why should it be? Lots of people buy SUVs that don’t do anything that requires extra interest – don’t pay for what you don’t use. You can still get xDrive (BMW’s all-wheel drive system), and you can even get a hybrid version in the 330e.
And while the 330i’s 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque affords it everything most people need, there’s… another way. The M340i is a step forward and offers plenty of optional equipment from the standard 330i (such as the M Sport Package and Live Cockpit Professional) — as well as a 382-hp six-cylinder engine. Although the 330i wasn’t exactly “walkable”, it could seem a little demure at times – and the M340i is the coffee it needs. Pair it with xDrive for hilarious and hilarious results (in particular, 0-60 times).
The latter is the M3, and not much can be said here that hasn’t already been said elsewhere. Rear wheel drive and manual drive or all-wheel drive and automatic, you can build it at will and there are no wrong components. The M3 makes a good first foray into BMW; As long as your expectations are in line with what the car is – a luxury sedan that also happens to know how to roll on the racetrack in an epic fashion. And of course, take care of the grills.
The X3 starts about $2,000 higher than the base 330i, and you get more for the money — more ground clearance, more storage space, more visibility, and more interior sitting room. The X3 has always done well with enthusiasts and audiences alike, and the newer version doesn’t stray from that formula. Trailers are available from the factory for $550, which adds utility and practicality to outdoor types. RWD comes standard—another $2000 for xDrive AWD—with a good four-cylinder turbo for a somewhat disappointing 248. Speed isn’t the trick of the X3 party, until you step up to the X3 M40i.
It must go up. Those 382 horsepower ponies can also be found here under the hood of the M340i, and give the sluggish SAV some much-needed features. Now you can transport your things in style And Speed. Plus, as part of the X3’s latest mid-cycle update, it now gets some added M-style mirrors and more M badges, so everyone on the road will know you spent the extra money too.
Once again we find ourselves in peak performance – the X3 M. Between 473 and 503 hp (depending on the design) is enough to make any great performance smile, and if a super sports SUV is your go-to, your song has just appeared on the radio. Like the M3, most of what could be said was already. The long story here is “practical performance”.
When buying your first BMW, it’s important to keep in mind what your vehicle really needs to do. Adding xDrive doesn’t make sense unless you plan on it use He. She. Showing off the X3 only makes sense if you plan on taking advantage of all the extra space. Your first BMW should be special – and you can’t go wrong with a 3 Series or an X3!