2011 BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series has long set the standard in the entry-level sport-luxury segment, and it arguably continues to do so with the current model. This version debuted for 2006, so it’s not the freshest face in the crowd, but that shouldn’t dissuade you, as the 3 Series remains a leader in many areas. BMW has built its corporate reputation in large part on the sportiness of the 3 Series, yet its much more than just a jock. There’s truly something for everyone in this 3 Series lineup.

Here are AutoTrader’s five reasons to buy the 2011 BMW 3 Series:

  1. The Consummate Athlete
    Yes, we just said this was only one of the 3 Series’ many virtues, but it tops our list because there’s no purer expression of the “Ultimate Driving Machine” than this car. While most BMW models have lately begun to emphasize other aspects of luxury-car ownership, the 3 still carries the torch for what BMW has historically stood for: top-notch driving dynamics. If a driver’s car is what you’re after, the 3 Series is still the gold standard at this price point.
  2. A Car For All Seasons
    We mean this both literally and figuratively. Literally, because all-wheel drive can be specified on many 3 Series models; figuratively, because there are no fewer than four available body styles and four engine options. If rear passengers aren’t a concern, the sleek coupe and versatile hard-top convertible beckon, while for those with a more practical mindset, the classic sedan and handy wagon are offered. And the engines range from BMW’s tried-and-true naturally aspirated inline-6 to a zesty turbocharged inline-6 and even a fuel-efficient turbodiesel inline-6, not to mention the M3’s potent V8.
  3. Much-Improved iDrive
    When BMW kicked off the multimedia-interface craze with its iDrive system a few years ago, the company was widely criticized for needlessly complicating routine tasks. Happily, the latest version of iDrive – available on all 3 Series models – is vastly easier to use, thanks to additional console-mounted buttons and a more intuitive menu system. As an added bonus, the display screen is one of the biggest and brightest in the business.
  4. Build Your Own – European-Style
    If you like how Dell lets you pick out the features for your computer, you’ll love BMW’s European Delivery program. Here’s how it works: you tell BMW exactly how you want your 3 Series to be built, give the company a little time to build it, and then fly to Germany – courtesy of BMW – to pick up the car and drive it around Europe for a while before BMW puts it on a US-bound ship. Unless you need your new 3 Series right this minute, we’d strongly recommend taking BMW up on this generous offer.
  5. The Incomparable M3
    The M3 is a high performance version of the 3-Series and the current version marks the end of an awesome era for street-legal BMW racing technology. The next M3 will likely have smaller engine with turbocharged power akin to other BMW products, but the current one, like all previous M3s, boasts a purpose-built, gloriously free-revving naturally aspirated motor. To be specific, it’s a 4.0-liter V8 that cranks out 414 horsepower at about 8,000 rpm. The M3 also offers muscular bodywork and a unique suspension that yields near racecar-like handling. If you love to drive and are fortunate enough to have $60k in your pocket, grab one of these future classics before they’re gone for good.
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Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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