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Why the BMW 3 Series Is the Best Entry-Level Sports Car

German automaker BMW is known for making some of the world’s best-performing sedans and sports cars. The 3 Series sedan is one of the brand’s most popular models and continues to draw in fans year after year.

But the newest 2020 BMW 3 Series could be the best entry-level sports car available to buy this year. Here’s why you won’t need to spend your life savings to drive the best luxury sports car of the year.

A new BMW 3 Series on display at an auto show
A BMW 3 Series on display | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Everything you need to know about the new 2020 BMW 3 Series

The 2020 BMW 3 Series is back as part of the seventh generation that was introduced for the 2019 model year. According to Edmunds, the 2020 BMW 3 Series may have a slightly different look, but it’s still the same small luxury sport sedan that comes available in two core trim levels: 330i and M340i.

The base 330i comes standard with an updated, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 255 hp and can get to 60 miles per hour in just 5.6 seconds.

The upgraded M340i comes standard with a six-cylinder engine instead, which makes an impressive 382 hp and can hit speeds of 60 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds. Both are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, with standard rear-wheel-drive.

All-wheel-drive (known as iDrive) is also available on both 330i and M340i models, which increases acceleration on both models by up to .3 seconds.

Standard features for the 2020 BMW 3 Series include 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, and a touchscreen with navigation system. An 8.8-inch touchscreen comes standard in the 330i, while the M340i gets a larger, 10.25-inch touchscreen display.

Additional standard features in the M340i include sport-tuned brakes and suspension, as well as a digital gauge cluster display. There are also a variety of standalone options, as well as packages, available on both trims.

Starting prices for the BMW 3 Series vary greatly, ranging from around $40,000 to more than $71,000 for fully-loaded variants.

How the experts feel about the newest 3 Series

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The 3 Series has always had the reputation of being sporty and luxurious, and the 2020 model year is no exception. U.S. News experts claim that the 2020 BMW 3 Series is “one of the sportiest sedans” in the luxury car segment, noting its comfortable yet nimble driving dynamics and roomy interior.

Among its highest scores are the Performance and Critics’ Rating categories, which applaud the 3 Series’ “energetic engines,” “sporty handling,” and very few shortcomings.

Car and Driver experts give the 2020 BMW 3 Series its “Editor’s Choice” stamp, with a super-impressive overall rating of 9.5 (out of 10). Although the experts claim that the redesigned 3 Series is a little “less sporty” than its predecessors, its high-performing nature help it to remain one of the most capable and luxurious cars in the segment.

Its powerful, quick, refined, and responsive performance provides some of the best sports-car-like-dynamics, without the sports car price tag.

The BMW 3 Series: the best entry-level sports car of 2020

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The newest BMW 3 Series may have a few lows, but its multitude of highs more than make-up for any downfalls. The BMW 3 Series is so good that even without an optional manual transmission and a more conservative makeover, it still remains as Car and Driver’s choice as the Best Entry-Luxury Car of 2020.

Bordering the line between a luxury and sports car, Car and Driver raves about the “powerful and refined powertrains, spacious and luxurious cabin,” and its ability to remain “a proper sports sedan for those who love to drive.” It might be the largest 3 Series yet, but don’t let its size fool you: it’s a thrill to drive.