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BMW 3-series Compact

(2001 - 2004)  Rating

BMW 3-series Compact

The BMW 3-series Compact is a real drivers delight with zippy engines

Engine Engine power Fuel consumption Fuel type 0-100 (0-60) Top speed
318 td 115 hp 5.6 l/100km Diesel 10.5 s 202 km/h
316 ti 116 hp 6.9 l/100km Petrol 10.9 s 201 km/h
318 ti 143 hp 7.2 l/100km Petrol 9.3 s 214 km/h
320 td 150 hp 5.5 l/100km Diesel 8.7 s 222 km/h
325 ti 192 hp 8.9 l/100km Petrol 7.1 s 235 km/h

Body type Coupe
Number of doors 3
Number of seats 5
Engine position Front
Driven wheels Rear
Length 4 262 mm
Width 1 751 mm
Height 1 408 mm
Wheelbase 2 725 mm
Ground clearance 110 mm
Weight (normal) 1 300 kg
Weight (max) 1 800 kg
Boot space (min) 310 l
Boot space (max) 1 100 l
Fuel capacity 63 l


   The BMW 3-series Compact was in production since 2001.

   It is powered by three petrol and two turbocharged diesel engines. The 316ti is completed with a 1.8-liter petrol and has a unique valve-operating system, giving it smooth performance and an excellent fuel economy. If you want more raw power - go for the 2.0-liter turbo diesel, which features an outstanding fuel economy as well. To top it up there is a 2.5-liter petrol, providing 192 hp, and accelerating to 100 km/h in just over 7 seconds.

   The BMW 3-series Compact is fun to drive due to it's rear driven wheels and electronic traction aids. It handles perfectly and features and unmatched agility. In fact the BMW used Compact's chassis settings for the entire 3-series. The car's steering feels alert, and its ride is sportily firm, but superbly controlled.

   It's engines are smooth work silently, but let you to know that you drive a sporty car, when pushed hard. Another unmatched quality that is common for any BMW is a very smooth and light gearshift. A well isolated cabin keeps you away from wind and road noise.

   The BMW 3-series Compact is expensive to buy, but you know what you're paying for. The BMW has a reputation for producing not only luxury, but reliable cars as well. It's resale values values are excellent for a medium size car. Running costs are reasonable. From the one hand Compacts are fuel efficient, but servicing costs can be pricey.

   Inside the BMW Compact the driving position is very similar to other 3-series cars. However the driver's seat is set lower, giving you that sporty feel. As usual for BMWs layout of every detail inside is very logical. Everything is well made as well. There is also a number of niches and pockets to store all your things. The Compact comes in a number of interior finishes, but not all of them are terribly tasteful.

   The new Compact is larger than it's predecessor. This gave a larger legroom, although the headroom is still tight at the back. However two passengers seat comfortably at the rear and long journeys won't be a trouble for them. The boot is average for it's class but it's shape is not the best. The rear seats can be folded to accept extra luggage.

   The BMW paid great attention to driver's and passenger security. The car comes with eight airbags, traction and stability control systems. Deadlocks and immobilizer come as standard. Further measures were taken to prevent thieves by adding visible VIN numbers. Such cars are not that easy to sell even for spares.

   Even standard coupes are well equipped. A huge range of options include an air-conditioning, alloy wheels, satellite navigation or automatic gearbox.

   Production of the BMW 3 Compact ended in 2004. It was replaced by the BMW 1-series.


   Advantages: The 3-series Compact is a superb car to drive, with a range of fine engines and a wonderful chassis. The 316ti is sweet, economical and superbly desirable.

   Disadvantages: It's more expensive than its predecessor, although it is better-equipped. However, while roomier than the old model, you can't fit your family in - and there are signs of cost-cutting.

   Verdict: A real drivers delight with zippy engines.

   Also consider: Audi A3, Mercedes Sports Coupe.


Video of the BMW 3-series Compact
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BMW 3-series Compact

BMW 3-series Compact

BMW 3-series Compact

BMW 3-series Compact

BMW 3-series Compact

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