The BMW 3-Series is an entry-level compact luxury car in production from 1975 to present. It is currently in its sixth generation and has been available in five different body styles including coupe, sedan, convertible, hatchback, and touring models. All models have had a front-engine rear-drive or all-wheel-drive layouts, and power and transmission options have been plentiful.
Body Styles: sedan, coupe, convertible, wagon
Engines: 2.5-liter, 3.0-liter
Transmissions: six-speed auto-shift manual, five-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: BMW 325 i sedan, BMW 325 xi sedan, BMW 325 Ci sedan coupe, BMW 325 Ci convertible, BMW 325 iT wagon, BMW 325 xiT wagon, BMW 330 i sedan, BMW 330 Ci coupe, BMW 330 Ci convertible, BMW 330 xi sedan
The biggest 2004 change was the addition of the coupe and convertible body styles, a far sportier look than the previous models. The six-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox was made an option on all rear-drive models and several options were added like satellite radio.
The BMW has a very recognizable look that did not change much between the 2003 and 2004 model years. Sedans and wagons have a solid but plain profile, while the coupes and the convertibles are a little sportier. All models are easily recognized, however, by the BMW split grille and the shape of the wraparound headlights.
2004 BMW 3-Series wagon and sedan models can accommodate five people, while the convertible and the coupe seat four. The front seats are roomy, but the back can get a little crowded, especially with three adults in the sedan and wagon models. The control layout is simple and intuitive and all gauges are large and easy to read. Buyers have a range of options for materials and trims.
Performance & Handling
While the 184-hp 2.5-liter inline-six is good within its class, there are more powerful engines in the marketplace. Where the 2004 BMW 3-Series shines is its handling, setting the standard for maneuverability and a fun-to-drive feel. Both 3-Series engine types exhibit improved acceleration and similarly superior handling.
2003 BMW 3-Series available safety features include traction control, anti-lock brakes, and side-impact airbags standard for the front seats. Side-impact airbags for the back seats are optional. Vehicles have Dynamic Stability Control which reduces engine power and adjusts brakes automatically to prevent loss of control.
EPA Fuel Economy
BMW 3-Series: 18/27 mpg city/highway
- Manual transmission operation
- AWD option
- Resale value
You Won't Like
- Traction with rear drive in winter
- Price compared to competition
Notably drivable with great handling and maneuverability.
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