Even at the end of its life the old 3-Series was winning plenty of group tests in the motoring press, so rival carmakers must be on the valium after seeing the new models outstanding review scores. Put simply - the new 3-Series is virtually faultless, and you can expect the high scores - and its popularity - to continue well into the future.
Its hard to know where to start when addressing the experts praise of the new 3-Series - it moves the game on in virtually every way from its predecessor and is leagues ahead of the competition. The new interior has won plenty of admiration for a start. The design isnt to all tastes, but theres certainly no complaints about the step-up in quality, nor the layout of all the major controls. Interior space has been improved too, addressing the main criticism of the previous model.
On the outside theres a lot to like too. This is very definitely a 3-Series, with the same dynamic stance of its predecessors, short overhangs on the nose and boot, and a set of aggressive headlamps, sure to become a familiar sight in rear-view mirrors around the country. Those looks can be enhanced further with the M-Sport package, which doesnt even ruin the ride this time around.
The new engines are excellent too - the new four-cylinder turbos may lack the character of the old six-cylinder cars, but performance and economy are widely praised and the 320d manages a staggering 64mpg - with even more achievable in the EfficientDynamics model.
Throw in excellent handling, good value next to its competitors, low running costs and general overall improvements, and it isnt hard to see why the BMW 3-Series is carwow saloon of the year.
Check out our full section on the BMW 3-Series. With aggregated reviews, photos, videos, stats and more!
Check out the rest of thecarwow 2012 New Car Award winners.