BMW 3 SeriesWhen we asked for feedback on the Select Series one new car that people were really asking for was the BMW 3 Series. Well I’m not writing to tell that we’ve got the 3 Series on our Select Series (yet!) but I am delighted to announce that we’ve got some on our standard fleet. Personally I think this is great news. The only drawback is that there are only a handful (which is why we couldn’t put them on Select Series)! So let us know if you are lucky enough to rent this great car. And perhaps you might even want to mention it on our blog post “The best cars you ever rented”!

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Introducing the BMW 3 Series, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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34 Responses to “Introducing the BMW 3 Series”

  1. Robert Says:

    Hi Rob,
    So are these 320i or 320d?
    I assume they are all Auto’s?


  2. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    They are all 320d M Sport and yes they are all autos!

  3. Rui Da Silva Says:

    Hi Rob
    I like the introduction of the 3 series,it’s a shame they’re Auto’s. But still prefer the Mercedes C220


  4. Robert Says:

    They are the M Sport spec? I’m impressed!!!

  5. Robert Says:

    And now I am even more impressed after driving one!
    Picked one up on Friday, and I have to say that I can see what all the fuss is about.
    A true drivers car! fantastic dynamics and extremely refined.Only thing is though, in typical BMW style, the car is naked.
    This is a top spec model (M Sport) so you cannot get a higher spec 3 series then this, yet except for the normal standard electrics, cruise control, and parking sensors, everything else is an option you have to pay for.
    This car is almost 30k on the road, and compare it to a Lexus IL250 top spec that costs the same money, the Lexus would come with every single extra you could possibly think about including, full leather seats, front electric seats with 3 memory settings, built in Sat-Nav with rear view camera, keyless entry and start, and the list goes on…
    I think the only extra one can add to the Lexus is a sun roof.
    But I must say that as a drivers car the BMW more then makes up for that!!!

  6. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Great feedback. Cheers Robert. Glad you’re enjoying the 3 Series!

  7. Robert Says:

    Just wondering what the feedback has been like with the 3 series?
    Have you added any more to the fleet, or is it still just a handful?
    I hardly ever seem to see any, not at LHR anyway…


  8. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Robert, the feedback I’ve heard is really good.

    We do still have the same number on our fleet (not a huge number but a significant enough proportion of the “Full-size” car category). You might not be seeing them so often as they are probably either on-rent or have dispersed on one-way rentals to other locations.

    What’s your thoughts Robert? Would you like to see more 3 Series on fleet?


  9. Robert Says:

    Hi Rob,
    Yes, I would indeed like to see more on the fleet.
    I’m driving one of yours, at the moment by the way… :-)
    I like the fact that they are the M-Sport spec (are they all?) so very sporty to drive, and while the ride is hard, it’s very well balanced.
    It’s still no doubt the best car in its class from a driving experience point of view, and not even the new A4 comes close apparently (although I still want to drive one…)

    Let’s just say that there are not many mid size 2.0L auto salons out there that can actually put a smile on my face as the 320D does!!!

    Perhaps you could consider the 325d? (I’m not asking for much, I mean I could suggest the 330d or 335d…)

    Not driven the C180 which is in the same group as the Beemer.
    They are all petrol, right?

    Any other cars you might be introducing into this class?


  10. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Thanks for the feedback Robert. I’ll have a chat with the fleet guys about your thoughts. Certainly everyone I’ve spoken to would love to see more BMW’s on our fleet and we’d be keen to do this if the right opportunity arises.

    Yes the Mercedes C180 are all petrol. There are currently no plans to introduce other make/models into this category.

    As always your feedback is invaluable so let us know if you have any further thoughts about our cars!


  11. Robert Says:

    Thanks Rob,
    Probably better the C class is the petrol version rather then diesel.
    While the 320d is probably a better and stronger car then the 320i, the same doesn’t apply to the C180CDI compared with the petrol C180.
    Interesting through that tall your 320d’s are the top spec, while the C180 come in a rather basic one…


  12. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    I take your point on the spec of the C180 versus the 320. There are a few factors involved here. Of course we try to acquire a spec that will be interesting to our customers but it is also dependent on what manufacturers are able to offer us, what terms they are offered at and what will the supply and demand be like for that spec when it will become available on the nearly new second-hand car market at the end of it’s rental life.

  13. Alex- Avis UK Says:

    Hi Rob,

    Having carried out a staff rental with the Renault Clio 1.2 TCE for a week i was more than happy. Great little car, looks smashing and nippy around town and low on CO2! The Bravo’s, especially the 150T and 120T are crackers along with the Leon TDi and FR’s. Im also impressed with the Passat TDi’s auto and manual.


  14. Andy Says:

    I am a very long term business renter (18 months and counting) and have had one of the 320d’s from near new until it was returned back for mileage/date. I currently have a new shape Audi A4 and whislt it is the new model it’s no comparrison to the BMW.

    The Audi like the Merc C180 feels under powered and too heavy for the engine. Also the Audi and Merc auto boxes are rubbish compared to the BMW.

    Driving the A4 makes me want the BMW back even more.

    The Audi is only 143HP where as the BMW is 177hp and a better co2 figure for tax.

    I’ve spoken to my rental branch and my account manager and they both say AVIS aren’t having any more BMW’s on fleet – can you confirm this or perhaps give me a glimer of hope.

    Also why do AVIS only have the Merc c180i SE when other firms have the C220 CDI Sport models in their same groups.

    I wonder should I take my long term business to them if their car choise remains stronger?

  15. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Andy, this feedback is great… and very timely as we think about 2009.

    I personally haven’t driven the new A4 but we’re really excited about having them on board and so far the feedback has been very positive (but obviously I haven’t had the benefit of comparison).

    It’s impossible for me to comment on our fleet versus our competitors but there are a number of different terms and conditions that determine who ends up with what. But I do feel that, overall, we have one of the richest fleets out there.

    As for the BMWs, well since we introduced some of the 3 Series on fleet we’ve had a lot of questions about how this relationship will continue in the future. Like everyone else we are in discussions about what fleet we can bring on in 2009. We know there are certain manufacturers our customers would like us to work with, of whom we are in discussion with. We’ll know more for sure later in the year but at the moment we have reasons to be positive.

    Be sure to check back in a couple of months for a further update… in the meantime any other feedback on your experience with our cars will be greatly appreciated.


  16. Robert Says:

    Like you Andy I am also a long term renter, and usually rent cars for a few months at a time, or a few weeks at least.
    And similar to you I had the 320d for a few months until I was asked to return it as it was going back to the manufacturers (although I later discovered they were actually being sold, so not sure which it is…)
    I absolutely loved the BMW, the driving dynamics are fantastic, and I soon learn to live with the hard ride due to the M Sport suspension (and the run flat tyres) and enjoy the even better handling then the normal version offers.
    I was really upset when I had to return it but I was at the same time looking forward to trying out the new A4 (despite the not so great reviews)
    Initially I was a little disappointed, it sure didn’t offer the driving pleasures the Beemer did, but on the other hand it does have some advantages as well.
    It’s very specious (Probably most in it’s class), very comfy on long journeys, and has a much softer ride then the 320.
    I really like the front facia, and the fact that it comes with a nice large screen displaying audio, settings etc, despite not having Sat-Nav.
    It does still offer a lovely drive and great handling, even if not in the Beemer standards.
    I also like having large boot, the beemer’s boot is rubbish, and despite having decent capacity officially, it is very badly designed.
    I miss the Cruise control, and parking sensors that the 320 had, but I do like the Built in Bluetooth that the Audi has and the BMW didn’t.
    Last but not least, I love the design of the Audi, and I notice people to turn around and look at it, something that would never happen with the BMW’s bland appearance.
    The dark grey one I am driving does look very smart.
    It’s a shame Avis didn’t go for the S-Line model though as it has a nicer interior that would probably also ware better.
    As for the gearbox, I don’t think its rubbish at all, Audi’s Multitronic is considered a very good Auto (definitely the best CVT I have ever driven) and actually I wasn’t crazy about the 320’s normal auto box.
    As for the performance, the Audi can’t live up to the 320’s acceleration (0-60) but in mid range the figures are very close, with the Audi actually being a little faster.

    As for the Merc, I agree, it would indeed be nice if they offered the 220CDI or at least the 200.
    Not sure why Avis decided to go for the petrol version (and the most basic one too) but Merc’s diesels are far better cars.

    I am surprised that you say other rental companies in the UK offer the 220CDI Sport.


  17. Andy Says:

    Thanks for you comments Rob, I should add that the BMW won on spec as well as drive over the Audi (the BMW had cruise and rear parking sensors and an Aux input for the IPOD – where as the AUDI has none of these)

    The Audi does however have a great built in bluetooth kit (strangely no nav though unlike your old shape A4 fleet) meaning I don’t have to bother with a Bluetooth headset.. The Merc C class also had a built in phone kit.

    Strange though that you went for such a decent spec’d BMW but haven’t spec’d the Mercs and Audi’s to the same level.

  18. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    I’ve been taking a little longer to moderate comments than normal – it’s a shame because I didn’t get a chance to publish Robert’s comment before Andy responded but it seems like you have the same opinion on the extras (if maybe a slightly differing opinion on the new A4).

    In answer to your question about spec Andy… this is largely driven by what the manufacturers are willing to offer us and what is likely to hold the best residual value at the end of the rental life. However, we’ll try to get a higher spec if we can make the terms work.

    So I take it you both find the extras (in-built sat nav, blue tooth, auxillary input, etc) an important part of your driving experience?

    Also, just to let you know that I altered both of your comments slightly where competitors were referenced. I’m happy for you to point out where our competitors maybe doing something better (we’ll never know how to improve if you don’t) but we don’t want our competitors being promoted on our blog. Likewise, to keep things fair, we don’t mention specific competitors when it is us who is written about in a positive light. :)


  19. Robert Says:

    Well yes, I do think the extras and the spec is important especially with the more expensive cars on the fleet, and especially for customers like myself and like Andy above who are long time renters.
    But then the fact that the spec is important to us shouldn’t come as a surprise to you Rob considering the feedback you got here when you guys were planning the Select series last year.
    Remember the feedback about Cruise control? I guess not, considering the new A4 comes with out it… ;-)
    I do understand there are various reasons for the cars specs, but is it really down to the manufacturers? Does Avis have no control or choice when it comes to various options?
    I know it is almost impossible to satisfy everyone, and different renters would like to see different extras etc.
    For instance personally, I really could not careless whether the car has SAT-NAV or not, I find my TOM-TOM far better then any built in GPS I have ever tried (including the previous A4) and I can understand why Avis wouldn’t want to spend what Audi charge for built in GPS. (I guess the reason it came in some of the older shapes is that they were offering it for a very reasonable £500 extra).

    But I would like to see Cruise Control, and parking sensors.
    Having a nicer interior like in the S-LINE would be nice, but isn’t essential.
    As for the auxiliary input, that’s an interesting one, because I am almost certain is comes as standard on the new A4 SE spec yet I don’t have it on the one I’m driving.
    Instead it has a useless SD slot (what’s that for…?)
    To summarize, I do thing the spec is important to some, and less so to others.
    But I have to be honest when I say; I am not convinced Avis really took our opinions seriously when we gave all that feedback about the Select series.


  20. Andy Says:

    I agree with Rob – the S-line in the Audi’s would be a nice option – though at the moment considering the A4 shape is new I suppose having the SE model at the moment doesn’t look as low rent.

    I guess in a few more months when there are loads more company leased/spec’d A4′s on the roads these SE models might look a bit basic (already not having the xenons makes them look less ‘flashly’ without the blue LED’s under the headlights when compared to others you see on the road.

    Agree with Rob on the sat nav comments – for me it’s more useful to have cruise control to get through the miles of average speed camera routes on the motorways and parking sensors would be a god send. Especially since cars like your lower grouped Saab 93′s have them. That and the fact that the A4 is now much bigger than the older model.

    Xenon headlights coming into the winter months would be a nice addition too.

    Agree with Rob – no idea what the SD slot is meant to be useful for..

    Apart from this, my general feeling is I like the A4 – but with the miles pouring on i’m only likely to have this one for another 6-8 weeks and then the hunt will be on for something else to keep me interested for the next 5-6 months – I wonder will the BMW’s be back on fleet this side of Christmas.

  21. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Robert, I remember the feedback about extras and spec very well – I was just trying to stimulate some further conversation around it! :) Actually I found that feedback very interesting because it is the first time I’d read from a customer that they found this sort of thing important. I promise I went over to the fleet guys a number of times to ask about cruise control!

    You are right, it is not completely down to the manufacturers although this is a large part of it. We do have certain choices were we can pay to add extras but we need to think carefully about how much value this creates.

    And I completely understand that you may have felt that your opinions were not taken seriously when we asked for feedback last year. In fact I remember very well some of the disappointment that was posted when we wrote about the changes to Select Series at the beginning of the year. We did collect quite a bit of feedback both on the blog and in a survey as we were really keen to canvass opinion to help define the product for 2008. But the reality is that, when we ran the numbers as part of this planning process, we felt we had a bit to do to optimise the product operationally first to make it work better with the level of fleet we could source.

    We’re currently looking at what we can do to evolve the product going to 2009 (with very much some of the feedback you’ve all given in mind). There is some way to go yet but we’re excited after some of the discussions we’ve had so far. It’s too early to say too much as nothing is set in stone. But I promise to champion your voice and the desire for extras! :)

    Andy, Robert, thanks for all your comments. I’ll let you know when we have more of an idea about the Select Series fleet will look next year! Watch this space…


  22. Andy Says:

    I’ve been speaking to my account manager today and he’s informed me that the fleet dept have confirmed there will be no more BMW’s on fleet this year (which is a great shame) as I’m about 6 weeks away from the A4 reaching it’s return mileage i’m now a bit stuck with what to go for next…

    Whilst the A4 is perfectly good and has some decent toys etc.. I’d rather get into a different model for the next 4-5 months.

    I’m considering going down a few groups to get something that feels a bit quicker and possibly with a manual gear box.

    From time to time there have been some interesting models on the AVIS fleet in ese lower groups like the VW Golf GT or the Seat Leon FR or 93 Vector Sport models.

    Is there any way to get access to the full fleet list to see what models are available as quite often these more interesting models are a bit limited in numbers and often go by unseen.

  23. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    That is correct, there is currently no new BM’s that are scheduled to be available for the rest of the year. If this will change is difficult to say at the moment!

    With regards to the rest of the fleet, the only way we can guarantee a make/model is with Select Series. These include the A4 (available as manual/auto and saloon/estate), the A6, the VW Golf and the 207CC.

    Below is a breakdown of the widest available cars in each category (info also available when selecting a car on I must stress that we cannot guarantee any of these make/models (although you could try asking the rental agent if there is a vehicle available that you would prefer). I should also state that this is current and changes regularly. Anyway, the breakdown:

    Medium: Compact (1.6): Citroen C4, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Seat Leon
    Large: Standard (1.8): Vauxhall Vectra
    Large: Standard Plus (2.0): Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, VW Passat, Vauxhall Vectra

    Large: Standard Plus: VW Passat, Vauxhall Vectra
    Large: Full-size: Mercedes C180
    Large: Premium: Mercedes E200/220

    I’ve limited it to the medium compacts and large standard categories (so excluded small, estates or mpv categories).

    Let me know if you need anything else!


  24. Robert Says:

    Rob, can you clarify regarding the Large: Premium category.
    You say it’s a C200-C220, but the website shows the E220 not C.
    I’ve rented that category in the past and it’s always been an E class.
    Has this changed, or did you mean E not C?

    If it is still the E-class, are they all E220′s (diesels) now, or do you still have E280′s (Petrol) on the fleet (which are what I have been given in the past?


  25. Andy Says:

    thanks for the comments and information Rob.

    You say that teh A4 is available in manual and certainly that was true with the old shape… although the manuals were normally 1.9L models and not 2.0L like the S-Line models.

    Can you advise (or find out from fleet) if the new shape Audi A4 is being brought on in S-line format and or in manual – and when this is likely.

    As currently I believe they’re only on fleet in Auto SE guise.

  26. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    You’re right Robert. I’ve revised my comment to the E-Class. It’s been a long week! As far as I can see there is no E280 and all of the Mercs are diesels.

    Andy, the new shape A4 is available as a manual and an auto but is the SE. There are currently no plans introduce the new shape A4 S-Line model to the fleet.


  27. Andy Says:

    Hi Rob
    Are you able to advise if the new sport Merc C class is planned to come onto the AVIS fleet in the near future.

    And also if there are any plans to bring on models like the new shape Mazda 6 (afterall you already have the Mazda 3 and 5 on fleet)

  28. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Andy, there are no plans to introduce the new sport C Class anf the Mazda 6 in the near future. However, progress with evolving the Select Series fleet is looking good with some potentially exciting additions in the pipeline. I’ll report back as soon as I have something more definitive.


  29. Andy Says:

    sounds intriguing Rob, any clues you can give us or idea of when you’re likely to be able to announce anything… (I mean are these plans for next summers fleet or something we’ll see before the end of the year) guessing the former as your next main fleet buy will presumably not be till spring 2009.

  30. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    No clues because I don’t want to jinx it. ;)

    Because we are negotiating our fleet for 2009 the fleet will be introduced across the year, not just for the summer.


  31. Mark B Says:

    Just back from holiday. We had 3 cars – BMW 3 Msport, Volvo XC70 and Ford Focus. The women in particular but all passengers disliked the harsh ride in the BMW and uncomfortable seats. Tyre noise on concrete roads is really bad. Driving the BMW was excellent on country roads but found auto surprisingly hardwork in city driving. I was thinking of buying a 3 series but now clear it is not comfortable. Diver seats are too firm. Volvo XC70 was really enjoyable.

  32. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Thanks for the feedback Mark B. I gives us an insight into the 3 Series from a slightly different perspective! On the topic of our cars, there is a discussion on a separate blog post regarding the future of our Select Series if you’re interested:

  33. Andy Says:

    the issue that some people find with the BMW being too hard or too firm is because the AVIS cars were ‘M Sport’ Models that combined with the run flat tyres that many new cars come with nowadays does make a much harder ride than most expect.

    To Mark B my suggestion would be to try out an SE model at your local BMW dealer – you’ll find the ride quality much softer as are the seats. Personally I prefer the sport styling/trims and ride characteristics.

  34. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Great feedback as always Andy!

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