With more than 15 million sales under its belt, the BMW 3 Series Saloon has enjoyed a superb reputation both for its quality and supreme handling in the premium midsize segment for more than 40 years and now, the seventh-generation model, raises the bar even higher.
When the first BMW 3 Series was launched in 1975 it revolutionised the segment and became BMW’s most successful model. With revised styling, superior driving dynamics, exceptional efficiency and innovative features, this latest iteration opens an exciting new chapter in 3 Series progression.
Precision, clean lines and bold contours are the hallmarks of the new 3 Series Saloon, which has had its proportions radically revised. The new car is 85mm longer than its predecessor (at 4,709mm), 16mm wider (1,827mm) and just 1mm taller (1,442 millimetres). Added to that, its wheelbase has been extended by 41mm to 2,851mm, as has its track widths (front by 43mm and rear by 21mm).
At the front, the large BMW kidney grille elements are framed by a single surround and split up by wide bars and links to the headlight units. The customary BMW twin headlights feature the familiar two-way split that is further emphasised by an eye-catching notch in the front apron that rises into the headlight contour. The bonnet has four contour lines leading to the BMW kidney grille.
The interior is designed to accentuate the space within the cabin and the driver-focused cockpit. The instrument panel has a modern, light look with horizontal lines, high-quality trim strips and contours that extend into the doors.
The newly-designed instrument cluster and control display form a large surfaced screen grouping, while the controls not included in these units are arranged into clearly structured panels. Displays and buttons for the air conditioning are at the centre of the instrument panel while the lights are operated via a panel of buttons next to the steering wheel. The start/stop button for the engine is now positioned in a control panel in the centre console that houses the gearshift lever or newly designed selector lever, the iDrive Controller, electromechanical parking brake and the buttons for the Driving Experience Control switch unit.
The range of standard and optional interior trim elements available for the instrument panel and centre console is almost entirely new. As well as open-pore fine wood options, customers can choose from a variety of aluminium trims.
The entry level SE model get lots of extra kit as standard. It includes extended LED headlights with cornering light and eyebrow indicators, interior ambient lighting with up to 11 colour settings, reversing camera and latest generation reversing assistant, electric folding rear view mirrors, three-zone air conditioning and enhanced acoustic glazing. All 3 Series models benefit from 40:20:40 split folding rear seats and folding rear headrests as standard. The entry model features a leather Sport steering wheel and BMW Live Cockpit plus, with its 8.8-inch central instrument cluster.
The Sport model adds high-gloss shadow line trim for the side window surrounds, plus kidney grille bars and trim elements for the air intakes and rear apron in high-gloss black, along with 18-inch alloy wheels. The interior features trim strips in high-gloss black plus heated sports seats for the driver and front passenger.
The M Sport model boasts particularly large air intakes as well as a different design for the front bumper, side skirts and rear apron. It also includes BMW Individual high-gloss shadow line trim, kidney grille bars in high-gloss black, air intake trim in high-gloss black and a rear diffuser in dark shadow. Inside there are Sports seats, an M leather steering wheel, an anthracite-coloured BMW Individual headliner and interior trim strips in Aluminium Tetragon, updated Vernasca leather seat trims and heated front seats. The M Sport model will also come equipped with the new BMW Live Cockpit Professional with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.3-inch central instrument cluster.
The upgraded four-cylinder engines from the BMW Group’s Efficient Dynamics family are used in the BMW 320d and BMW 330i. The 3 Series Saloon will feature a new- generation six-speed manual gearbox and the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. As an alternative to rear-wheel drive, the BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system will also be available for the new BMW 320d at launch.
Systematic upgrades have been made to the BMW TwinPower Turbo technology for the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engines in the BMW 320d and BMW 320d xDrive models. It now includes multi-stage turbocharging, which brings increased efficiency across all engine speeds. The revised diesel has a maximum output of 187bhp and a peak torque of 295 ft lb enabling the BMW 320d to accelerate from 0- 62mph in 7.1 seconds (automatic: 6.8 seconds) while the BMW 320d xDrive can get from 0- 62mph in 6.9 seconds. Average fuel consumption is 64.2mpg (automatic: 67.3mpg) for the 320d and 62.8mpg for the 320d xDrive. The 320d’s CO2 emissions are 115g/km (automatic: 110 g/km) while the 320d xDrive’s CO2 emissions are 118g/km.
The new BMW 3 Series saloon made its debut at the Paris Motor Show today and is on sale from March 9, 2019 with on-the-road prices starting from £33,610.