The BMW 3 Series went on on sale from 9 March 2019 with diesel prices starting from £33,610 for the 320d. The 318d, priced at £32,450, joins the range in April. The 3 Series Saloon has been in production for more than 40 years and this is the seventh generation model to go on sale.
The new car is 85 millimetres longer than its predecessor (at 4,709mm), 16 millimetres wider (1,827mm) and just 1 mm taller (1,442 millimetres). Added to that, its wheelbase has been extended by 41 millimetres 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 link to the headlight units. The customary BMW twin headlights feature the familiar two-way split that is further emphasised by a notch in the front apron that rises into the headlight contour.
Another feature is the ‘Hofmeister kink’ – the familiar counter-swing at the trailing edge of the side window graphic. A BMW hallmark, this element of the window frame is now integrated into the C- pillar, giving the rear doors a “freestanding” glass edge.
From launch, customers can choose from two non-metallic colours and ten metallic shades including the new Portimao Blue metallic which is unique to the M Sport model.
The entry level SE model features an increased standard specification. It includes Adaptive LED headlights with cornering light and eyebrow indicators, BMW Welcome Light Carpet, Interior Ambient Lighting with up to 11 colour settings, Parking Assistant with reversing camera and latest generation reversing assistant, Electric folding 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 SE models get line-specific front and rear bumper design, and they also come with 17-inch light-alloy wheels or optional 18-inch wheels, bespoke door sill strips and LED front foglights.
The Sport model adds exterior features including BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim for the side window surrounds, plus kidney grille slats and trim elements for the air intakes and rear apron in High-gloss Black. The Sport model’s interior features an interior trim in High-gloss Black and Sports seats for the driver and front passenger. The Sport model also comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, Vernasca leather seats and Front heated seats.
The M Sport model features 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 slats 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 an interior trim in Aluminium Tetragon, new Vernasca leather seats trims and heated front seats. The M Sport model will also feature as standard the new BMW Live Cockpit Professional with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.3-inch central instrument cluster and BMWs brand new Operating System 7.0 with the Intelligent Personal Assistant.
The upgraded four-cylinder engines from the BMW Group’s Efficient Dynamics family are used in the BMW 330i and the BMW 320d. 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.
Upgrades have been made to the BMW TwinPower Turbo technology for the two-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 187 bhp and a peak torque of 295 ft lb enabling the BMW 320d to accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 7.1 seconds (automatic: 6.8 seconds) while the BMW 320d xDrive can get from zero to 62mph in 6.9 seconds. Average fuel consumption is 54.3-56.5mpg (automatic: 53.3-55.4mpg) for the 320d and 49.6-52.3mpg for the 320d xDrive. The 320d’s CO2 emissions are 115g/km (automatic: 110g/km) while the 320d xDrive’s CO2 emissions are 118g/km.
Further models, the 320i, 318d and 330d, will make their debuts in April 2019 while the plug-in electric hybrid 330e and M Performance M340i xDrive will go on sale in July 2019.
To maximise the handling capabilities of the new 3 Series Saloon BMW has increased the front and rear track, camber values for the front wheels and stiffened the body and suspension mountings. Used for the first time in a BMW model, the lift-related dampers are part of the car’s standard chassis to balance comfort and agility. An addition, overall body rigidity is up by some 25 per cent, rising to as much as 50 per cent in certain areas, while the suspension spring rate is up by 20 per cent over the previous-generation.
Overall, the new BMW 3 Series Saloon weighs up to 55kg less than its predecessor. The body itself is 20kg lighter, while aluminium front spring struts and engine subframe have cut 7.5kg from the overall weight. A further weight saving of almost 15kg is due to the use of aluminium for the bonnet and front side panels.
Aerodynamic improvements have also been applied. The drag coefficient (Cd) of the BMW 320d, for example, has been reduced from 0.26 to 0.23 thanks to an almost completely sealed underbody, aerodynamically optimised wheels, the use of Air Curtains at the front and the latest generation of active air flap control, which extends across the BMW kidney grille and lower air intake. M Sport models which feature the M Sport suspension as standard, including all the all-wheel-drive versions, have a 10mm lowering of the car’s ride height.
For M Sport models, as an alternative to the M Sport suspension customers can specify Adaptive M suspension that now results in a perceptible variation in the damping characteristics when switching between the driving modes using the Driving Experience Control switch. Drivers can select COMFORT mode for relaxed driving, SPORT mode for a dynamic driving style, while ADAPTIVE mode automatically adjusts to the driving style and, depending on the equipment specified, to the route itself. The Adaptive M suspension can be purchased as part of the M Sport Plus package.
The car features as standard with Active Guard Plus which includes speed limit information, lane departure warning and Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function along with Cruise Control with braking function.
Customers can also order the Driving Assistant Professional package that includes the Driving Assistant as well as Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection, Priority Warning and Wrong-way warning systems and Cross-Traffic Alert.
New for the BMW 3 Series Saloon, drivers and passengers will be joined by the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, an intelligent, digital character that responds to the prompt “Hey BMW”. This will mark the start of a new era for the BMW Group in which drivers will increasingly be able to operate their car and access its functions and information simply by speaking.
The arrival of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant ensures there is always a genuine BMW professional on board. This gives the ability to explain all sorts of different functions (“How does the High Beam Assistant work?”), provide current status information (“Is the oil level okay?”) and help answer questions (“What messages do I have?”).
The BMW Digital Key employs Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow the new BMW 3 Series Saloon to be locked and unlocked from a smartphone. Holding the smartphone up to the door handle opens the car and, once inside, the engine can be started as soon as the phone has been placed in the wireless charging or smartphone tray.
Connected Navigation offers a range of digital services to make route planning both in the car and away from it, much easier. With this new technology drivers can send destinations from various apps straight to their car’s navigation system and the most important destinations will be stored meaning important addresses can be accessed from any device at any time. A new feature is the Parking Space Assistant, which proposes various parking options to the driver in good time before the destination is reached.