Christmas has come early. BMW has pulled the wrapping off the next-generation 3 Series at this year’s Paris Motor Show. As you’d expect, five years of development results in quite a few changes. So, grab a brew, sit back and read on.
With more than 15 million sold, it’s no surprise why the saloon hasn’t undergone a change in the recipe for a dramatic redesign. Despite coming with BMW’s new one-piece kidney grille, it remains recognisable as a 3 Series.
One of the most noticeable changes is the growth when compared to its predecessor. The next generation saloon has a longer wheelbase and reduced weight. Dimensions-wise, it’s 4,709mm long, 1,827mm wide and 1,442mm tall so 85mm longer, 16mm wider and 1mm taller than the design it replaces.
As for the interior, we see a more noticeable step up in looks and feel. The biggest upgrade being the digital instrument cluster measuring 12.3 inches, the biggest ever seen in a 3 Series. Joining the new digital cluster is the 10.3-inch centre display that runs on BMW’s new ID7 operating system.
Displaying a cleaner design, the new 3 Series has a lot fewer controls. Air conditioning controls are at the centre of the instrument panel while the light functions are controlled through multiple buttons next to the steering wheel. Even the start/stop button has relocated to the centre console, the same section housing the gearshift lever, iDrive Controller, electromechanical parking brake, and the buttons for the Driving Experience Control switch unit.
As you’d expect with a bigger model, the driver and passengers can enjoy increased headspace, legroom and shoulder room. Increased door height also makes it easier for rear passengers to get in and out of the car.
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, BMW’s version of the ‘Alexa’ assistant, gives drivers access to using the car’s functions whilst staying focused on the road. The system has the ability to learn and recognise regular routines and habits of the driver, adjusting the car automatically.
Engine variety is one thing the old and new BMW 3-Series models share. On launch, the 3-Series will offer two diesel options and one petrol engine, all of which will be turbocharged four-cylinder units. The entry-level model is the 320d diesel which will produce 187 bhp and a sprint from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds with a six-speed manual gearbox or 7.2 seconds with an eight-speed automatic. The most expensive of the 3 Series from launch is the 330i, powered by a 254 bhp engine, powering 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds.
Orders for the new BMW 3-Series will start to be taken from 9th March 2019 prices with prices starting from £33,610 for the entry-level 320d. We expect the line-up to be completed with further petrol options, a number of hybrid options and a purely electric 3-series model, the i4. These will be followed by the release of the highly anticipated BMW M3 in 2020.
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