The new G20 3 Series saloon broke cover at the Paris Motor Show early in October, and is scheduled to go on sale in early March, 2019.
As we've come to expect with the 3 Series – a car that delivers so much to BMW's bottom line – the latest version represents what appears to be a sensible evolution, rather than a revolution. Nevertheless, BMW is claiming that the 3 Series has had its proportions radically revised, but we'll leave you to be the judge of that.
The new car is 85mm longer than its predecessor, 16mm wider and just 1mm taller. In addition, the wheelbase has been extended by 41mm, as have the track widths (43mm wider at the front, 21mm at the rear).
Styling-wise, the large kidney grille elements are now framed by a single surround, and the bonnet features four, distinct contour lines. The front foglights are integrated into the outer air intakes, which are inserted into the front apron in a horizontal, T-shape on SE and Sport models.
From launch, customers will be able to choose from two, non-metallic colours and 10 metallic shades, including the brand new Portimao Blue metallic (unique to the M Sport model).
Inside, 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 function panels (apologies for the marketing speak!). The start/stop button for the engine has been moved to the control panel in the centre console, and 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 including a new Aluminium ‘mesh effect' interior trim.
The entry level SE model will feature substantially increased standard specification, including Extended LED headlights with cornering light and eyebrow indicators, BMW Light Carpet, 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.
It'll also get a leather, sport steering wheel and BMW Live Cockpit plus, with its 8.8in central instrument cluster. The SE models get line-specific front and rear bumper design, plus exclusive 17in alloys, bespoke door sill strips and LED front foglights.
The Sport model will add exterior features including BMW Individual highg-loss 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. There will also be Vernasca leather, heated sports seats and 18in alloys.
The M Sport model features large air intakes and a different front bumper design plus side skirts and rear apron.
Interior highlights include an M leather steering wheel, anthracite-coloured BMW Individual headliner, the new BMW Live Cockpit Professional with a 12.3in digital instrument cluster, 10.3-inch central instrument cluster and BMW's brand new ID7 operating system.
Upgraded four-cylinder engines will be used in the 330i and the 320d models at launch, and xDrive will also be available on the 320d. The upgraded powerplant in the 320d will produce 190hp and a peak torque of 400Nm, enabling a 0-62mph time of 7.1 seconds (6.8 with the eight-speed auto). The xDrive version is a touch quicker, while the 258hp 330i shaves a second off the 320d's 0-62 sprint time. The latest generation of BMW's Head- Up Display will be optional and available as part of a Technology package. This has a projection area 70% larger than in the outgoing version, plus enhanced graphics, additional display readings and a distance warning that flashes up a graphic icon to alert the driver when they get too close to the vehicle in front.
Another technical innovation is the BMW Digital Key, which 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.
The new BMW 3 Series will go on sale on March 9th, 2019, with OTR prices starting at £33,610.