For many a year, the BMW 3 Series has proven to be one of the most popular models available on the British market – so whenever a new model or update takes place on the 3 Series, it’s big news.
Well, here is one of those major moments, as BMW has revealed its seventh generation 3 Series, fitted with the latest technology from the German brand, while also coming with a refreshed design.
BMW claims to have also improved the driving dynamics of the new 3 Series so it can match up to the reputation of its predecessor.
We get behind the wheel of the 2019 3 Series to see if it can continue to challenge at the top-end of the compact executive saloon segment.
From launch, BMW will be providing UK customers with two engine options for the 3 Series – the diesel 320d that can be paired to xDrive all-wheel drive and the 330i petrol. We got behind the wheel of the former, which was fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends the power to the rear wheels. The four-cylinder turbo unit develops 187bhp and 400Nm of torque, while also being able to return impressive fuel economy and relatively low emissions. With the powertrain we tested, the 3 Series can get from 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds and go on to a top speed of 149mph – what you would expect for a car in the executive segment. But if you’re after a little more oomph, you may be better going for the 330i, which develops 254bhp and 400Nm of torque for a 0-60mph time of 5.6 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph.
Ride & Handling
The 3 Series has always proven to be dynamic and involving to drive, so it’s great to see that BMW has done the same with the new version – but in a slightly different manner. As with most modern cars, the steering feel isn’t great, but it’s fast so that you can guide the car through a series of corners without little trouble. But where this new version of the 3 Series excels is its refinement. BMW has filled the A-pillars with absorbing foam to help reduce exterior noises entering the cabin, while acoustic glass on the windscreen helps with that even further. As the car has a more dynamic setup than its rivals, body roll is kept to a minimum but the ride at low speeds can be harsher than you might like.See Available 3 Series deals
Interior & Equipment
The work to make the interior of the 3 Series as high-end as possible has certainly paid off, as when you get into the car, all the materials are up to a high standard and the cabin feels like a good place to be. We aren’t biggest fans of the new readouts on the digital instruments dials, which seem a bit too complex for our tastes, while there are some cheaper plastics used here and there.
What hasn’t changed, though, is the excellent seating position that allow you to feel part of the process and compliments the dynamic edge the 3 Series offers. The 480-litre boot can be extended when you fold down the 40:20:40 split rear seats, while head and legroom is ample for taller passengers sitting in the rear.
From the base SE, BMW has ensured the 3 Series comes with plenty of equipment, such as adaptive LED headlights, automatic three-zone air conditioning, an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen, the Live Cockpit instrument display, cruise control with brake function, a sports steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, and Parking Assistant with reversing camera.
In the Sport spec we tried, further equipment included 18-inch alloy wheels, sports seats, leather upholstery and model-specific body detailing. BMW also fitted an electric glass sunroof and the LaserLight headlights, which offer excellent visibility in darker conditions.
The 3 Series needs to match up to its rivals in price as well as quality, so the £32,620 starting price is a little over that of the Mercedes C-Class and Audi’s A4 – but neither of those offer as much equipment as standard.
With the 320d unit in use, the 3 Series can achieve 67.3mpg and emit just 110g/km CO2 – which business users will appreciate. For the petrol 330i, it isn’t much worse, with returns of 48.7mpg and 132g/km CO2.
For BMW, the 3 Series has to be strong, and thankfully for the German brand that is the case here. As with previous iterations, the all-round package is excellent and stands up well to other executive saloons on offer. The driving dynamics continue to be one of the best in the segment, while the interior quality and equipment offerings have improved along with the new generation. It’s safe to say that this new 3 Series will be as popular as ever and we think it’ll lead the way when it goes on sale in March next year.