BMW’s long-standing best-seller, the 3 Series is back in 2015 with a facelift and engine overhaul. Slated for a July commercial release, the car was unveiled to eager eyes in Munich last week. The first thing you’ll notice is the subtle styling changes. BMW haven’t gone overboard here, but it’s certainly a response to criticisms of the old style. Under the bonnet, we’re assured there are some big changes, however.
It looks like BMW are taking the charge to its competitors and pulling further ahead. The new 3 Series engines seem to be more powerful, more responsive and more fuel efficient than ever before. They will also introduce a plug-in hybrid option for the first time. BMW have already staked their claim in the saloon and touring market. They are established champions here, yet they never stop pushing the boundaries. The 3 Series is no different and proves BMW are not about to rest on their laurels. Before the imminent release, we’ve gathered together everything you need to know about the new 3 Series.
Competitors – The BMW 3 Series sits squarely in the executive saloon car market. Aimed at the family commuter and company car demographic, it is already wildly popular. The sector is one of the most competitive in motoring. Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar are all trying to muscle in on the action. BMW has regularly proved itself as the best of the bunch. Although the Jag and the Mercedes may be a little more refined, they’re also more expensive. Arguably, they’re less fun to drive too. It’s the Jag XE and the Mercedes C-Class that BMW are looking to eclipse with the new 3 Series.
The 3 Series legacy – The mid-range BMW is quite a phenomenon. It has quietly become the German manufacturer’s best selling vehicle. Over 25 % of all BMWs sold today are 3 Series. Our friends at Motorline Direct confirm that the model is a popular best-seller. Whether new or old, the 3 Series has a reputation as a reliable, powerful saloon car. They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but we love BMW’s progressive approach. Despite its popularity, they’ve gone full-speed ahead with a new engine. We’re intrigued, BMW.
Styling – Let’s start with the styling because it’s the first thing you’ll notice. In fact, the funny thing here is that you’re more likely to see the changes at night! The most drastic alterations are the new lights. They are slimmer and more fierce. It will come complete with LED ‘eyebrow’ indicators. All-in-all, they look a little more aggressive. Almost as if they’re ready to take on its rivals. In the bodywork, BMW have made some subtle trim changes to the front nose and the rear. You’ll notice new side air vents and intake at the front. They’ve also shaved a few of the angles and tightened up the body. It’s a subtle reaction to comments of modest styling on the previous model. It brings it more in line with the stylish Jaguar XE.
Fuel efficiency – Those bodywork changes are the first thing you notice. But, it’s under the bonnet where BMW have made their biggest mark. The engine has undergone a complete overhaul. One of the best points of the new 3 Series is its fuel efficiency. It will deliver a stunning 74.3mpg, putting it at the top of its class, albeit, only just! The real difference is the CO2 emissions rating. Previously, the 3 Series was hovering over the 100g per kg mark. They’ve cut an incredible 10g, bringing the new car down to 99g per kg. These numbers might seem superficial, but this reduction now makes the car free to tax. The 3 Series will become the default choice for company car owners everywhere.
Engine – So, let’s look at this new engine in more detail. There is a variety of options across the board for BMW here. Our pick of the bunch is the three cylinder turbo petrol engine. It has the perfect balance of power, fuel efficiency and comfort. Of course, we haven’t sat behind the wheel yet, but it should be a dream. BMW have been on a rampage recently, with rumours of a new 600 hp M7. Their engine development is just fantastic. With the 3 Series, they will also introduce the 330e, a plug-in hybrid model, for ultra fuel economy.
Performance – For all this talk of environmental credentials, will we compromise on power? It doesn’t look that way. BMW claim the new 3 Series will reach 60mph in 7.8 seconds, which is much faster than its competitors. Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar all fall beyond 8 seconds on their entry models. BMW are also squeezing in more torque which should help concentrate that power on the road.
Handling – It’s impossible to give you a full impression before the press gets the chance to drive it. But, looking at the statistics, here’s what we think. The new 3 Series should be a dream to handle. That extra torque will keep the power centred on the road and grip into the corners. The tighter suspension will give it a better response and perhaps a sportier feel than its predecessor. It could outclass the Audi A4. At the same time, BMW have upgraded their engine dampener, added four wheel drive and traction to some models. Each of these should work together to induce a more comfortable and pleasant ride. If BMW have got this balance right, it could be just what we’ve been looking for.
Equipment – The 3 Series will come with sat nav, DAB, parking sensors and 16” alloy wheels as standard. It’s well stocked and matches its rivals. If we’re picking hairs, the A4 dashboard is perhaps a little more refined, but that shouldn’t sway you.
Price – Prices have yet to be announced, but we expect the 3 Series to hover around the £30,000 mark. At the top of the range, you can probably expect to pay closer to £42,000. The big test will be whether it comes in lower than the cost of the Jaguar and the Mercedes.
Check back soon when we’ll have a full review of the new 3 Series. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this, and we’ll have all the details shortly! Until then, stick around for more great reviews, opinions and car news!