Revised BMW 3-series available from 99g/km – and Hybrid on way too!
BMW have released details of its facelifted 3-series saloon and Touring estate model. The revised models will arrive in the summer. The big news though is the 330e plug-in hybrid which is due to arrive next year. It promises to offer 252bhp, return up to 134.5mpg and emit just 49g/km of CO2.
Outside, the facelift is very subtle but effective as BMW plays it safe with the car that accounts for a quarter of all the company’s vehicle sales. That means all you get are wider air intakes, restyled lights, a couple of tweaks to the bumpers, and a few more LEDs as standard with the option of all-LED illumination. At the rear, the all-LED lamps feature the Munich company’s signature ‘L-shaped’ lights plus LED brake lights to ensure a sharper response. All-in-all, it does give the 3-series a sharper look.
The significant changes are hidden, and the most notable of these take place under the bonnet where all but one of the engines available in the 3-series have been either revised or completely replaced. Almost every engine in the new line-up is based around the same 500cc modular cylinder design seen in the i8. The only engines to carry over the from the previous model will be the six-pot diesels and the twin-turbocharged six used in the high-performance M3.
In the new line-up, power ranges from 115bhp to 322bhp (excluding the M3). Meanwhile, economy will span 35.8 to 72.4mpg whilst emissions range from 99g to 179g/km of CO2.
Company buyers in particular will be excited by the new 320d ED which is powered by a 163bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine producing 295lb ft of torque. With the eight-speed automatic transmission coupled to it, the 320d ED will slip below the magic 100g/km of CO2 whilst at the same time managing to return 72.0mpg. That means that it will be road-tax exempt and the running costs will be markedly reduced.
At the other end of the diesel scale, is the 313bhp 335d xDrive with a twin-turbocharged straight six. That will be enough to power the 335d from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds whilst returning 51.0mpg.
A new entry-level model will lead the charge for the petrol lovers. From now on, the 318i will be powered by a three-cylinder 1.5-litre unit producing 134bhp and 162lb ft. It replaces the old 316i and will whisk you to 62mph from a standing start in under nine seconds. Its introduction marks the first time a premium junior executive model will be powered by a three-cylinder engine. It is closely related to the turbocharged triple that supplements the electric motors in the BMW i8.
Making its comeback, is the 330i – albeit with a four-cylinder engine instead of the outgoing straight six. It will produce 248bhp.
Out goes the 335i, replaced by a six-cylinder 340i producing 321bhp and 332lb ft. That will be enough to get the car to 62mph in five-seconds flat before going on to an artificially limited 155mph. It is the first BMW to use the new modular six-cylinder petrol engine.
BMW has refused to say anything about the M3, but we are forecasting it to produce 425bhp turbocharged six-cylinder engine – unchanged from before.
Aside from the engines and the external looks, the new 3-series will have revised dampers and a stiffer suspension, giving BMW the confidence to say that its facelifted model is even more sporty than before. As intimated above, both rear-wheel and four-wheel xDrive variants will be offered, dependent on engine choice. The eight-speed automatic transmissions have been fettled to offer a smoother operation than before whilst manual gearboxes will now be able to blip the throttle on downshifts.
Inside, the revised 3-series gets improved ergonomics, upgraded material quality and varying accent details depending on the individual trim level. The German motoring giant has updated its ConnectedDrive infotainment system. It features a 4G data connection as standard, enabling over-the-air satellite navigation mapping updates which will be free of subscription for the first three years. The navigation system is also going to be faster to load and the graphics more detailed and sharper.
A high-resolution full-colour head-up display is available as an option, providing further safety by helping the driver keep their eyes on the road.
In the event of an accident, for example, the car will also be able to call the emergency services once the airbags have been deployed.
The new BMW 3-series will go on sale across the UK in July. BMW has not released details of pricing at this stage, but as an reference point, the current range starts from £24,255.