Those folk in Munich have just launched the new 2019 BMW 3 Series ahead of its public premiere at this week’s Paris motor show, and it’s bigger than ever. That goes for the kidney grille too…
We’ve moaned for years about Audis all looking the same, and sure, the rant doesn’t get old. They do all look the same. But it’s not like Audi is the only culprit so remember, don’t discriminate when you’re bullying. BMW, for example, has recently also become guilty of slacking in the design department, since everything is starting to look the same throughout the range.
Take the new BMW 3 Series – it’s just been officially revealed and it’s hard to tell it apart from a 5 Series. Speaking of which, it’s grown quite considerably in size, so in its latest seventh generation the 3 Series is far from a compact saloon – it’s as big as an E34 5 Series from the 1990s and not far off the E39 5 Series either.
Compared to the outgoing sixth-gen model, the new car is 85mm longer and 16mm wider, and as you can probably tell the kidney grille is as big as the entire front end allows. It’s inside the car where BMW made more effort, rearranging some of its button placements and redesigning the cockpit with a new instrument cluster and control display.
The range of features available is huge and it’s all about high-gloss black, Vernasca leather seats, M Sport steering wheels, ambient lighting in 11 colours, and more. If you do choose the M Sport spec you can have 18-inch wheels and 12.3-inch infotainment screen included, while M Sport Plus ups it to 19-in wheels.
BMW is going all-out with this launch, so from the get go you’ll be able to pick from three petrol engines. The 320i kicks things off, rated at 184bhp and 300Nm of torque. Then it’s the 330i with 258 horsepower and 400Nm of torque good for a sprint from zero to 100km/h in 5.8 seconds. That makes it 10bhp and 50Nm stronger than the outgoing car.
Next year BMW will start rolling out the 340i xDrive putting down 374 horsepower to all four wheels. That’s a huge leap from the current 340i rated at 320bhp. As a result it’ll do zero to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds which makes it half-a-second quicker than the E92 M3 from just two generations ago.
Following that the line-up will expand again with the 330e, a plug-in-hybrid with a zero-emissions driving range of about 60km and a system total of nearly 290 horsepower.
Compared to the old model, the new 3er additionally comes with a stiffer suspension but a lighter body (aluminium components help save 20kg), and a low-drag design thanks to a completely flat underbody and aero-optimised wheels.
Best of all, you can have a limited slip differential as an option on the M Sport cars, and an electronic unit with the M Sport Plus package, which might suggest that although BMW can’t design a car as good as an E34, they still know a thing or two about driving.