A three-cylinder 3 Series raises the price of entry to BMW’s most popular sedan.
The 3 Series midlife update marks the launch of the 1.5L turbo as the range’s base engine.
The 318i starter car is $54,900, an increase of $1100 on the outgoing 316i. Engine apart, the new version has a head-up display, lane change alert, surround-view reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, LED headlamps, satnav with real-time traffic info and BMW’s ConnectedDrive tech.
BMW’s customary small sedan rivals are still dearer, with the Audi A4 starting at $55,500 and Mercedes-Benz’s entry C-Class at $60,900, though both have more power.
As the specification level rises, the prices for the facelifted 3 Series decrease relative to the outgoing cars. The 340i, the replacement for the loved 335i variant, comes in more than $3000 cheaper at $89,900. Similarly the 330i is $500 cheaper than the outgoing 328i.
The 1.5L three-cylinder generates the same power as the current 1.6L four-cylinder turbo while using just 5.4L/100km
Designations change to coincide with the launch of a modular engine family with standardised 500cc cylinder displacement. The 1.5L three-cylinder generates the same power as the current 1.6L four-cylinder turbo while using just 5.4L/100km.
The 320 trio of petrol-powered sedan and wagon and diesel sedan enhance standard kit to include power front seats, adaptive suspension, sports mode on the eight-speed auto and digital radio.
In 320i guise and with outputs of 135kW/270Nm, the sedan is $61,900 and the wagon $65,300. In the sedan, the sprint from 0-100km/h takes 7.3secs, claimed fuel use is 5.8L/100km and the wagon’s respective figures are 7.5s and 5.9L.
At $63,800 the 320d is the sole diesel in the line-up, the carry-over engine now good for 140kW/400Nm and a claimed 4.4L/100km.
The headline 340i stops the clock at 5.1 seconds, courtesy of a new 3.0L six-cylinder turbo good for 240kW and 450Nm
The outgoing 328i accounted for 40 per cent of sales and the new volume seller, the 330i, starts at $69,900. Specified with 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery and enhanced satnav it will take less than 6.0s for the sprint to 100km/h.
The headline 340i stops the clock at 5.1 seconds, courtesy of a new 3.0L six-cylinder turbo good for 240kW and 450Nm. It is also loaded with the latest tech, including variable sports steering, adaptive LED headlamps, active cruise control, parking assist and internet connectivity.
All 3 Series will steer more precisely and show less body roll, without sacrificing comfort, thanks to returning of standard and adaptive suspension alike.
The facelifted 3 Series will go on sale next month — but the 318i is due in November.
Check out Malcolm Flynn's video review of the BMW 3 Series: