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Base drummed out

With new styling and a raft of new features the new 3 Series will start at $54,500 _ $3500 above the discontinued base model _ and top out at $111,700 for the 3351 Touring.

BMW says the value equation is ahead of the increase with the 320i Executive winning standard Dakota leather trim, power front seats, light alloy wheels, active front headrests and standard six-speed automatic transmission.

Also now standard on all 3 Series Sedan and Touring models is the exterior lights package that illuminates the door handles when the unlock button on the key fob is pressed. It also includes puddle, footwell and ambient interior lighting.

However, if you enjoy customising your car don't panic. BMW will still offer its traditional lengthy options list.