Wednesday 17 January 2018

Lower price boost as BMW 3-series gets an overhaul

First drive: BMW 3

Improved cabin: BMW 3-Series
Improved cabin: BMW 3-Series
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

We don't often hear of new cars going down in price but that appears to be the case with some models in BMW's newly-revised 3-series which arrives this month.

The saloon costs from €37,140 on-the-road (OTR) and the Touring (estate) starts from €39,510 (OTR). The 316d SE saloon costs €39,990 (old one: €39,950) while the 320d Sport saloon now starts at €44,340 (down from €44,920).

They have upped the spec levels with Business Navigation standard, there are new 17ins alloys (SE, Sport versions) and front/rear parking aids.

The front looks a bit different, I suppose, but I'm not convinced (LED daytime running lights at the front, full-time LED tail-lights) but there's no doubt the new bumpers (front and back) make it look a lot wider.

The cabin, especially the dash, is a lot better, slimmer and less dull looking. Badly needed that. The mid-dash central display looks part of the furniture too - and the ConnectedDrive system has been updated.

The 316d, 318d, 320d diesels will be the big sellers (Sport and M-Sport are the likely popular trims) and all have been heavily upgraded. They are claimed to be much more efficient. Indeed they claim 72.4mpg for the EfficientDynamics Plus 320d (99g/km €180 road tax).

As you would expect the suspension, chassis, gearboxes and steering all benefit from some work too but as I was driving a 340i petrol I'll have to wait until, hopefully, I get my hands on a small diesel here before deciding how much of an improvement they have made.

The 3-series is a benchmark but the likes of Audi (A4) and Mercedes (C-Class) have caught up in many areas and it will be fascinating to see how it fares.

The 3-series is 40 years on the go and has been a mainstay for the company and many buyers over the years. Would you believe around 14 million have been bought since 1975? The model accounts for one quarter of all Beemer sales today.

These latest changes are not mega in terms of looks and, as far as I could tell, handling, but they will keep it competitive and ticking over nicely.

π It was just a joy to drive an 'original' 3-series in Austria last week. It was one of those days: sun shining, soft wind, windows down and a nice twisty road.

My car had no power steering, no electric windows, just the four gears and a smart 4cyl 1.6-litre petrol engine that sounded as sweet as the dessert I yielded to later.

I know we love our power steering and driver aids. But is there anything to beat a 'real' drive in a driver's car?

I can see why so many flocked to it when it first came out.

Indo Motoring

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