Tuesday 12 December 2017

Ten things we’ve learned about the revised BMW 3-series

BMW 3 series
BMW 3 series
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

A Revamped BMW 3-series goes on sale here this month. The saloon will cost from €37,140 on-the-road (OTR) and the Touring (estate) starts from €39,510 (OTR).

I’ve just been driving it in Germany and Austria.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned

1. Prices are mostly down on the old one.

For example: the 316d SE saloon costs €39,990; the previous one was €39,950. The 320d Sport saloon now starts at €44,340 – the old one cost €44,920 OTR

2. The brand’s Business Navigation system is now standard; there are new 17ins alloys for SE and Sport versions as well as front and rear parking aids.


3. They have changed the look of the front, the lights (LED daytime running lights at the front, full-time LED tail-lights). The new bumpers (front and back) make it look a lot wider now.

4. They’ve smartened up the cabin – it needed it badly – with the slimmer dashboard and central display looking like they are part of one concept as opposed to being two separate entities. The ConnectedDrive system has been updated.


5. Most engines are new in the sense of major overhaul. The 316d, 318d, 320d diesels (they will be the big sellers with Sport and M-Sport the most likely popular trims) and the petrols (including the new 3cyl 318i) all have the famous EfficientDynamics stamp of frugality. So much so they are claiming 72.4mpg from the EfficientDynamics Plus  version of the 320d. Its 99g/km emissions invole road tax of just €180 a year. Speaks for itself.

6. They’ve tweaked the suspension, chassis, gearboxes and steering. Didn’t notice any major difference to be honest. That’s what happens when they put you in a car with a big 340i petrol that, despite more people buying larger engines, is virtually irrelevant in Ireland. What are they thinking of at all at international launches? Grand for me to be able to give it a lash on the autobahn (and I did, believe me) but not much use for you wondering what the 320d (the one you’re mostly likely to buy) is like. Oh! well. I can tell you it was brilliant to get a drive, however irrelevant, with a big petrol engine under the bonnet again.

7. There will be a plug-in-hybrid 330e next June. The combined output of engine and electric motor will be 252bhp. They are claiming 134.5mpg and emissions of just 49g/km.

8. The Touring (estate) model’s tailgate can be opened remotely saving you hassle if you’re loaded with groceries.

9.The 3-series is 40 years on the road. Fair to say it changed our way of thinking about cars.  Around 14 million have been bought since; the 3-series accounts for 25pc of all Beemer sales today.

10. The original 3-series (E21) was great fun to drive. I drove one for a while this week. It had no power steering, no electric windows, no fifth or sixth gear (fourth was top), no lots of things we take for granted these days. Yet I enjoyed the feeling of being really in touch with the car and having to work that bit harder driving it. Mind you it helped that the sun was shining and we hade the (wind-up) windows down.

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