BMW Mzansi has unveiled the latest 3 Series and its got the right looks and technology to take the fight to the Merc C Class, Audi A4 and others. The fight is now definitely on for the hearts of trendy Mzansi buyers?
The new 3 Series design is not done justice when seen in pictures where it seems like an evolution but when first seen in the metal for the time in the sunny Cape Town, the curvy lines definitely make a statement. The front gets a low slung look with BMW’s kidney grille taking pride of place. Full LED headlights come standard across the range with U shaped LED daytime lights. The design line that rises from the bumper to the centre of the headlight gives the new model added dynamism when viewed from the front. Fog lamps and outer air curtains also feature lower down the front. Buyers that opt for the Sport Line get a more dynamic front bumper whilst the M Sport model gives a more aggressive front design through a lower bumper, bigger side air intakes. In White metallic, the M Sport kits certainly look the part.
At launch, the models available (330i & 320d) come in wheel size ranging from the standard 17inch to 19inch in size. The Sport Line gets a different bi-colour 17-inch size whilst M Sport comes standard with 18-inch wheels. 19-inch wheels are offered as an option. The 3 Series gets a longer wheelbase, wider dimension and its overall bigger than its predecessor for better interior space. The rear gets L shaped LED shaped lights and all models now get twin exhausts placed on either side. Side air intake design accents are placed on the lower, side part of the bumper which M Sport models get a polished diffuser finish in between the exhausts.
The M340i xDrive will join the local line up in the 3rd Quarter of 2019 and will hold the fort as the range topper till the M3 is launched. The M340i xDrive is the first 3 series to get the M Performance aerodynamic kit. It gets different design front and rear bumper that’s closer to full M models. It comes standard with 19-inch wheels with 20-inch wheels offered as an option.
Where the exterior might give a false evolution look, the interior gets a revolution in design and layout with BMW giving the 3 Series more space and technology to make occupants at home in luxury. There is the new dash architecture recently seen on the BMW X5, which has an iDrive controlled Infotainment Touchscreen taking pride of place in the centre console. Metal finish air vents give the layout class and a quality finish. BMW has taken it up a notch in quality fit and finish with high-grade materials used around the cabin. A digital instrument cluster with integrated Control Display now comes standard across the range whilst features buyers can add include LED ambient lighting, Gesture Control, Intelligent Personal Assistant (just say “Hey BMW” and give Infotainment instructions). All round visibility, occupant space and luggage space have seen an increased whilst weight has been lessened through the use of lighter materials. The design spec buyers choose (Standard, Sport and M Sport) also influences the look and finish of the interior.
The M Sport gets M branded door sills, M steering wheel, Sports seats and gear lever. The M340i also gets the M Performance interior design. Additions like sun roof, Harman Kardon sound with 16 speakers, electric seats, heated/cooling seats ensure buyers can tailor make their 3 Series.
Powering the new 3 Series at local unveil are two engines, one petrol and one diesel engines. The petrol engine for now is the 330i that uses a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder TurboPower engine credited with 190kW/400Nm for a claimed 0-100km/h sprint in 5.8 seconds topping 250km/h whilst sipping 6.1l/100km. On the diesel front we have the ever popular 320d featuring a 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre 4-cylinder Turbodiesel motor claimed to sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds topping at 240km/h whilst sipping as little as 4.2l/100km.
Later on in the year (3rd Quarter), the following derivatives will be added. On the petrol side, the range starter 320i uses a 135kW/300Nm 2.0-litre 4-cylinder Turbo motor. 0-100km/h is claimed in 7.2 seconds topping at 238km/h whilst sipping 6.0l/100km. The M340i xDrive uses a 275kW/500Nm 3.0-litre 6-cylinder Turbo to sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds topping at a limited 250km/h whilst sipping 7.5l/100km. The diesel top ranger 330d uses a 195kW/580Nm 3.0-litre 6-cylinder Turbodiesel motor for a claimed 0-100km/h sprint in 5.5 seconds whilst sipping as low as 4.8l/100km.
All local engines come standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission with sportier models getting the Sport Steptronic version for ultra quick changes. Except for the M340i xDrive, which features BMWs sporty biased all-wheel-drive, all other local models come rear wheel driven. Additional features like Dynamic Damper Control, Electronic Differential lock, Driving modes selector (Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport +), perfect weight distribution ensure BMWs legendary driving dynamics are enhanced making like tough for competition. Safety is top drawer with safety systems designed to prevent accidents with features designed to also limit injury in the unfortunate incident of an accident. Connected Drive will also feature extensively across the range. Navigation, iDrive come standard across the range. Intelligent driving is taken to another level with Semi-autonomous driving systems that drive the car in that way assisting the driver (you will have to experience it to believe it but full, self driving cars are not too far away judging from this 3 Series).
BMW already has BMW M Performance Parts available for those buyers that want that extra sporty look with exclusivity assured due to the various bits and pieces, which can be used across the exterior and interior.
Pricing for the local available range
BMW 320d R649 000 (Standard) R672 000(Sport Line) R696 400 (M Sport)
BMW 330i R649 000 (Standard) R672 000(Sport Line) R694 400 (M Sport)
BMW Launch Edition
BMW 320d R664 000 (Sport Line) R684 000 (M Sport)
BMW 330i R664 000 (Sport Line) R684 000 (M Sport)