Not long after debuting the latest X5, BMW chose the 2018 Paris motor show to reveal the G20 version of its top-selling car: the 3 Series. Due to go on sale in Australia in the first quarter of 2019, the 2019 BMW 3 Series is all-new from the ground up. It sits on a new platform, ushers in new drivetrains and a new interior layout.
The new 3 Series also uses more technology than ever before, with BMW’s latest infotainment system, driver assistance technology and dynamic driving assistance technologies proudly featuring to help regain lost sales to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4.
According to the brand, the 3 Series “has epitomised the concept of sporty driving pleasure in the global premium midsize class for more than 40 years. Exuding dynamic design, agile handling, exceptional efficiency and innovative equipment features, it takes the signature characteristics of a BMW and turns the volume up several notches.”
“The sedan represents not only the core of the BMW 3-Series range (of which over 15 million units have now been sold worldwide) but also the heartbeat of the BMW brand.”
Sitting on the brand’s new CLAR platform that also underpins the larger 5 Series and 7 Series, the 2019 BMW 3 Series is longer, wider and taller than before. Its wheelbase has been extended for greater rear seat comfort, yet also driving dynamics, according to the brand. Overall length sits at 4,709mm – 76mm longer than before – while its width (1,827mm), height (1,442mm) and wheelbase (2,851mm) have all grown by 16mm, 1mm and 41mm respectively. Yet thanks to more liberal use of aluminium, the new 3 Series weighs up to 55kg less than the previous model. The car’s 480-litre bootspace is identical to the previous model.
The styling of the 2019 BMW 3 Series is modern and new, but familiar and recognisable as a 3 Series. The length increase is noticeable, but overall it appears better proportioned this time around – the notch in the headlights is a throwback to the E46 generation of 3 Series. The cabin is evolutionary, though incorporates the latest BMW technology such as the company’s latest OS7.0 infotainment system with ‘Hey BMW’ voice recognition. Unlike ‘Hey Mercedes’ in Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX system, you can change the name of the car and use that when asking the car a question – ‘Hey Charlie’, for example.
The engine range offered with the new 3 Series is broadly similar to the current model, yet improved in both performance and efficiency. In Europe is the 135kW/300Nm 320i and 185kW/400Nm 330i, which use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. A six-cylinder M340i with 275kW/500Nm, as well as a 185kW 330e will join the petrol variants in 2019.
Diesel variants are covered by the 2.0-litre four-cylinder 110kW/320Nm 318d and 140kW/400Nm 320d, as well as the 3.0-litre six-cylinder 195kW/580Nm 330d. Using the same model structure as the current model in Australia, the most fuel efficient non-plug in hybrid model will be the 320d (4.4-4.7L/100km), with the 320i using 5.7L/100km and the 330i using 5.8/100km. Efficiency figures for the 330e and M340i variants are yet to be announced.
One of the criticisms with the current generation BMW 3 Series has the lack of active safety technology, and it has been upgraded for the new G20 generation. Standard equipment includes city speed autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, as well as lane departure warning. As part of an optional in Europe – Australian specifications are yet to be announced – driver assistance package, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, as well as lane change assist, lane keep assist, rear traffic alert with rear collision avoidance and traffic sign recognition are all added.
Other equipment includes standard LED headlights optionally available with BMW’s Laser Light adaptive high beam with a 530 metre range, tri-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, a 10.25-inch centre infotainment screen with a touchpad controller, a 16-speaker 464-watt Harman Kardon sound system, a colour heads-up display that’s 70 percent larger than previous iterations, adaptive M suspension with sport steering and for 330i and 330d variants, an M Sport differential.
The 2019 BMW 3 Series is due to go on sale in March 2019, with local specifications, engine variants and pricing to be announced before then. We predict a similar range to the current model, with the 320i and 320d sitting at the entry point of the range, the 330i and 330e in the middle and the M340i – which arrives later – at the top, with Touring wagon, M3/M4 and 4 Series coupe, convertible and Gran Coupe variants all arriving before 2020.
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