BMW’s all-new G20 3-Series has some pretty big shoes to fill, as the previous-generation F30 model was one of the most dynamic and best-selling cars in its segment.
The new 3-Series goes on sale in March of 2019, priced from $40,200 in the U.S and £33,610 in the UK, where the entry-level model will be a 320d, as opposed to the 330i that opens up the range in America.
First things first though, let’s talk size. The new 3er is 85 mm (3.34 in) longer than its predecessor, measuring 4,709 mm (185.7 inches) in length. It’s also wider by 16 mm (now 1,827 mm / 71.9 in) and just 1 mm taller. Meanwhile, its wheelbase has grown by 41 mm to 2,851 mm (112.2 inches) – the largest in its class.
Visually, the G20 is also more imposing than the F30, thanks in part to the four contour lines leading to the massive kidney grille, as well as the character lines that rise to the rear and wheel arches. From launch, customers will be able to choose between two non-metallic colors and ten metallic shades, including Vermont Bronze metallic and the new Portimao Blue metallic, the latter unique to the M Sport version.
Overall, the new 3-Series has a wide, low-slung and aggressive exterior, one that is indeed reminiscent of the larger 5-Series as far as design language is concerned.
Class-leading interior tech
Since the 3-Series is now the newest premium sports sedan entry, it’s only natural for it to have some type of upper hand in terms of available on-board technology, at least on paper.
With that in mind, even entry-level variants such as the SE (in Europe) feature the likes of Extended LED headlights with cornering light and eyebrow indicators, BMW Light Carpet, interior Ambient Lighting with up to 11 colors settings, reversing camera, electric folding rear view mirrors, three-zone air conditioning and enhanced acoustic glazing. There’s even a leather Sport steering wheel to go with the BMW Live Cockpit and its 8.8-inch central instrument cluster.
Speaking of the SE model (Euro spec), it gets a line-specific front and rear bumper design, exclusive 17-inch alloys (or optional 18-inch ones), bespoke door sill strips and LED front fog lights. The Sport version adds BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim for the side window surrounds, kidney grille bars and air intake elements, and 18-inch alloys, while its interior comes with high-gloss black trim, sports/heated seats and Vernasca leather.
Last but not least is the M Sport model, which in Europe features the previously-mentioned Shadow Line trim and gloss black accents, Sports seats, an M leather steering wheel, anthracite-colored BMW Individual headliner, Aluminum Tetragon trim strips, heated leather seats and the new BMW Live Cockpit Professional with the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as standard, next to the 10.3-inch central instrument cluster and BMW’s new ID7 operating system.
As for U.S. spec models, there’s the entry-level Sport Line, the Luxury Line and the M Sport to choose from.
The Sport Line packs 18-inch wheels, bespoke door sill strips and LED front fog lamps, while inside it comes with high-gloss black trim and sports seats out front. Luxury Line models use chrome applications for the BMW kidney grille, front air intakes and rear apron, while Vernasca leather trim can be found inside. As for the M Sport, is rocks a standard M Sport Suspension (optional Adaptive M Suspension), variable sport steering, larger air intakes, BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim and elements, sports seats with M-specific upholstery, an M leather steering wheel and the same headliner as the Euro-spec M Sport version.
Now for the really tech-heavy part, let’s talk active safety and personal assistance.
The Active Guard Plus system comes standard on all new 2019 3-Series models, and includes speed limit information, lane departure warning, Collision and Pedestrian warning with City Braking, plus Cruise Control with braking function. Swing for the Driving Assistant Professional package and you’ll also enjoy the likes of Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection, Priority Warning and Wrong-way warning systems and Cross-Traffic Alert.
The latest generation of BMW’s head-up display is an optional extra and available as part of a Technology package. The system is said to boast a projection area 70% larger than in the outgoing 3-Series, plus enhanced graphics and additional display readings.
As for the car’s Intelligent Personal Assistant, you can activate it by saying ‘Hey BMW’, from which point the system can learn your routines and habits, helping you with your seat heating, sat-nav destinations and so on. What’s interesting is that BMW will allow you to give the system a name (for example Charlie or Joy) in order to create even greater individuality and personality.
Other things you can say include: “Hey BMW, I’m cold” ; “How does the High Beam Assistant work?” ; “Is the oil level okay?” “What messages do I have?” and plenty more. The assistant will the benefit from constant technical upgrades, learning more along the way.
Ultimate driving machine
The 3-Series wouldn’t be a proper BMW if it didn’t drive like one, and you can argue that this nameplate is actually the quintessential Bimmer – a mid-size family car that drives in a very engaging manner.
Helping it get to where it needs to go is a range of upgraded four-cylinder units, used in the 320d and 330i models to begin with. The former packs TwinPower Turbo 2.0-liter four-pots producing 190 PS (187 HP) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque and does zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.8 seconds (7.1 manual). The 330i on the other hand has 258 PS (255 HP) and the same 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque, and will do the previously-mentioned sprint in 5.8 seconds.
The likes of the M340i and M340i xDrive M Performance will arrive in the Spring of 2019, boasting a straight-six engine with 382 HP (387 PS) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque, getting you to 60 mph (96 km/h) in around 4.2 seconds.
Europe: 320d (£33,610) ; 320d xDrive (£36,800) ; 330i (£37,660)
US: 330i ($40,250) ; 330i xDrive ($42,250)
The line-up will later expand to include M Performance and iPerformance plug-in hybrid models.
Update: We’ve added more photos from the Paris Auto Show floor