The BMW 3-Series is an incredibly important vehicle, both for the brand itself in which it remains a firm favourite top-seller and for the segment in which it remains the best selling vehicle with over 15,500,000 units sold and what is arguably the most dynamic car you can buy. First introduced in 1975, and some over 40-years later, you join me to drive the latest-generation G20 model, the most advanced 3-Series ever. I attended the SA Media launch from its beautiful Camps Bay setting to see what the new 3 is all about.
A Dynamic Affair
The 3-Series has always been at the pinnacle of luxury sedans in terms of being what is arguably the most dynamic vehicle within its segment. This new G20 model retains the models’ sheer focus on precision driving agility and dynamics. The structure of this vehicle is up to 50% stiffer than its predecessor, bearing in mind that the older car was already an incredibly taut and precise vehicle.
BMW has again achieved the desired 50/50 front to rear weight distribution, and this coupled with its advanced damping system makes for a truly dynamic experience. There are essentially 3 distinct suspension set-ups available, and if you want something even more sport orientated, the option to have adaptive damping will be optionally available at R11 400*. Features like hydraulic bump-stops helped smooth even the most cobbled surfaces down in the Cape.
Much like its predecessor, the new 3-Series uses its near-perfect weight balance, damping and steering precision to allow the driver to have a lot of fun from the rear end, without losing touch with the road surface. For those really wanting to explore the limits of the new 3-Series, it is even offered with an optional electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
Straight from launch, the new BMW 3-Series is offered in 2 derivatives, namely, the 320d and 330i. 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine has the same outputs as before, with 140 kW and 400 Nm of torque with all power sent through an 8-speed automatic transmission that can get from 0 to 100 kph from in only 6.8 sec. Combined claimed fuel consumption is a low 4.8-litres/100 km.
The 330i M-Sport is the petrol driven even more sport orientated motor. The 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbopetrol unit produces slightly more power than its predecessor with figures of 190 kW and 400 Nm of torque. The claimed 0 to 100 kph time comes in at a very impressive 5.8 seconds. The 330i particularly produces a beautiful soundtrack. Combined fuel consumption is claimed at 6.4-litres/100 km.
Technology as Order of The Day
With the latest Audi and Mercedes-Benz featuring far more futuristic cabin spaces and a wash of large screens and displays, it seems very fitting that BMW has not only set-out to match these technological advancements, but rather take it to the next level.
The interior is not only far plusher and more premium in feel to that of the outgoing model, it further features the inclusion of a very sophisticated and driver-focused digital dash and large central media display if optioned. The interior now feels much more modern BMW and also includes beautiful mood lighting.
Much like a modern mobile phone, the vehicle responds to “Hey BMW” voice commands, this gives you as the driver control over many functions without the need to take your hands or eyes of the job of driving. BMW’s Connected Drive services give you access to the likes of weather, connected navigation, SOS services and a ton of other applications. Apple CarPlay can be utilised, but sadly not Android Auto.
A wealth of modern safety systems come fitted to the new 3-Series as well as sophisticated monitoring equipment, including radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors. Market permitting, the 3 Series will drive its occupants at speeds of below 60 kph for larger distances, as it is far more aware of its surroundings than on the outgoing model.
With kidney grills which open and close to assist with ventilation and the option of wheel centre caps which stay upright when moving, as originally seen on the Rolls Royce Phantom, it is clear that the new 3-Series is now far more sophisticated than its ever been.
BMW has done an astonishing job with this new 3-series. From many technological advancements previously only seen on the likes of the 7-Series and 5-Series, to some clever new party tricks such as the possibility for the vehicle to reverse itself out of a tight parking space, to what is the most dynamic 3-Series ever built and striking looks, it’s clear that the new car will likely continue to sell as well as all of its predecessors and keep the power of 3 alive.
SA Pricing & Warranty
320d Std Model – R649,000
320d Sport Line Launch Edition – R664,000
320d Sport Line Model – R672,600
320d M Sport Launch Edition – R684,000
320d M Sport – R696,400
330i Std Model – R649,000
330i Sport Line Launch Edition – R664,000
330i Sport Line Model – R672,600
330i M Sport Launch Edition – R684,000
330i M Sport – R694,400
The new 3-Series is sold with BMW’s 5-year/100 000 km maintenance plan and roadside assistance.