Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 31 Oct 2019
The BMW 3-Series has long been considered by many as the most dynamic vehicle within its segment. This latest-generation is now larger, more advanced and more angular than ever before, but is it still at the forefront within luxury dynamic sedan segment, we spent some time driving it to find out.
- Price: R672 600 (Oct 2019, without options)
- Engine: 2.0-litre inline-4 turbopetrol
- Gearbox: 8-speed automatic
- Fuel economy: 6.4 L/100 km (claimed)
- Power/Torque: 190 kW/400 Nm
While style is always something in the eye of the beholder, I think you’ll agree, the new 3-Series looks very good.
The exterior of the new G20 3-series is a tasteful blend of angular sharp lines and edges, its wheelbase is longer than that of its (F30) predecessor (by 41 mm), its front and rear tracks are wider (by 43 mm and 21 mm respectively), kerb weight is lower (as is its centre of gravity), and to top things off, its body structure is 50% stiffer than before. The result is perfect weight distribution and a true drivers car.
The latest-generation 3-series is all about offering a wide variety of choice, however, you will more than likely find that most buyers will either opt for Sport Line (R23 600*) or M Sport (R47 400*) variations of the model.
The very spicy M340i has just made its appearance at the 2019 BMW M Festival which was held recently at Kyalami Raceway. Its clear with the further focussed style of the new 3-Series comes some impressive performance with the 330i offering peak outputs of 190 kW and 400 Nm produced between 1 550 and 4 400 r/min range. BMW’s latest 2.0-litre turbopetrol 4-cylinder motor may seem small when compared to some predecessor 330i’s which featured straight-six engines, however, advanced tuning allows for the vehicle to offer-up more than sufficient power, while remaining fuel economic all at the same time.
With a claimed average consumption of 6.4 L/100 km, we feel the 330i Sport Line offers very good economy. While the soundtrack it produces is somewhat subdued, owing to some audio enhancements, the vehicle makes a pleasant athletic sound when driven in sports settings.
The Smart Stuff
Apart from a vastly improved, and premium-feeling interior. Minimalist surfaces now comprise large screens and simply epic mood lighting. The big one also comes with inclusion of BMW Connected Drive Services 7.0 and its many modern features.
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.
The 330i Sport Line is listed at R672 600 (Oct 2019*), the evaluation unit had a recommended (by BMW) retail price of R815 215.51 (including CO2 tax, optional extras included). A 5-year/100 000 km maintenance plan and 2-year/unlimited mileage warranty are standard