The 3 Series has been the bread and butter version for BMW in India. Yes, there is the 1 Series as well, but that never generated enough volumes and nor did the X1. With the competition raising the bar, BMW has also opted to bring in a facelifted version of the 3 Series. The facelift, albeit a minor one, gives the car a refreshing look.
The first thing that any company changes in a facelift is the looks. So let’s start off with that. It takes a keen eye to spot the differences between the pre-facelift and the facelifted vehicle which you can see below.
The headlamps now extend all the way into the grill and there is a new LED element on the tail lamp cluster as well. BMW have also added the Msport kit as a variant on the 3 Series, which was only limited to the 5 Series previously.
The version we drove was the Msport, and well, we loved the way it looked. The M bumpers (front and rear) and the M alloys make the car look really awesome. It has a menacing look to it. The only thing we missed was the front parking sensors. Given how low the M kit makes the car and the fact that you will never want to scrape that beautiful bumper, front parking sensors would have really helped.
Changes on the inside are also limited in the normal trim lines. But in our Msport trim, it makes you feel extra special. Why? Well for starters the moment you sit in and get comfortable, you notice the M steering wheel with paddle shifteres. It not only looks great, but has a good amount of bolstering which gives you a really good feel. After that, you will notice the carbon fibre trim and the Alcantara elements through out the interiors.
It is the mixture of the CF and the Alcantara that makes you feel that you are sitting in a very high end vehicle. And not to mention the heads up display which shows you the speed, navigation and other details in your line of sight so that you don’t have to look down. At night, you will notice that the car comes with 2 colours for the ambient lighting, orange and white. When you open the door, the //M puddle lamp, though a gimick, looks really cool.
In the equipment front, except for the missing front parking sensors and the rear camera, the 3 Series comes with quiet a lot of tech, even on the lower spec variants. All variants get the iDrive system (with varying screen size), bluetooth, all safety features and rear parking sensors.
It is under underneath however that most of the changes have been done though. The car features an all new 2.0 liter engine unit which made its debut on the X3 in 2014. The engine produces 190 Bhp and 400 Nm. This engine also features the TwinPower turbo technology which provides good power delivery throughout the revv range. The engine has been made quieter at idle, but as speeds increase, the engine gets audible and feels a little harsh. Unlike the normal 3 Series, the Msport gets the sports variant of the 8 speed gearbox. Shifts are seamless. They have worked on the sports mode and now, even while driving at slower speeds on sports mode, the car doesn’t feel jerky which is a good thing. There is a good amount of power available and its delivery is more in a linear manner.
Let’s head over to the ride and handling now. BMWs were always setup on the stiffer side to maintain the sharp driving characteristics. This one has been softened up a little though. On top of that, if you are driving on comfort mode, the steering is very light at low speeds as well. Yes, it does weight up well at speeds thankfully. Shift it into sport mode and the steering becomes heavier at all speeds. Sport mode has the option of changing either engine, chassis or both to sport mode. In sports mode, the throttle response improves, the steering becomes heavier and this is the mode you want to be in if you want a spirited drive. There is an Ecopro mode as well if you you decide you want to save some money. We did a few back to back runs to test it out and it does return a better fuel economy than the other modes.
Were we impressed? In the Msport trim, the 3 Series makes you feel very special and that’s the thing that appealed to us most. As enthusiasts, we appreciate the small things a company does to make the passengers feel special and this one is really good at doing that.
So how much will it cost to buy? There are 4 variants on offer. Model wise pricing:
Prestige: Rs 36.90 lakhs, Sport line: Rs 42.70 lakhs, Luxury line: Rs 42.70 lakhs, M Sport: Rs 45.90 lakhs.
How does the new 3 Series LCI vary from the older one? These pictures shall tell you. *The older Sport version is running larger rims and tyres and hence the extra ride height.
For more images: