2019 BMW 3 Series Roadtest Review – Pleasure & Joy Loaded

The BMW 3 Series is a very important and well known car model from the German car maker. BMW has been manufacturing the 3 Series right since 1975, and this model accounts for around 30% of the overall sales, making it the best selling model from the lineup. Currently in its 7th generation, BMW has launched the latest 3 Series in India and we get behind the wheel to find out if it is the best ever as claimed by the Munich based car maker.

Food for thought

The First generation 3 Series that was launched in 1975 was the successor to the 02 Series. The First gen 3 Series was only available as the 2 door and later the 4-door, 2-door convertible, 2-door coupe, 5-door station wagon and the 5 &3-door hatchback were introduced. The M version of the 3 Series first debuted in 1986. BMW has built around 14 million units of the 3 Series in 44 years, making it one of the best selling cars of all time. The latest generation of the 3 Series is also known as the G20, while the first generation was the E21. The latest BMW 3 Series is based on the BMW Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform that is shared with the 5 and 7 Series. The outgoing 3 Series is the F30. The latest generation 3 Series G20 was unveiled at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Lastly this is the most aerodynamic BMW 3 Series ever with a flat and covered underbody aiding in a reduced drag coefficient of 0.23 Cd from 0.26 Cd.

Exteriors

The latest generation 3 Series is longer, wider and taller in dimensions as compared to the outgoing model. The car stands at 4709mm in length (+76mm), 1827mm in width (+16mm) and 1442mm in height (+1mm). The car also has 41mm more of wheelbase (2851mm) over its predecessor. The center of gravity is 10mm lower, and the car is more aerodynamic than ever. This 3 Series is around 55kgs lighter than its predecessor. Boot space remains the same as the earlier model at 480 liters.

We drove the BMW 320d Luxury Line. At first glance you instantly notice the grown dimensions of the new 3 Series, giving it a much stronger and bolder road presence. The car feels more grown and a lot more athletic with loads of sportiness all around. The face sports a larger and stretched 3D Kidney grill with thick chrome surrounds and 16 vertical chrome slats. The all LED headlights are standard and come with a sporty slim cut design, and the corona rings make way for a new twin U design DRL in them. The front bumper sports an all new sharp design and houses the slim styled LED fog lamps, surrounded by T shape chrome inserts. The bumper also houses air intakes on both lower corners. The bonnet is low slung with strong character lines defining it. The side profile is typical BMW with slim long fenders, chrome belt around the glass area, neat character lines flowing back.

The trademark BMW Hofmeister kink is now integrated into the C pillar instead of the rear door frame. The rear profile is as striking as the front, with new 3D styled flushed tail lights. The boot lid neatly integrates with the tail lights in 3D pattern giving a sporty and very trendy rear end to the car.  The rear bumper houses slim styled reflectors flanked by the T shape insert and twin round exhausts on both ends. The BMW 3 Series drives on Bridgestone Turanza T005 with 225/50R17 spec tyres mounted on multi-spoke design silver sports alloys. The overall styling of the 3 Series looks very trendy and dynamic. The car oozes tons road presence and is a complete head turner.

Interiors

The New 3 Series has grown in size, and as a result the cabin gets loads of extra space, especially the rear seating. The cockpit is driver focused. The dashboard gets a very different styling as compared to older 3 Series. The black dash made of soft material comes with thick wood inserts, combined with metal inserts running horizontally, highlighting its premium appeal. The highlight of the new dash is an all new 8.8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with navigation and BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant. You also can opt for the optional 10.25 inch display size.  This system comes with all the connectivity features, FM Radio, mobile connectivity, voice command, USB, inbuilt user manual, which doubles up as the parking camera screen etc. You can control the infotainment system using touch inputs, i-Drive dial, or by voice commands on the latest generation BMW Operating 7.0 powered system.

The instrument cluster is a XXX inch LCD screen with angular design dials on it. This display looks extremely trendy and premium. Three areas on the instrument cluster LCD screen. On the left, all driving relevant info is displayed. In the centre area you can find navigation and route guidance as well as check control messages. The right area on this screen houses the rev counter as well as widgets. Using this screen is easy and intuitive. offer driver-oriented personal information It changes its display style as per the drive modes and is also customizable. The steering unit has a 3 spoke design with a good amount of metal inserts on it. The chunky-to-grip steering can be adjusted manually for height and reach, and comes with all the multi function control buttons placed on it. The gear shifter is also redesigned, consisting of metal and piano black elements.

The center console comes laid with the i-Drive dial and buttons for the drive mode, engine start/stop, shortcuts to media, home, navigation, electro mechanical parking brake etc. The Climate control is a three zone unit, with individual temperature setting for the front two and rear zones. Charging ports include 3 USB-C type and one USB port along with wireless mobile charging. Upholstery is all leather, while the front seats come with full electric adjust. You also get customizable ambient lighting that are LED inserts in the dash and door pads. The cabin is large and feels extremely spacious with loads of knee, head and shoulder room all around. The rear seating is very comfortable with extra leg room available, thanks to the longer wheelbase. The interiors feel plushly built using premium materials and are very well appointed.

Engine – Drive – Transmission

The New BMW 3 Series is available in two engine options. The Petrol gets its power from the 2.0-litre 4 cylinder motor with 258hp between 5000-6000rpm and 400Nm of torque, and the Diesel option powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder motor with 190hp 4000rpm and 400Nm of torque. Both the engines come mated with a 8-speed automatic transmission.

We drove the Diesel hearted 3 Series, this being the same Diesel engine, but the feel is totally different. BMW has worked on the engine which now comes with twin sequential turbo units. The cabin feels extremely sound proof and the engine feels silent. The engine is much more responsive and the car feels a lot more agile. The engine revs all the way up to the 5k rpm. BMW has used a new damping system on the New 3 which is highly impressive. The suspension system works brilliantly, though tuned to the stiffer side typically BMW style. The steering feels lively with good, stiff feedback. The drive mode can be set between Eco, Comfort and Sport, where the throttle response, gear shifts steering and suspension gets altered. This engine has loads of mid range power and does a dash to 100kmph in 6.8 seconds. The car has massive amount of grip at all speeds and feels much stiffer and fun to drive.

The 3 Series also has a unique party trick feature, Reverse Assistant that memorizes the steering movements made while driving forward at all times, provided the driving speed does not exceed 36 kmph. The car automatically stores steering movements for the last 50 meters driven, so that it can drive the car back the exact same way if it got into any sticky situation. When planning to use the system, all the driver has to do is press a button when the car is stationary, and put the car in reverse.

Once that is done, the car starts moving. All the driver has to do is control the throttle or brake, while the car handles the steering exactly how it remembers it, backing the car away on the exact same route it came in. The system does limit the speed at which the car can be driven backward this way to 9 kmph.

Verdict

With the New 3 Series, BMW has taken the game to the next level. The 3 Series looks excellent and is a complete head turner. In terms of size it is larger and feels very much like a mini 5 Series. The car comes loaded with all the latest tech, comfort, safety features and built, using premium quality materials making it feel a class higher. The car performs very nicely and is super fun to drive. Yes, we can easily say that this is the best 3 Series ever from BMW, and one of the best options to go for in its class.

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