The BMW 3 Series has been updated inside and out, a little over three years since arriving in dealerships, in a bid to fend off the newer Mercedes C-Class.
Accounting for a huge 14% of BMW’s global sales, the crucial G20-generation 3 Series will remain on sale in this fresh-faced guise until around 2025, when the firm is expected to usher in a similarly positioned EV saloon as the first model atop its radical new Neue Klasse architecture.
For now, the 3 Series is largely mechanically unaltered, continuing with a choice of pure petrol, diesel (now with 48V mild-hybrid functionality) and petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrains, ranging in outputs from 182bhp in the entry 320i to 369bhp in the warmed-up M340i, and with the option of four-wheel drive. The previous entry-level models, the 318i and 318d, are no longer listed. Prices now range from £37,805 to £54,805.
The facelifted 3 Series saloon and Touring estate are obviously marked out from pre-facelift cars by a new-look front end, which hosts slimmer LED headlights with an L-shaped DRL signature, a resculpted grille and gloss black brake cooling vents.
At the rear, reshaped bumpers and colour-coded trim elements aim to give what BMW calls a “particularly sophisticated” look.
The M Sport cars are more overtly distinguished by a distinctive hexagonal lower air intake in the front bumper and a chunky diffuser at the rear. There's a choice of new M-Performance exterior upgrade options, too, including a carbonfibre rear diffuser, bespoke wheel designs of up to 20in in diameter and, for the saloon, a large rear spoiler.
The 3 Series is also the latest model to get the new-look curved instrument panel that first appeared on the iX EV, hosting a 12.3in digital gauge cluster and a 14.9in infotainment screen with the firm’s latest, eighth-generation iDrive interface.
The new infotainment platform brings heavily upgraded functionality, ushering in wireless smartphone mirroring, advanced real-time mapping, parking space locator, voice control for key functions and the capacity for over-the-air upgrades and updates.
As part of a wider cabin overhaul, the central air vents have been slimmed down, there are new touch-sensitive buttons on the centre console and the shifter for the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox has been redesigned, while shifter paddles behind the steering wheel are now standard across the line-up.