Red let­ter day

The new 3 Se­ries is lighter, quicker and cooler — but will it be dearer?

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL GOVER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

MEL­BOURNE is the sur­prise star at the world pre­miere of the all-new-bmw3 Se­ries in Mu­nich.

As the sixth-gen­er­a­tion 3 Se­ries is re­vealed for the first time, a car painted in bright

‘‘ Mel­bourne Red’’ hogs the spot­light AT BMW head­quar­ters.

The hero colour is splashed on a 3 Se­ries with the lat­est Sports pack­age, part of a re­vamp of the world’s favourite BMW. It starts with a slip­pery new body with a drag co­ef­fi­cient of just 0.26 and con­tin­ues with an ef­fi­cient diesel with claimed econ­omy of just 4.1-litres/100km and cus­tomer-friendly Modern, Sport and Lux­ury equip­ment pack­ages.

The new car is also said to be 45kg lighter than the out­go­ing E90, though own­ers will pay a lit­tle more. Ru­mours in Ger­many sug­gest a 4 per cent rise across the board for a car that is in show­rooms in the first quar­ter of next year.

Nearly a third of bmw’s an­nual sales come from the 3 Se­ries line-up but, in Aus­tralia, it’s eas­ily out­sold by the Mercedes-benz C-class.

‘‘ The 3 Se­ries is the heart of the brand. It has been the longterm growth en­gine of BMW,’’ global head of bmw sales and mar­ket­ing Ian Robert­son tells

Cars­guide.

‘‘ It’s also been a pioneer. It starts with a good de­sign.’’

But the de­sign is, in some ways, a step back­ward. Af­ter the rad­i­cal ad­vances made by former de­sign chief Chris Ban­gle, the new 3 Se­ries is much closer in shape and style to the 7 Se­ries and 5 Se­ries. There was a time when BMWs looked like dif­fer­ent slices of the same sausage and that ap­proach is back to some de­gree, though the in­com­ing car has a more ad­ven­tur­ous face that links the head­lamps to the sig­na­ture kid­ney grilles.

The new­comer is def­i­nitely stylish and the pack­age ap­proach to equip­ment al­lows

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