Starters on the menu

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - CRAIG DUFF

A THREE-CYLIN­DER 3 Se­ries raises the price of en­try to BMW’s most pop­u­lar sedan.

The 3 Se­ries midlife up­date marks the launch of the 1.5-litre turbo as the range’s base en­gine.

The 318i starter car is $54,900, an in­crease of $1100 on the out­go­ing 316i. En­gine apart, the new ver­sion has a head-up dis­play, lane change alert, sur­round-view re­vers­ing cam­era, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, LED head­lamps, sat­nav with real-time traf­fic info and BMW’s Con­nected Drive tech.

BMW’s cus­tom­ary small sedan ri­vals are still dearer, with the Audi A4 start­ing at $55,500 and Mercedes-Benz’s en­try C-Class at $60,900, though both have more power.

As the spec­i­fi­ca­tion level rises, the prices for the facelifted 3 Se­ries de­crease rel­a­tive to the out­go­ing cars. The 340i, the re­place­ment for the loved 335i vari­ant, comes in more than $3000 cheaper at $89,900. Sim­i­larly the 330i is $500 cheaper than the out­go­ing 328i.

Des­ig­na­tions change to co­in­cide with the launch of a mod­u­lar en­gine fam­ily with stan­dard­ised 500cc cylin­der dis­place­ment. The 1.5-litre three-cylin­der gen­er­ates the same power as the cur­rent 1.6litre four-cylin­der turbo while us­ing just 5.4L/100km.

The 320 trio of petrolpow­ered sedan and wagon and diesel sedan en­hance stan­dard kit to in­clude power front seats, adap­tive sus­pen­sion, sports mode on the eight-speed auto and dig­i­tal ra­dio.

In 320i guise and with out­puts of 135kW/270Nm, the sedan is $61,900 and the wagon $65,300. In the sedan, the sprint from 0-100km/h takes 7.3secs, claimed fuel use is 5.8L/100km and the wagon’s re­spec­tive fig­ures are 7.5s and 5.9L.

At $63,800 the 320d is the sole diesel in the line-up, the carry-over en­gine now good for 140kW/400Nm and a claimed 4.4L/100km.

The out­go­ing 328i ac­counted for 40 per cent of sales and the new vol­ume seller, the 330i, starts at $69,900. Spec­i­fied with 19-inch wheels, leather uphol­stery and en­hanced sat­nav, it will take less than 6.0s for the sprint to 100km/h.

The head­line 340i stops the clock at 5.1 sec­onds, cour­tesy of a new 3.0-litre six-cylin­der turbo good for 240kW/450Nm. It is also loaded with the latest tech, in­clud­ing vari­able sports steer­ing, adap­tive LED head­lamps, ac­tive cruise con­trol, park­ing as­sist and in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity.

All 3 Se­ries will steer more pre­cisely and show less body roll, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing com­fort, thanks to re­turn­ing of stan­dard and adap­tive sus­pen­sion alike.

The facelifted 3 Se­ries will go on sale next month — but the 318i is due in Novem­ber.

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