BMW’S NEW 3-SERIES COMES WITH TECH ARRAY TO BATTLE MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS
BMW AG has packed its revamped 3-Series sedan with tech gadgetry like smartphone entry, auto-reverse and an incar assistant that learns drivers’ routines, aimed at delivering a crucial sales bump after growth slowed.
The best-selling model, unveiled at the recent Paris car show and available in March, demonstrates how manufacturers have moved away from luring customers with luxurious trimmings and engine choices. Carmakers battling in the mid-range premium segment that also includes the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 are not waiting for top-line models to offer advanced technologies.
“It’s a bellwether for how BMW is doing as a company,” IHS Markit analyst Tim Urquhart said.
“For the last 20 to 30 years, the BMW 3 series has been the aspirational vehicle of the young, upwardly mobile professional, and that is not going to change very soon.”
BMW, issuing its first profit warning in a decade last week, is working to reclaim the luxury sales lead from Mercedes-Benz by 2020, after its arch rival overtook the Munich-based company in 2016 with an expanded lineup of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and overhauled design. While sedans have lost ground to popular SUVs, the 3-Series remains BMW’s top-selling model.
While carmakers are starting to churn out electric vehicles, BMW will sit out offering the new 3-Series as a battery-only car. A plug-in hybrid ver- Mercedes-Benz holds on to the ‘premium crown’ since passing BMW in 2016 sion is due in summer with an electric driving range of 60km. BMW AG plans to release 12 electric vehicles by 2025, starting next year with the electric Mini.
To set itself apart, the new €39,950 (RM191,000) 3-Series incorporates features like eradicating the car key. Drivers use their smartphone instead to unlock the vehicle and start it, by placing the phone in a wireless charging tray. Once underway, the car can automatically keep a set distance from the car in front and it helps drivers stick to a lane in tight roadwork channels. In stop-and-go traffic, it can restart from a standstill on its own.
The car can auto-reverse as far as 50ms, helpful in confined spaces, by backtracking its exact path after recording steering movements.
“It represents the BMW brand like no other car,” said BMW development head Klaus Froehlich. “It is truly the heart and soul of BMW.”
The New BMW 3-Series sedans at the Paris Motor Show on October.
Source: Note: 2018 data is through August