Just how close to per­fect can BMW get with the new 3-se­ries?

Seven gen­er­a­tions in, BMW has in­ally cre­ated the irst per­fect 3-se­ries. In fact, af­ter a sneak irst drive, we sus­pect it might be too good…

CAR (UK) - - Contents - Words James Tay­lor | Pho­tog­ra­phy John Wycher­ley

ON THE FACE of it, it’s just a com­pact saloon. And tra­di­tion­ally a pretty ex­pen­sive one at that. But, by dust­ing its prac­ti­cal­ity with a lit­tle race-bred rear-wheel-drive dy­namic magic, BMW’s 3-se­ries has al­ways added up to more than the sum of its parts. Prac­ti­cal yet perky, ver­sa­tile but keen to over­steer, the 3’s been mak­ing late-night air­port runs and early morn­ing com­mutes fun since 1975. And now, to see off Alfa’s Gi­u­lia, a re­cently re­vised MercedesBenz C-Class and an un­likely chal­lenge from those plucky Swedes, the all-new G20 3-se­ries is here. There are no car­ry­over parts from the old car – this is a new-from-scratch 3-se­ries and, heart­en­ingly, it’s put be­ing great to drive right at the top of the to-do list. Sure, semi-au­tonomous driv­ing tech and smart in­fo­tain­ment in­ter­faces are present and cor­rect, but while the 3-se­ries is tech­ni­cally ca­pa­ble of be­ing driven by its own ECU, it’s more in­ter­ested in be­ing driven by you. With a smile on your face.

LIGHTS AC­TION The head­lamps’ strik­ing lower edges ref­er­ence the E46 3-se­ries, but it’s a new, an­gu­lar take on the theme. The mo­tif’s unique to the 3-se­ries and won’t be used on other up­com­ing BMWs. ROLLING ON 19s 17-inch wheels are stan­dard at most trim lev­els, with M Sport cars get­ting 18s. This car’s on the op­tional 19s – Œlashier 20s will also be an op­tion. LONGER, STRONGER Upcurved crease above the sill is a neat de­sign trick to vis­ually shorten the car. The new 3 has grown by 85mm in length, largely due to EuroNCAP’s de­mand for a longer front crashstruc­ture.

TRICK DIFFFor over­steer freaks, an elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled lim­it­ed­slip dier­en­tial will be an op­tion on pok­ier 330i and 330d mod­els, at a cost of around £2200.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.