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10:03 PM

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BMW updates its 3 Series

Rafay Ansar


What is it?

Obviously you know it's a BMW 3 Series from the pictures, but unless you really know your cars you'll be forgiven for not noticing that this is in fact a new model, officially a mid-life facelift of the best-selling 3 Series. The updates are modest, but extensive. On the outside, rear lights are the most obvious differentiator, though the headlamps are new too and they also utilise LED technology to give the car a distinctive appearance. Sharp sculpting on the bonnet combines with a more aggressive front bumper to give the 3 Series' face a sportier look. This is carried through to more distinctive profiling of the body sides and a new rear bumper.

Inside, the changes are even more subtle, adding up to new materials and colours, more use of chrome on the switchgear and modest updates to the controls and instruments themselves. The biggest news is the adoption of a completely revamped iDrive infotainment system. Its new graphics are very slick and though navigating through the menus still takes patience to learn it, the system is quicker witted than the previous effort and extra buttons make accessing common features faster than before. However, without iDrive fitted, the cockpit is quite plain, if very well put together.

Is it any good?

BMW hardly took one of the class leaders and made it worse than before, did they? The new 3 Series has been improved in most areas, and though gains are modest they count in a segment where the 3 Series is compared with other German prestige brands, as well as cheaper and better equipped alternatives such as Ford's Mondeo and the Honda Accord. Detail changes aside though, the 3 Series has always stood out as one of the best cars to drive of its size and BMW has improved on that too with a wider track aiding stability and cornering.

The massive line-up is largely unchanged, though the 330d receives a new six-cylinder engine putting out 241bhp and 384lb.ft, which sees it knocking on the door of the formidable 335d. The new 330d also returns about 50mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 152g/km is not at all bad when you realise that this version of the 3 Series hits 62mph in just 6.1 seconds and can top 155mph.

Should I call the bank manager?

You'll have to sit tight for the moment, as BMW has not actually released pricing information, though we doubt there'll be a significant increase over the outgoing car. Best to hang on though until you size up the value of some of the tempting new options. Along with the slick new iDrive system for instance is the optional BMW ConnectedDrive feature, which allows Internet access via the dash-mounted screen, though your bank manager may be pleased to hear that it only works while the car is stationary. He'd like to get his money back after all...


On the face of it, the 3 Series has received a modest collection of updates, but the combined effect is to ensure that it remains competitive and as desirable as ever. With sharpened up looks and dynamics, an enhanced interior, some choice new options and a superb new diesel powerplant we'd have to say that BMW has been successful.

1 Response to "BMW updates its 3 Series"
nd1361 said :
September 10, 2008 at 11:23 PM
this car as very colourful