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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

BMW updates 3 Series one last time as all-new model awaits

With a reported dual platform model arriving in 2025, the applied changes will see the 3 Series off.

UPDATE: BMW South Africa has announced that sales will kick-off from the fourth quarter of the year, with exact details and line-up specification to be made then.

With just over two years having passed since its original mid-life facelift reveal, BMW has afforded its now six-year old G20 generation 3 Series its second and likely final lifecycle refresh ahead of the all-new model’s expected debut in 2025.

New outside and underneath

Applicable once again to the sedan and Touring estate, the aesthetic tweaks are minor and largely focused on colours and alloy wheels, the former seeing the introduction of two new hues called Fire Red Metallic and Arctic Race Blue Metallic.

ALSO READ: No controversy as refreshed BMW 3 Series debuts

On the wheel front, Jet Black or bi-colour 19-inch double spoke items come standard on M Sport variants, while a bi-colour Y-spoke design, also 19-inches, debuts as an option without requiring the M Sport or M Sport Pro touches.

BMW debuts facelift 3 Series
As with the front, the rear has been left alone. Image: BMW

The standard wheel sizes are 17-inches or 18-inches on the plug-in hybrid models. New for the Touring is the standard fitting of an electric tailgate across all variants.

Underneath, BMW has retuned the steering and added the adaptive M suspension and M steering to the M Sport pack. The final revision is stiffer mounting points for the rear dampers.


Derived from the new 5 Series, the 3 Series’ new cabin aesthetic also takes a keen eye as the subtilty of the changes mirror those of the exterior.

BMW debuts facelift 3 Series
Biggest change inside is a new steering wheel and simplified climate control panel. Image: BMW

Still equipped with the Curved Display, which in the case of the infotainment system benefits from the 8.5 operating system, a new steering wheel features, along with an augmented reality Head-Up Display as an option, plus the standard inclusion of tri-zone climate control on a simplified digital display.

An expanded selection of ambient lighting colours rounds the interior off, together with upgraded materials comprising a new Performtex textile as an alternative to the Vernasca leather on the M Sport and M Sport Pro.

Petrol diesel or PHEV, no more manual

Providing motivation, the 3 Series carries over the existing range of four and six-cylinder engines, all with mild-hybrid assistance, and paired to the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox now that the six-speed has been dropped entirely.

On the petrol side, the 318i starts the range off with outputs of 115kW/250Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo unit, while in the step-up 320i, the same mill cranks out 135kW/300Nm.

Again the flagship four-cylinder petrol variant, the 330i pushes out 180kW/400Nm, delivered to all four wheels through the xDrive all-wheel-drive system which can be had as an option on the 320i.

Updated BMW 3 Series revealed
Sleek Touring will again remain bespoke to Europe. Image: BMW

Also with the xDrive system, the M Performance tuned M340i sits atop the 3 Series range with outputs of 275kW/500Nm from its B58 3.0-litre straight-six. The claimed top speed is 250 km/h with 0-100 km/h taking 4.4 seconds.

As with the petrol offerings, the diesel 3 Series range comprises four models with an even split of 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder models.

Making-up the former, the oil-burner produces 110kW/320Nm in the 318d and 140kW/400Nm in the 320d, while the latter develops 210kW/650Nm in the 330d and 250kW/700Nm in the M Performance M340d.

Updated BMW 3 Series revealed
Fire Red Metallic joins as the only other exterior change. Image: BMW

Similar to the petrol’s structure, xDrive all-wheel-drive can be had as an option on the 320d, but from the get-go on the 330d and M340d – the latter getting from 0-100 km/h in five seconds before topping-out at 250 km/h.

As an alternative to the diesel, the plug-in hybrid consists solely of the 330e as the entry-level 320e has been dropped.

Utilising the petrol four-cylinder from the 318i, 320i and 330i, the 330e adds a 19.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to the mix that produces 80kW/265Nm on its own.

Combined, the set-up makes 215kW/420Nm and allows for a maximum all-electric range of 101 km, which drops to 96 km when fitted with the xDrive system.

South Africa awaits

Confirmed for market unveiling in Europe from July with other markets set to follow, BMW South Africa has so far not confirmed the facelift 3 Series’ arrival.

However, expect an announcement soon approving only the sedan and most likely in 320i, 320d, 330i and M340i forms as is current.

NOW READ: Next BMW 3 Series coming in 2025 on two different platforms

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