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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

No controversy as refreshed BMW 3 Series debuts

South African availability confirmed from the third quarter.

Four years after making its world debut at the Paris Motor Show, and after a slew of pre-production spy shots emerged on various online platforms, BMW officially revealed the facelift 3 Series overnight ahead of sales commencing in July.

The first Three to use the CLAR platform, which, at launch, resulted in a 55 kg weight reduction over the previous F10 generation, the internally designated G20 3 Series retains the same overall dimensions, but with a fresh look not inspired by the 4 Series, the new 7 Series or indeed the updated X7.

Externally, the easy-to-spot tweaks are restyled headlights with standard upside-down LEDs, a slightly bigger kidney grille complete with active grille shutters and an optional gloss black surround finish, a deeper lower air intake and new 17-inch alloy wheels.

facelift BMW 3 Series revealed
Rear facia changes are even slower and now appear closer to that of the 5 Series.

At the rear, the 5 Series inspired LED taillights are thinner, the bumper redesigned and the exhaust pipes, increased in size from 90 mm to 100 mm, relocated closer to the flanks of the bumper itself.

As before, buyers can specify the 3 Series with the M Sport package, the M Performance that boasts the option of 19-inch alloy wheels and the new M Sport Pro that combines the M Sport with the Shadowline package in addition to also receiving red painted M branded brake calipers.

ALSO READ: DRIVEN: All-new BMW 3 Series – sharper and smarter than ever

Rounding the exterior off are four new colours; Skyscraper Grey Metallic and Brooklyn Grey Metallic as part of the M Sport catalogue, and Frozen Pure Grey Metallic plus Frozen Tanzanite Blue Metallic from the BMW Individual range.

facelift BMW 3 Series revealed
Handsome 3 Series Touring will be limited to Europe.

Inside is where the biggest changes can be seen, namely the new Curved Display that debuted on the XM and became available on the 7 Series earlier this month.

Replacing the BMW Live Professional Cockpit, the setup combines the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with the new 14.9-inch iDrive infotainment system featuring the 8.0 operating system and 5G.

Along with new air vents, standard tri-zone climate control and an upgraded BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant system, the 3 Series takes leave of the gear lever as its place is now occupied by a toggle switch for the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox. The six-speed manual is therefore no longer available.

facelift BMW 3 Series revealed
Touring’s rear also channels that of the 5 Series.

On the safety and driver assistance teach front, all 3 Series derivatives are outfitted as standard with Autonomous Emergency Braking that incorporates Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, an upgraded camera system, Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning.

Optional is Adaptive Cruise Control, Heads-Up Display and the Driving Assistant Professional system that consists of Steering and Lane Control, Emergency Lane Assistant, Wrong-way Warning, Front Collision Braking, Park Assist and a surround-view camera system.

Upfront, the 3 Series’ engine options are unchanged with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance standard on the four-cylinder diesels and six-cylinder petrols.

facelift BMW 3 Series revealed
Curved Dash that debuted on the XM now comes standard on the 3 Series.

Globally, four petrol models are offered; the 318i that produces 115kW/250Nm, the 135kW/300Nm 320i and the 330i that makes 190kW/400Nm. All are powered by the familiar 2.0-litre turbo.

Capping the range off is the M340i xDrive, whose 3.0-litre straight-six turbo outputs 274kW/500Nm. As evident by its name, the range-topper is also the sole model to have the xDrive all-wheel-drive system from the onset.

Making-up the oil-burning 3 Series range are two 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre models; the former comprising the 318d that makes 110kW/320Nm and the 320d that delivers 140kW/400Nm. The latter consists of the twin-turbo 330d that punches out 210kW/650Nm and the M340d xDrive rated at 250kW/700Nm.

facelift BMW 3 Series revealed
Touring’s boot can take 500-litres, but increases to 1 510-litres with the rear seats down.

As for the hybrid models, both the 320e and 330e combine the four-cylinder petrol with an electric motor, which adds up to 50 kW and 83 kW respectively. Combined outputs are 150 kW and 215 kW.

Confirmed for South Africa from the third quarter of this year, the 3 Series will once again be offered only as a sedan with the Touring estate remaining a European model only.

While the current line-up, consisting of the 318i, 320i, 320d, 330i and M340i xDrive, are set to be carried over, expect a jump price from the current R732 286 starting sticker once sales begin.

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