BMW 3 Series review

Check out our first look at the all-new BMW 3 Series from the launch in Munich Germany.
Comprehensive suite of updates for the 3 Series but is it enough to fend off competition from rivals?
Pros: Class-leading handling, updated digital cabin, hybrid option.
Cons: Hybrids compromise some boot space.
The BMW 3 Series is an icon of the BMW range with over 16 million sold to date in its 45-year history. The G20 3 Series arrived in Ireland in 2019 and now gets a comprehensive suite of updates to keep it competitive in the compact executive class against rivals such as the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Audi A4. Subtle updates to styling and the addition of some new colours enhance the handsome 3 Series, but the most welcome changes take place in the cabin. 
BMW 3 Series Design 
The latest 3 Series is now offered in just Sport and M Sport trim lines. All versions feature some subtle refining of the 3 Series’ classic good looks. At the front, the BMW kidney grille has been redesigned but many will rejoice that it hasn’t grown in size like some other new BMW models. It simply features new double bars that have some chrome detailing on M Sport models.
Standard full-LED headlights now have smoother edges and feature new inverted L shaped daytime running lights. Adaptive LED headlights are available as an option and feature blue accents inside their covers. Boomerang-shaped air intakes at each side of the front bumper add more sporty definition, while the large central intake in M Sport models has a new honeycomb pattern. At the back there is a more pronounced rear apron emphasising the 3 Series’ purposeful stance.
Sport models come as standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, M Sport get 18-inch, while top of the range BMW Performance models come with 19-inch alloy wheels and 20-inch are available through BMW M Performance Parts. The M Sport Pro Pack for M Sport models adds a black kidney grille surround, black chrome tailpipes, red brake callipers with M logo, and a black M rear spoiler for the saloon models. New colours include Skyscraper Grey, and M Brooklyn Grey - exclusive to the M Sport - as well as several ‘frozen’ metallic finishes from BMW Individual.
BMW 3 Series Interior
The interior of the latest 3 Series has been modernised with the addition of the company’s new curved display for the first time. Just like in the new iX and i4, a large digital driver display and central touch display come together to give a stunning widescreen effect. It uses the latest BMW operating system 8, and now responds better to voice commands. The new system creates a more minimalist cabin in the 3 Series with less buttons – even the ventilation controls are now accessed through the screen but it’s relatively easy to use.
The 3 Series cabin is well-appointed with soft touch materials emphasising the high-end feel. Other features include a new rocker switch for the gear selection. Gearshift paddles on the steering wheel are now also standard across the range.
Rear seat passengers can enjoy the new standard fit tri-zone climate control, though that large transmission tunnel makes the rear bench more comfortable for two rather than three. Opt for the 330e hybrid, and bootspace is reduced from 480 litres in the standard saloon to 375 litres. The 3 Series Touring offers a more practical boot with 500 litres of space (410 litres in the 330e hybrid estate).
BMW 3 Series Performance & Drive
There hasn’t been any major changes to the 3 Series engine line-up. It’s still offered with a choice of petrol, diesel, or plug-in hybrid engines, though the 318d entry level diesel is no longer on sale. All versions of the 3 Series now come with an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, and xDrive all-wheel drive is available across the range.
The 330e plug-in hybrid accounts for over 50% of 3 Series sale in Ireland and can be driven electric for up to about 60 kilometres. The main diesel option is now the long-standing 320d with 190hp from a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel. It offers some of the best economy figures of the range, while offering good refinement on the move. The top of the range BMW Performance models, the six-cylinder M340i (374hp) and M340d (340hp) offer stunning performance aided by a bespoke suspension, M Sport differential, sport transmission, rear-wheel drive focused xDrive, bespoke exhaust system, launch control and a sprint function.
But no matter which version you go for, the 3 Series offers class-leading handling, feeling sharp and more driver-focused on the road than rivals. M Sport models come with a sports suspension (except the 330e plug-in hybrid) and do ride a bit firmer than more comfort-biased rivals like the new C-Class.
BMW 3 Series Pricing
Pricing for the 2022 BMW 3 Series starts from €52,440 for the 330e hybrid and the 320i petrol. The 320d now starts from €54,130. The range topping, high performance M340d xDrive and M340i xDrive are available from €83,870 and €89,120 respectively.
Carzone Verdict
The BMW 3 Series remains one of the most engaging to drive compact premium saloons on the market matched by sporty good looks and a high-quality interior that never go out of fashion. The latest round of updates bring a much welcome digital update to the cabin with BMW’s impressive new curved display. The line-up has been streamlined but the well-placed 330e and 320d should remain high on the shortlist.
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