Entering its 40th year of production, the face-lifted BMW 3 Series has a revised look for 2016. The changes aren’t necessarily apparent at first glance, but BMW is hoping that they are significant enough to increase sales and better compete with the leader in this class, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Let’s take a look at what this new model has to offer.
The 2016 3 Series Sedan and Touring (wagon) Models maintain the selection of 3 Model Line packages; Luxury, Sport and M Sport, driven by a choice of 1 diesel or 4 petrol engines for the sedan and 2 petrol engines available for the Touring.
Exterior and Styling
If you don’t look closely enough, you might not be able to tell the 2016’s exterior apart from the 2015’s. The bumpers get a subtle redesign as do the rear lights and headlights – which also includes LED headlamps as standard across all variants. Everything else from the grille to the raised lines on the bonnet to the bold lines running from the side to the back remain unchanged.
Interior and Comfort
Inside, the 3 Series still has the same console and dash shape as well as the same broad steering wheel. A few things that have changed though are the; updated switches, aluminum trim, and plastics, which are now a bit softer. Depending on the model, you will again either get a 6.5″ or 8″ display with BMW’s user-friendly iDrive. Overall, the lighting and ergonomics are slightly improved compared to the outgoing model. Like the 2015, the seats are very supportive, and there is plenty of leg and headroom to fit 4 adults comfortably.
Under the Bonnet
The biggest changes to the 2016 are under the bonnet with a revision of the engines on offer. At the small end the 318d engine has been deleted from the Touring Model, while the Sedan enjoys an update of the 2 biggest engines. The 328i is replaced by the 330i – still a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder it produces a respectable 185kW and 350 Nm torque with 0-100km/h at 5.8 sec and only 5.8L/100km. The 335i has been replaced by the 340i – a 3.0 Litre 6 cylinder generating 240kW and a hefty 450Nm torque. Acceleration time and fuel consumption are both down on the new 340i. The new 0-100km time is only 5.1sec and with a very thrifty 6.8L/100km (that’s a 1.1L improvement on the 335i!) the LCT burden is also eased.
The 2 smaller petrol engines – 318i and 320i – offer 100 and 135 kW of power respectively, with the 320 diesel-engine model providing 140 kW of power. Acceleration times on these models are 9.1 and 7.3 seconds in the 0-100 Km/hr dash. The diesel model, of course, remains the most fuel-efficient of the bunch, consuming a mere 4.4 L /100 Km.
On the Road
There has been an upgrade to the suspension of the 3 series as well with ‘Adaptive M’ Suspension now standard across the range. The change has improved handling on the road, as it handles winding roads better and it offers a more comfortable ride overall. The steering system has been modified as well, making the car even more responsive.
As expected, the 3 series offers much in the way of safety. Advanced features include Head-up display, adaptive headlights, and a lane-change warning system. Active and passive safety features combine to give it a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
Value for the Money
The features you get with the 2016 3 Series make it a solid value. The MRLP pricing starts at $54,900 (before options and on-road-costs) topping out at $89,900 (before options and on-road-costs) for the 340i Sedan – which incidentally is $3,140 LESS than the 335i it replaces! You could certainly do much worse in terms of value with other cars in this price range.
The C-Class is still the leader in Australia, and it still offers a more refined interior and flashier exterior while staying on par with the BMW in other areas. We think that the 3 Series has made a significant step forward here though and could gain some ground relative to C-Class sales.
The new 3 Series offers a solid value with its improved suspension, steering, and engines. While some may not like that very little has changed with the overall design, BMW has made some major improvements to this lineup where it counts.