Here it is, the new BMW 3 Series facelift. First previewed by the i3 in March this year, the seventh-generation G20 LCI (Life Cycle Impulse if you prefer BMW speak) receives a series of updates to ensure it remains competitive against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class as well as the Audi A4.
Starting with the exterior updates, the latest 3 Series’ standard full-LED headlamps are now slimmer and recontoured, so they no longer have a “claw-like” design like before. To match, the daytime running lights, which double as turn indicators, also gain a new inverted L-shaped signature. Adaptive LED headlamps are available as an option, identified by the blue strips around the DRL elements and on the upper edge of each cluster.
If you’re concerned about the size of the 3er’s snout, don’t worry. BMW hasn’t made the kidney grille significantly larger, but it has been reshaped to be slightly to be more octagonal and there are even double bars with chrome accents for “a more powerful look,” the German carmaker says.
What has gotten bigger is the central intake in the lower apron, which is hexagonal in shape and joined by sharp creases leading into L-shaped sections at the corners of the new bumper. These integrate the front parking sensors as well as air intakes in high-gloss black that help to cool the brakes.
As for the rear, there’s now a large, diffuser-like element that connects to the vertical reflectors at the sides. This entire bottom section is finished in black for contrast and there are still circular exhaust finishers that measure 90 mm or 100 mm depending on engine variant. The taillights remain unchanged and keep their inverted L-shaped light signature as before.
It should be noted that this look is what you’ll get if you specify the M Sport package, which also includes other things like variable sport steering and 18-inch M light-alloy wheels with staggered tyre sizes. The package also contains M Sport suspension (not available for the plug-in hybrid powertrains), with adaptive M suspension available as an option.
On BMW Performance M340i xDrive variants, the grille gets a specific mesh-design insert, trapezoidal-shaped exhaust finishers, an M rear spoiler and a new addition – M exterior mirror caps in high-gloss black. BMW also offers the M Sport package Pro as an extension of the standard package that adds a lot of black accents to the exterior and, M Sport brakes with red calipers.
Without the M Sport package entirely, the design of the 3 Series is toned down with a central intake that is much smaller and flanked trapezoidal-shaped corner inlets at the front instead of previous T-shaped ones. Similarly, the rear of the base model loses its T-shaped elements in favour of simpler, horizontal reflectors and a creased bumper. The G20 LCI will be offered as a sedan and G21 Touring (wagon) when it is launched later in July this year.
Inside the new 3 Series, the biggest change is the adoption of the BMW Curved Display, also seen in the i4. This is standard across the range and features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster placed next to a 14.9-inch central touchscreen, both powered by BMW Operating System 8.
The system can now be found in other BMW models and comes with a wide range of connected services, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, 5G connectivity, personalised user profiles via BMW ID, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, over-the-air (OTA) updates and the ConnectedDrive Store for purchasing additional functions if needed.
To accommodate the Curved Display, the cabin underwent some slight renovations, starting with the centre air vents that are now slimmer in shape. The favourites row and the small display screen for the climate system found in the pre-facelift model are also gone in the interest of minimalism.
This approach sees the controls for the standard three-zone climate system be integrated into the largest touchscreen (also controllable via voice commands), although you still get a row of controls ahead of the centre console for basic media controls, the hazards and demisters.
The centre console itself doesn’t differ much from before, although the gear shift lever has been replaced with a toggle switch instead. As for everything else, it’s as you remember when the G20 made its first appearance back in 2018, right down to the design of the steering wheel.
In terms of safety and driver assistance systems, a new addition to the standard specification is Park Distance Control with four sensors at the front and rear of the car. Other standard fitments are Front Collision Warning with brake intervention (detects vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists), Speed Limit Display (with Manual Speed Limit Assist) and Lane Departure Warning with lane return.
Options aplenty too, including a head-up display and Driving Assistant for lane change warning, rear collision warning and rear crossing traffic warning. Step up to the Driving Assistant Professional suite and there’s Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Automatic Speed Limit Assist, Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection, Evasion Assistant, Crossroads Warning and Wrong-way Warning, front crossing traffic warning, Emergency Stop Assistant and Emergency Lane Assist.
To assist in parking, there’s the optional Parking Assistant with the Reversing Assist Camera, Lateral Parking Aid and the Active PDC (includes Reversing Assistant). Upgrade to the Parking Assistant Plus and BMW throws in Park View, Panorama View and 3D View functions, with the BMW Drive Recorder being a further option if you need a built-in recording camera.
Finally, powertrains. The new 3 Series comes with a range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid options to choose from, but let’s start with the first on the list. The base petrol engine is a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit found in the 318i, which is rated at 156 PS (154 hp) from 4,500-6,500 rpm and 250 Nm of torque from 1,300-4,300 rpm.
Next is the 320i that also uses a turbo four-pot but offers 184 PS (181 hp) from 5,000-6,500 rpm and 300 Nm from 1,350-4,000 rpm instead. The 320i can also be had with all-wheel drive, and the xDrive version gets the same outputs mentioned.
Moving up the ranks, we arrive at the 330i/330i xDrive, which also has four cylinders and a turbo, but makes a mightier 245 PS (241 hp) from 4,500-6,500 rpm and 400 Nm from 1,600-4,000 rpm. BMW says the three four-cylinder engines now come with an exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head as well as an upgraded turbocharger system for more effective exhaust gas cooling.
At the top of the petrol-only pack is the M Performance-branded M340i xDrive that swaps out the four banger for a 3.0 litre turbo straight-six making 374 PS (369 hp) from 5,500-6,500 rpm and 500 Nm from 1,900-5,000 rpm. The six-cylinder engine also comes with a 48-volt mild hybrid system that includes a starter-generator capable of providing a boost of 11 PS (11 hp or 8 kW) and helping out with brake energy regeneration and supplying the vehicle’s 12-volt electrical system.
The mild hybrid system is also applied to all the diesel engines available for the 3er, and this range starts with the 318d with a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel making 150 PS (148 hp) at 4,000 rpm and 320 Nm from 1,500-2,750 rpm.
Next is the 320d/320d xDrive with 190 PS (188 hp) at 4,000 rpm and 400 Nm from 1,750-2,500 rpm, while the 330d/330d xDrive moves up to a 3.0 litre straight-six turbodiesel for 286 PS (282 hp) at 4,000 rpm and 650 Nm from 1,500-2,500 rpm. King of the 3er’s diesel line-up is the M340d xDrive with a straight-six and 340 PS (335 hp) at 4,400 rpm and 700 Nm from 1,750-2,250 rpm on tap.
Yes, there are a lot of powertrains that can be specified for the 3er, and we’re not done just yet. There are no less than three plug-in hybrid options available, starting with the 320e that gains an electric motor rated at 109 PS (107 hp) and 265 Nm, which is integrated into the transmission. Working with a turbo-four that makes 163 PS (161 hp) from 5,000-6,000 rpm and 300 Nm from 1,350-3,700 rpm, the total system output comes to 204 PS (201 hp) and 350 Nm.
For more power, you’ll need the 330e/330e xDrive, which retains the same electric motor outputs, but is now paired to an engine with the same figures as the 320i for a drive system output of 292 PS (288 hp) and 420 Nm.
Every powertrain variant comes with an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission driving the rear wheels by default (save for those with xDrive), while the plug-in hybrids gain a 12-kWh lithium-ion battery under the rear seat to power the electric motor.
Said battery operates at 354 volts and will take 2.6 hours to get from a 0-80% state of charge with a 3.7 kW AC input. Fully charged, the battery will deliver a WLTP-rated electric range of between 54-62 km (320e and 330e) or 52-60 km (330e xDrive).
A summary of the performance figures – 0-100 km/h acceleration and top speed – are as follows:
- BMW 318i – 8.6 seconds; 223 km/h
- BMW 320i – 7.4 seconds; 235 km/h
- BMW 320i xDrive – 7.7 seconds; 230 km/h
- BMW 330i – 5.9 seconds; 250 km/h
- BMW 330i xDrive – 5.7 seconds; 250 km/h
- BMW M340i xDrive – 4.4 seconds; 250 km/h
- BMW 320e – 7.6 seconds; 225 km/h; 140 km/h (electric motor only)
- BMW 330e – 5.8 seconds; 230 km/h; 140 km/h (electric motor only)
- BMW 330e xDrive – 5.8 seconds; 230 km/h; 140 km/h (electric motor only)
- BMW 318d – 8.3 seconds; 218 km/h
- BMW 320d – 6.9 seconds; 235 km/h
- BMW 320d xDrive – 7.2 seconds; 228 km/h
- BMW 330d – 5.3 seconds; 250 km/h
- BMW 330d xDrive – 5 seconds; 250 km/h
- BMW M340d xDrive – 4.6 seconds; 250 km/h
The above powertrains and figures are for the sedan version of the 3 Series, while the forbidden fruit for us that is the Touring shares many of the same options, including the 318i, 320i, 330i, 330i xDrive, M340i xDrive, 320e, 330e, 330e xDrive, 318d, 320d, 320d xDrive, 330d, 330d xDrive and M340d xDrive. The wagon version does have one option that the sedan doesn’t, and that is the 320e xDrive that is essentially the sedan’s 320e but with all-wheel drive.
So, there you have it, the new 3 Series. What do you think of the changes that BMW has made to one of its core models, specifically regarding the design? Is the facelifted model better looking compared to what we currently have here? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
GALLERY: 2022 BMW 3 Series facelift (G20 LCI)
GALLERY: 2022 BMW 3 Series Sedan facelift (G20 LCI)
GALLERY: 2022 BMW 3 Series Touring facelift (G21 LCI)