BMW doesn’t take chances when it comes to designing an all-new 3-Series.
For the sixth generation of its iconic compact sports sedan, the Bavarian company opted, as is its wont, for a conservative approach: Evolutionary restyling; improved engine performance and economy; a modest increase in dimensions inside and out; and a more luxurious, redesigned interior.
All these things taken together simply mean that the 3-Series will undoubtedly retain its crown as the undisputed champ of the compact sport-sedan class.
BMW’s designers stretched the 3 by about four inches but reduced front and rear overhang, resulting in a welcome increase in interior space.
And while they were at it, they drafted an all-new cabin with handsome shapes, exquisite materials and detailing and generally excellent ergonomics. Nothing over the top – just top-notch execution with typically impeccable fit and finish.
On the performance front, there is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine in the 328i, while our 335i tester came with BMW’s fantastic twin-turbo inline six. This engine delivers virtual performance perfection, with 300 eager horsepower paired with 300 pound-feet of torque. It happily sings in a sweet, keening tenor right up to redline, while the turbo-induced thrust increases as the revs rise.
All this power, and still 30 mpg on the highway. Sweet.
Our tester had a six-speed manual transmission that swapped cogs with uncanny precision, once the clutch’s long pedal action was mastered.
Over the road, there has been a subtle shift in the 3-Series’ attitude. Steering (now electronic) is ever-so-slightly less communicative, while the ride and handling are just a bit softer. It’s a trade-off for a more luxurious-leaning approach, but most won’t notice and might even appreciate the newfound ambience.
One thing that hasn’t changed in the redesign is the car’s vault-like build quality. BMWs don’t come cheap, but the new 3-Series is proof of the truth of the old adage that you get what you pay for.