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BMW 3 Series

The independent definitive BMW 3 Series video review
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    BREAKING 3 (some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    The BMW 3 Series gets wide-ranging improvements in seventh generation form. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 65

    The BMW 3 Series has ruled the compact part of the mid-sized executive segment for more than forty years and the company's hopes are high for this seventh generation version. It's smarter, slightly larger, more efficient and considerably high-tech. All the things you'd expect really. Something else you'd expect from this model is rear wheel drive handling purity. It doesn't disappoint in that regard either.

    Backgroundword count: 129

    The BMW 3 Series Saloon has had an unparalleled reputation both for its quality, and supreme handling in the premium midsize segment for more than 40 years and this, the seventh generation, raises the bar even higher. When the first BMW 3 Series was launched in 1975, it revolutionised the segment and became the Munich maker's most successful car. Since then, over 15 million 3 Series models have been sold globally and this contender is regarded as the heartbeat of the brand. With revised styling, improved driving dynamics, better efficiency and innovative features, this seventh generation model aims to continue that success story. A stiffer more sophisticated platform with revised suspension, plus stronger safety standards, a more up-market cabin and wider-reaching media connectivity will all help in that regard.

    Driving Experienceword count: 309

    It's still rear wheel drive of course - though xDrive 4WD is, as before, as option. Upgraded four-cylinder engines from BMW's Efficient Dynamics family are used across the powerplant range, which kicks off with the 156hp 318i and 184hp 320i. The 320i's same 2.0-litre engine's also used in the 330e plug-in hybrid model. The other mainstream petrol engine available is the 258hp unit in the 330i. If you want six cylinders, you'll need the 374hp engine of the rare M340i. At the top of the range, the road burning M3 Competition saloon also has a 3.0-litre twin turbo six cylinder petrol engine, this one developing 503hp. Diesel drivers can start their perusals with the 150hp 318d, before going on to consider the 190hp 320d derivative that most choose. This mid-range diesel model generates 400Nm of torque which enables a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.1s (or just 6.8s for the auto). Next in the diesel line-up is the 265hp 330d and at the top of the diesel range is the 347hp M340d. The brand's xDrive 4WD system is optional on the 320i, the 320d and the 330d. And you have to have it on the M340i and the M340d. A new generation six-speed manual gearbox is available - though only on the base 318d diesel variant. Otherwise, your 3 Series will come with eight-speed Steptronic auto transmission. The handling promises to be even sharper thanks to a wider track, and a chassis that's up to 50% stiffer in some areas and which features special lift-related dampers. A 55kg weight reduction this time round also helps. Adaptive M suspension can be specified on 'M Sport' models. And 330i and 330d buyers will be offered an optional M Sport differential for the rear axle which helps to enhance traction, agility and cornering. This is standard on the M340i ad the M3 Competition.

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    Statistics (subset of data only)



    0-62mph (secs):

    5.8 (330i Saloon 2.0 M Sport Auto)

    7.1 (320d Saloon 2.0 M Sport)

    Braked Tow Weight (kg):

    1600 (320d Saloon 2.0 M Sport)

    CO2 (g/km):

    109 (318d Saloon 2.0 SE Auto)

    142 (330d Touring 3.0 xDrive M Sport Auto)


    4 (318d Saloon 2.0 M Sport)

    6 (330d Saloon 3.0 M Sport Auto)

    Driven Wheels:

    4 (320d Saloon 2.0 xDrive M Sport Auto)


    6 (318d Saloon 2.0 M Sport)

    Engine Power (bhp):

    150 (318d Saloon 2.0 M Sport)

    265 (330d Saloon 3.0 M Sport Auto)

    Engine Power (ps):

    152.09 (318d Saloon 2.0 M Sport)

    268.68 (330d Saloon 3.0 M Sport Auto)

    Engine Size (cc):

    1995 (318d Saloon 2.0 M Sport)

    2993 (330d Saloon 3.0 M Sport Auto)

    ... and 19 other stats available

    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates

    Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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