BMW has unveiled its new 3 series at the Paris Motor Show.
The car features a similar design to past models, but is 85 millimetres longer than its predecessor (at 4,709mm), 16 millimetres wider (1,827mm) and just 1 mm taller (1,442 millimetres).
At the front, the large BMW kidney grille elements are framed by a single surround and split up by wide bars and link to the headlight units.
The customary BMW twin headlights feature the familiar two-way split that is further emphasised by a notch in the front apron that rises into the headlight contour.
From launch, customers can choose from two non-metallic colours and ten metallic shades including the brand new Portimao Blue metallic which is unique to the top-selling M Sport model.
BMW said that the interior is designed to accentuate the spaciousness of the cabin and the driver-focused cockpit.
The instrument panel has a modern, light look with horizontal lines, high-quality electroplated trim strips and contours that extend into the doors.
The start/stop button for the engine is now positioned in a control panel in the centre console that houses the gearshift lever or newly designed selector lever, the iDrive controller, electromechanical parking brake and the buttons for the driving experience control switch unit.
The range of standard and optional interior trim elements available for the instrument panel and centre console is almost entirely new. As well as open-pore fine wood options, customers can choose from a variety of aluminium trims including a new ‘mesh effect’ interior trim.
The entry-level SE model now also features substantially increased technical specifications as standard.
It includes extended LED headlights with cornering light and eyebrow indicators, interior ambient lighting with up to 11 colour settings, reversing camera and the latest generation reversing assistant, electric folding rear view mirrors, three-zone air conditioning, and enhanced acoustic glazing.
All 3 series models benefit from 40:20:40 split folding rear seats and folding rear headrests as standard. The entry model features a leather sport steering wheel and BMW Live Cockpit plus, with its 8.8-inch central instrument cluster.
To set itself apart, the new 3 series also incorporates features like eradicating the car key, reports
According to Bloomberg the new 3 series aims to do away with the need for a car key. Drivers use their smartphone instead to unlock the vehicle and start it, by placing the phone in a wireless charging tray.
Once underway, the car can automatically keep a set distance from the car in front and it helps drivers stick to a lane in tight roadwork channels. In stop-and-go traffic, it can restart from a standstill on its own.
The car will also be able to auto-reverse as far as 50 meters, helpful in confined spaces, by backtracking its exact path after recording steering movements.
The SE models get line-specific front and rear bumper design, and they also come with exclusive 17-inch light-alloy wheels (or optional 18-inch wheels), bespoke door sill strips and LED front foglights.
The upgraded four-cylinder engines from the BMW Group’s Efficient Dynamics family are used in the BMW 330i and the BMW 320d.
The new 3 series saloon will also feature a new-generation six-speed manual gearbox and the eight-speed steptronic transmission.
As an alternative to rear-wheel drive, the BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system will also be available for the new BMW 320d at launch.
Systematic upgrades have been made to the BMW TwinPower Turbo technology for the two-litre, four-cylinder diesel engines in the BMW 320d and BMW 320d xDrive models.
It now includes multi-stage turbocharging, which brings increased efficiency across all engine speeds.
The revised diesel has a maximum output of 190hp and a peak torque of 400Nm enabling the BMW 320d to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 7.1 seconds (automatic: 6.8 seconds) while the BMW 320d xDrive can get from zero to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds.
BMW has confirmed to Cars.co.za that the new 3-series line will available in South Africa in 2019, with full pricing and specifications available at a later date.