BMW’s tag line was ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’, as the brand has always visioned making driver focused machines. The BMWs are more about the joy of driving, apart from the luxury that they offer. The 3 Series is the bread and butter sedan for the Munich-based automaker and it has launched the facelift version of this sedan very recently. We lay our hands on the 3 Series 2016 version and tell you if this is the sedan that you have been waiting to procure.
There isn’t a major change in the design of the new 3 Series. It is more or less the same to that of the 3 Series that was launched in 2012. The 3 Series facelift gets a new snout, with a revised styling for the front grille along with the headlamps now having extended LEDs and they intersect with the front grille. The fog lamps are majorly the same too, with a new front bumper. The side profile remains untouched on the 3 Series 2016.
This is a typical BMW silhouette that we have seen unchanged for years. This reminds us of the BMW design DNA that is all about performance and muscle. The rear styling is almost the same, as there is no major change at the rear. The facelift doesn’t look a lot different from its predecessor. Our press demonstrator came with the M kit, so it had different set of alloy wheels and a body kit.
The interiors of the 3 Series haven’t changed much. Despite the M body kit, it doesn’t get the sporty interiors. The 3 Series with M badging earlier came with sporty red and black interiors while this doesn’t get that. The new BMW steering wheel is sleek and good to grip. The instrument binnacle is similar to the previous 3. The centre console too remains unchanged. The rectangular AC vents with a large screen and then there are the controls for music system and air-con. The 3 Series comes with the same gear lever, which easy to push and pull back when using the optronic mode. There are paddle shifts too to use. The 3 now even gets the head-up display feature too on the M Sport variant, which wasn’t there earlier.
The 3 Series has spacious interiors and the front two seats can be adjusted electrically. The leather is of high quality, but it does feel very manly. This misses out the softness that other luxury cars offer. But that is how all BMWs have normally been. It is all about the enjoying the drive and better support. The rear seats too have sufficient space and support. There are AC vents at the back too. Our press demonstrator came with a spare wheel that ate some of our boot space. As BMW doesn’t offer even a space saver, there is no space in the boot for it.
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Engine and Transmission:
The 3 Series comes with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that produces about 190bhp of power and 400Nm of torque. This engine comes mated to an eight-speed self-shifting transmission. In terms of performance, this is the most powerful in the real world. There are other sedans that are more powerful than this on paper. The NVH of this engine is fairly low. Drive the 3 in the comfort mode and it cruises with comfort, the throttle response is good if you are not in hurry.
However, when you are, you need to shift to Sport mode and then the throttle response sharpens. One can comfortably cruise in a 3 for a lot of kilometres with ease. The engine is also highly fuel-efficient and we got an efficiency of about 13km/l, which is good for a vehicle of this size. The 3 Series even comes with the start-stop mode that is always switched on when start the vehicle. The Efficient Dynamics tag of the Bavarian car maker justifies its name.
What made BMW into a BMW has been the outright performance and agile handling. The BMWs did have a harsh ride back in the older days. However, with time the ride quality kept on improving. The new 3 Series 2016 offers good quality of ride. It is pliant as the suspension does soak up most of the road shocks. The handling too of the new 3 is good. We liked the manner in which it behaves around bends. This is what makes the 3 Series a special vehicle in its segment.
The 3 Series gets a new electronic power steering. This makes it light and easy to drive in the city. However, we sorely miss out on the heavy steering wheel in the hydraulic version. This is what we loved the most about BMWs. With the current one, you will need some getting used too.
BMW 3 Series 2016 Verdict:
The new 3 Series is a lot more feature loaded than before and the minor date in looks is what we have liked. We did wish to see a petrol motor being offered on the 3 Series, as all its competitors are offering one. This is still one of the best driver’s sedan to buy if you are looking to buy an entry-level luxury sedan.