1 Sep 1998
By CHRIS HARRIS
With fierce rivalry from Audi’s A4 and the Mercedes C-class, BMW raised the stakes in refinement and presentation with the bigger E46 model.
Space, safety and handling also improved. The 87kW 318i opened the range, followed by the 323i and 328i sedans and – from June ’99 – coupes.
But the latter two were short-lived, usurped by the 320i moniker (actually a 2.2L 110kW “6”), 141kW 325i and 171kW 330i models, in sedan, coupe and all-new convertible forms, from late 2000.
However some quarters complained that BMW had “softened up” the 3 Series, so some sharpening of steering, dynamics and styling lay just around the corner.