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BMW expands 3 Series range with 320i, 330e and M340i

New entry-level, plug-in hybrid and performance BMW 3 Series to land before Q4, 2019

BMW logo17 Jun 2019

BMW Australia has lowered the price of entry to its new-generation 3 Series range with the introduction of the $64,900 before on-road costs 320i, while also bolstering the mid-size sedan line-up with the $75,900 330e plug-in hybrid and the top-shelf $99,900 M340i xDrive.

Available from September, the three new 3 Series variants join the existing 140kW/400Nm twin-turbo-diesel 320d and 190kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol 330i that launched in March priced at $67,900 and $70,900 respectively.

The new base 3 Series meanwhile, employs a 135kW/300Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission for a zero to 100km/h sprint in 7.2 seconds – 0.1s faster than its predecessor, but also $1500 more expensive.

Mirroring its 320d sibling in equipment, the 320i is fitted with a 18-inch wheels, 12.3-inch digital instrument display, 10.25-inch infotainment system with BMW’s latest operating system 7.0, wireless smartphone charging, adaptive LED headlights and a 12-month subscription to Apple CarPlay, as well as M goodies including sport suspension, leather steering wheel, sports seats and Alcantara/Sensatec upholstery.

Safety systems are also bolstered significantly when compared to its forebear, with the new 320i featuring lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, rear collision prevention, speed limit information, reversing camera, lateral parking aid and autonomous emergency braking.

As for the electrified 330e, pricing steps up $5000 in new generation form, while its 185kW/420Nm outputs remain static and the 0-100km/h sprint is now 0.2s quicker at 5.9s.

The lithium-ion battery pack now measures 10.3kWh, up from 7.6kWh, which enables an emissions-free driving range of up to 60km, an increase of 50 per cent compared to the outgoing 330e.

Recharging takes around 2.5 hours, while the new 330e is also equipped with an ‘XtraBoost’ feature that delivers an additional 30kW of power temporarily under full throttle and with Sport mode engaged.

Matching the 330i in specifications, the 330e comes standard with adaptive M suspension, 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, surround-view monitor and M sport brakes.

Finally, the new flagship 3 Series – at least until the next-generation M3 is uncovered – will be the M340i xDrive, which can be propelled from 0-100km/h in a Z4 M40i-matching 4.4s thanks to its 285kW/500Nm 3.0-litre turbo-petrol inline six and all-wheel-drive grip.

Outputs are up over its rear-drive-only 340i predecessor’s 240kW/450Nm figures, but pricing has also crept up $8700 in new-generation form.

Compared to its German rivals, the BMW M340i sits between the 260kW/500Nm Audi S4 ($99,240) and 287kW/520Nm Mercedes-AMG C43 ($108,600) in price and performance.

BMW says throttle response is sharpened, while the eight-speed automatic transmission’s lower ratios have been shortened – both aiding in acceleration.

For the most consistent times however, the M340i also features a Launch Control function.

Specific to the M340i is bespoke adaptive M suspension, sport differential and uprated brakes, while body rigidity and a lower centre of gravity also adds to the sporting flavour.

Outside, the M340i is easily distinguished by Cerium Grey touches on the front kidney grille, tailpipe surrounds and badging, as well as the redesigned front bumper, side skirts and subtle boot spoiler.

Other equipment standard on the M340i includes an automatic tailgate, heated front seats with lumbar support, laser headlights and 16-speaker Harmon/Kardon sound system.

Though BMW launched its seventh-generation 3 Series earlier in 2019, sales year-to-date are still 14.0 per cent down to 1040 units, placing the Bavarian mid-sizer behind just the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2886) in the over-$60,000 medium-car segment.

However, the three new variants, as well as the new Touring wagon body style due before year’s end, is expected to give BMW’s mid-sizer sales a shot in the arm.

 

2019 BMW 3 Series pricing*

320i (a) $64,900
320d (a) $67,900
330i (a) $70,900
330e (a) $75,900
M340i (a) $99,900

*Excludes on-road costs


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