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New models - BMW - 3 Series

Tweaked BMW 3 Series pricing announced

Name game: BMW has switched up some of the variant names on its new 3 Series, which includes the return of the iconic 318i badge.

BMW changes model designation on refreshed 3 Series which arrives next month

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BMW logo9 Sep 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

BMW has announced pricing and details for its facelifted 3 Series range, which brings a change in model designation to some variants and the introduction of the company's fuel-saving three-cylinder petrol engine.

The mid-size range starts with the return of the 318i moniker and is available in sedan guise from $54,900 plus on-road costs, representing an $1100 price rise over the 316i which it replaces.

The 318i gives BMW an entry level variant that undercuts the price of some key competitors, including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class which kicks off from $60,900 for the C200, and the just-launched Jaguar XE that starts at $60,400.

Other rivals offer similar starting prices, including the soon to be replaced Audi A4 1.8 TFSI that starts from $55,500, the Lexus IS250 at $54,000 and the Infiniti Q50 from $50,900.

Under the bonnet of the 318i is the BMW Group's 1.5-litre three-cylinder Twin-Power turbo-petrol engine that sees service in the 2 Series Active Tourer and the Mini 3- and 5-door.

This marks the first time a three-pot engine has powered a 3 Series, and is the first time the engine has been used in a rear-wheel-drive BMW.

Despite having one less cylinder than the outgoing 316i, the 318i delivers identical power and torque figures of 100kW and 200Nm respectively, but improves its 0-100km/h sprint time by 0.1 seconds to 9.1s, while fuel economy drops from 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres to 5.4L/100km. CO2 emissions are rated at 126g/km.

The 318i arrives in dealerships in November, a month after the rest of the 3 Series range.

Next up is the 320i in sedan guise from $61,900 or Touring (wagon) body style from $65,300, representing a price increase of $400 apiece, while the sole diesel offering, the 320d sedan, carries over its $63,800 price tag from the outgoing model.

The 320i is powered by a 135kW/270Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol unit delivering a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.3 seconds for the sedan and 7.5s for the Touring, while fuel economy has dropped from 6.0L/100km to 5.8L/100km.

BMW has upped the power and torque for the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel by 5kW/20Nm to 140kW/400Nm, lifting the 0-100km/h time from 7.5s to 7.2s. Fuel use is also better, down from 4.6L/100 to 4.4L/100km and CO2 emissions have also dropped from 118 to 116g/km.

The 330i is also new to the range, and replaces the 328i which, according to BMW Group Australia, made up 40 per cent of all 3 Series sales in 2015 year-to-date sales.

Prices are $69,900 for the sedan and $73,300 for the Touring, which is a drop of $500 per variant compared with the model it replaces.

A new 2.0-litre TwinPower four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine powers the 330i and delivers a 5kW boost to 185kW while torque remains at 350Nm, improving the 0-100km/h time by 0.4s to 5.8s and improving fuel use and emissions by eight per cent, according to BMW.

Topping the regular 3 Series range – not including the wild $139,900 hi-po M3 sedan – is the new 340i, which replaces the 335i, and is offered in sedan guise only.

Priced from $89,900, the 340i is $3140 cheaper than the 335i and uses the same lightweight all-aluminium six-cylinder petrol engine from the M135i hot hatch, pumping out 240kW/450Nm – a 15kW/50Nm increase – for a blistering 5.1s 0-100km/h time, shaving 0.1s off the time of the 335i.

Fuel use is significantly improved in the 340i over the 335i, down from7.9L/100km to 6.8L/100km, while CO2 emissions are down to 259g/km.

Like all variants in the range, the 340i is matched with an eight speed automatic transmission, with a manual gearbox available as a no-cost option to those that prefer to change gear themselves.

There is no sign of the ActiveHybrid 3 mild hybrid variant which has been dropped, but the eDrive plug-in hybrid variant is expected to join the line-up next year.

In terms of standard gear, the 318i features a reversing camera, a surround-view 360-degree display, head-up display, lane-departure warning, Business navigation system, 'Sensatec' faux leather upholstery, a Driving Assistant system, the Sport Line bodykit, LED headlights, ConnectedDrive system, real-time traffic info and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Over and above this the 320i/d gains a sport auto transmission, a lights package, Adaptive M Suspension, DAB+ digital radio and electric front seat adjustment with memory function on the driver's side.

The 330i adds 19-inch alloy wheels, the Luxury Line, the Professional navigation system, leather upholstery and Comfort Access.

Unsurprisingly the 340i features the most generous standard features list, and it includes the M Sport Package, electric rear-window roller blinds, Harman/Kardon surround sound system, extended Bluetooth, Variable Sport Steering, heated front seats, adaptive LED headlights, LED fog-lights, park assist, internet access, high-beam assist, lumbar support and concierge services.

2015 BMW 3 Series pricing*
318i Sedan (a)$54,900
320i Sedan (a)$61,900
320d Sedan (a)$63,800
320i Touring (a)$65,300
330i Sedan (a)$69,900
330i Touring (a)$73,300
340i Sedan (a)$89,900

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