2019 BMW 3 Series Preview
- Redesigned compact luxury sport sedan
- Debuts as the 330i and 330i xDrive
- Lineup expands with the 2020 M340i and M340i xDrive
- iPerformance and ePower versions to come
- Standard, Luxury Line, Sport Line, and M Sport Line trim packages
- Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in 330i models
- Turbocharged 6-cylinder engine in M340i models
- Standard 8-speed sport automatic transmission; no manual gearbox
- Larger inside and out, with bigger rear seat and trunk
- Numerous performance, safety, and technology upgrades
- On sale in winter of 2019, priced from $41,195
The BMW 3 Series is the German luxury automaker’s most popular—and most important—car. For 2019, it gets a complete redesign, the first since the 2012 model year. Highlights include improved driving dynamics, next-generation technologies, and enhanced comfort and quality.
When the new 2019 BMW 3 Series goes on sale in the winter of 2019, priced from $40,200 (not including a destination fee of $995), it will be available as a 330i and a 330i xDrive. In the spring of 2019, M340i and M340i xDrive variants arrive for the 2020 model year. BMW also confirms upcoming iPerformance and eDrive versions of the car.
Displaying a new design language, the 2019 BMW 3 Series is longer, wider, and taller than the car it replaces. Aerodynamics are improved, too, down to as low as 0.26 cd for the 330i.
Front and rear LED lighting is standard, along with 18-in. aluminum wheels. Buyers can select Sport Line, M Sport Line, and Luxury Line appearance upgrades, each changing the look of the car’s bumpers, trim, and wheels.
Two standard colors are offered, along with 10 extra-cost metallic hues. Vermont Bronze and Portimao Blue are new colors for 2019. Optional wheels are sized 19 or 20 ins. in diameter.
To emphasize the car’s larger interior, BMW uses horizontal design themes to enhance the sense of spaciousness. The company says that the quality of the materials and the quietness of the cabin are improved, and that both front and rear occupants benefit from more room.
Sport seats, a 10-speaker sound system, and triple-zone climate control are standard. Leather is an option. Luxury Line trim includes leather, while M Sport Line trim installs unique upholstery, an M Sport steering wheel, dark headliner, and special aluminum decor.
The trunk is larger for 2019, now measuring 17 cu. ft., according to BMW. A new hands-free function is part of the optional Comfort Access system, and every 2019 3 Series has a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat for added utility.
In addition to two different LED headlight upgrades (cornering and adaptive Laserlight), the new 3 Series is offered with exterior welcome lighting, interior ambient lighting, glass roof panel, and acoustic side window glass. An Entertainment package equips the car with a 16-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system.
Under the Hood
The 330i uses a new and more powerful turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 255 horsepower between 5,000 rpm and 6,500 rpm, and 295 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,550 rpm and 4,400 rpm. An 8-speed sport automatic transmission with paddle shifters and launch control drives the rear wheels.
An all-wheel-drive (AWD) system (xDrive) is optional. So equipped, the 330i xDrive accelerates to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, according to BMW.
When the 2020 BMW M340i goes on sale, it will boast 382 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque from a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine. This model will have an M Sport rear differential and M Performance suspension upgrades as standard equipment. When equipped with xDrive, BMW claims it will reach 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
Several technologies aim to improve the 330i’s fuel economy, such as automatic engine start/stop and a coasting function. A new version of xDrive exclusively powers the rear wheels when AWD is not required. Versions with navigation use data related to the planned route to save gas, and the adaptive cruise control system can also conserve fuel by adjusting vehicle operation based on real-time traffic conditions.
A stiffer vehicle architecture and wider track allow BMW to improve the car’s ride and handling qualities for what the company promises will be “an effortlessly enjoyable experience.” M Sport suspension tuning drops the ride height while enhancing handling, and the Adaptive M suspension adjusts based on the driving mode the driver has chosen. Both suspensions include variable sport steering, and upgraded M Sport brakes are also available.
BMW includes as standard equipment forward-collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, and an automatic emergency braking system that works at city speeds to prevent accidents. Beyond this, buyers can pay extra for two different adaptive cruise control systems and two different Driving Assistant packages.
Cruise Control with Braking will automatically slow the 3 Series as it catches up to traffic ahead, while Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go will additionally maintain safe following distances, bring the car to a complete stop, and resume travel within 30 seconds of stopping, BMW says. After that period of time, the driver is required to take action.
Driving Assistant adds lane-departure warning, lane-change warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic rear emergency braking to the 3 Series. The more expensive Driving Assistant Professional package includes these items plus steering functions related to lane keeping and evasion assistance. It also has active side-collision protection, front cross-traffic alert, wrong-way warning system, and an undefined Priority Warning system.
In standard format, the 2019 3 Series has BMW Live Cockpit instrumentation and an iDrive 6.0 infotainment system with an 8.8-in. touch-screen display.
Available as an option, BMW Live Cockpit Professional includes a 12.3-in. digital instrumentation display and a 10.25-in. iDrive 7.0 infotainment system with a touchpad controller, adaptive navigation, a 20GB hard-drive, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and gesture-control technology.
This infotainment system upgrade also equips the 3 Series with natural language voice recognition, which powers the car’s new BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. This feature works similar to Siri or Alexa, allowing the driver or passengers to control various systems by issuing “Hey BMW” commands.
Several parking systems are available for the new 3 Series, ranging from front and rear park-assist sensors to autonomous parallel and perpendicular parking assist that operates the accelerator, brakes, transmission, and steering. Multiple cameras supply front, rear, and top-down views while parking or negotiating tight areas, and owners can access a live video feed of the car and its surroundings via their smartphones.
An optional head-up display supplies a 70% increase in viewing area size. If you own a Near Field Communications-capable Samsung Galaxy smartphone running Android 8.0 or higher, you can use a new BMW Digital Key to unlock and start, or turn off and lock, the car using a BMW Connected app on your device.