BMW 3 Series mid-life facelift ditches diesel

May 28, 2024 by

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Just petrol and plug-in hybrid engine options for updated 3 Series, which remains available as a saloon or a Touring estate

  • 2024 facelift for big-selling compact executive car
  • Styling unchanged and few interior updates
  • New digital cockpit with minimal physical controls
  • Engine lineup ditches diesel
  • Petrol and plug-in hybrid available, including powerful six-cylinder 340i
  • Priced from around £40,000

The BMW 3 Series is a few years old now, which means it’s due a mid-life update. Following on from the facelift it received in 2022, which mainly focused on the exterior, 2024’s update sees the 3 Series undergo a bit of a gutting in the UK, with the big-selling compact executive car finally ditching its diesel engines.

Advances to the existing petrol and plug-in hybrid engines should soften the blow, however it’s somewhat of a milestone, as the diesel-powered BMW 320d was for a long time synonymous with company car culture. The updated model, like its predecessor, goes head-to-head with mainly other Germans – namely, the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4.

New BMW 3 Series design

We can get this bit over quite quickly – design changes are minimal. The 3 Series’ exterior changes consist of new paint finishes, including Arctic Race Blue metallic and Fire Red metallic, and some new alloy wheels.

A set of 19-inch double-spoke alloys are available for cars with the M Sport package, in black or bi-colour. There’s also a new bi-colour wheel option available in the BMW Individual range.

Otherwise, styling for both the saloon and the Touring estate model is pretty much unchanged, having undergone a (slightly) more radical shift in the car’s 2022 facelift.

BMW 3 Series interior changes

There’s not much to report here, either. There are new steering wheels for both standard and M Sport models – two and three-spoke units respectively, with new multifunction buttons.

The on-screen climate controls – which replaced physical buttons in the 2022 facelift – have been revamped with newly designed controls as well as more natural voice commands. There’s also new ambient lighting around the central air vents, with an ‘atmospheric’ Welcome and Goodbye animation.

New seat fabrics for M Sport and M Performance cars and the addition of BMW’s CraftedClarity glass switchgear complete the interior makeover.

There’s also a new operating system for the infotainment setup, which brings useful extras such as a more functional homescreen, a widget bar, augmented-reality navigation and a simpler connection process for the My BMW app.

New BMW 3 Series engines and performance

The UK engine lineup looks rather sparse without its diesel options, and there are now just three engines to choose from across both saloon and Touring bodystyles. The entry-level is the 320i petrol, which produces 184hp.

The pick of the range, especially for company car drivers, is likely to be the 330e plug-in hybrid. With 292hp from its four-cylinder engine and electric motor, the facelifted models also boast a fully electric range of up to 63 miles thanks to a new, larger 19.5kWh battery pack.

That contributes to CO2 emissions as low as 21g/km, which is great news for company car drivers. It sits in the eight per cent BIK bracket, giving low tax costs – though not as low as the Mercedes C 300e.

That only goes up to 23g/km in the Touring, too, with electric range up to 61 miles. Despite the larger battery capacity, the physical unit isn’t any larger, so space in the interior and fuel tank capacity are unchanged.

Topping the range (not including the standalone BMW M3) is the M340i xDrive. This M Performance model is, as ever, intended as a halfway house between the standard 3 Series and a full-fat M car, and produces 374hp from its six-cylinder petrol engine. Uprated brakes, sports steering, stiffer suspension and an M Sport differential are also included as standard.

How much is it and when can I buy one?

The cheapest model in the range is the 320i saloon in Sport trim, which just nudges under £40,000 – not including OTR costs. A £1250 uplift gets you M Sport trim, which includes a beefier bodykit for a sportier look.

The 330e plug-in hybrid costs from £46,080, again not including OTR costs. The powerful M340i xDrive, meanwhile, comes in at £57,845. The 3 Series Touring is available with all of these engines, and costs an additional £1800.

 

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