New 2019 BMW 3 Series (UPDATED): BMW's mightiest model is back

Derryn Wong

G20 BMW 3 Series on track for Singapore launch in Q2 2019, 258hp 330i model first, estimate price from $200k with COE, hot 374hp M340i model in the pipeline plus 184hp 320i, plug-in 330e
Photos: BMW

– Two petrol models 320i and 330i to headline Singapore range, plug-ins and 374hp M40i model expected
Capable of Level 3 autonomous driving – driver can take his or her hands off the wheel – if legal in-country
– New styling, longer and wider, with longer wheelbase, wider track,
– 50 percent stiffer body, -55kg overall weight loss, sharper dynamics, new shock absorbers and more
– Larger interior features new Live Cockpit and BMW OS 7.0

– UPDATED: December 4, 2018
FIRST PUBLISHED: October 3, 2018
Faro Portugal
At the international test drive of the new BMW 3 Series (G20) BMW has released additional information about the car. Check back for a test drive review on December 12, 2018, when the global embargo lifts.
Standard Equipment (globally)
– LED lights, the 8.8-inch central colour display, Active Guard autonomous emergency braking, cruise control, and BMW Concierge, are standard issue equipment for all 3 Series models globally, including Singapore
– 330i is the first gasoline variant, due in Singapore Q2 2019
– M340i and 330e plug-in hybrid models confirmed for July 2019
– 320i also confirmed but is not (by our estimate) to begin production until mid-2019 earliest, no official statement on its launch date for Singapore
– Our guess: Expect a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder 318i further in the future  
– Increased use of high-strength steel and aluminium, body-in-white is 20kg lighter
– Front spring struts and engine frame made of aluminium saves 7.5kg
– Aluminium bonnet and front fenders save 15kg
– Coefficient of drag reduced from 0.26Cd to 0.23Cd thanks to flat underbody, active air flaps on kidney grille and air intake, Air Curtain vents near wheels, and aero wheels

– Choices: Standard suspension, M Sport Suspension, and Adaptive M Suspension
– New lift-related damper system for all suspension choices: Behaves like an adaptive damper but is a fully hydraulic system 
– Standard steering, Variable sport steering with variable ratio available as part of M Sport suspension choices
– Optional M Sport Differential
– Increased rear legroom and increased headroom all around
– Boot space same at 480-litres, though loading area is larger and unified
– Acoustic glass and increased sound insulation in A-pillars
– BMW Operating System 7.0 new interior concept that debuted on the BMW X5
– BMW Live Cockpit is standard equipment –  8.8-inch Control Display and 5.7-inch instrument panel
–  Optional BMW Live Cockpit plus adds touch control, navigation, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, WiFi, expands instrument display to 12.3-inch, Control Display to 10.25-inch
– BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant fully voice capable system that recognises natural speech  
– Explains and monitors car functions, handles navigation, reduces ‘clicks needed’: For example it can answer – what is the oil level? Find me a Starbucks, I’m cold, I’m hungry, Where is the nearest petrol station. 
Safety and Assist
– Adaptive cruise control system has full stop-n-go capability but now monitors the vehicle in front, as well as the vehicle ahead of that one as well
– Optional Driving Assistant Professional capable of full hands-off Level 3 autonomous driving at speeds below 60km/h in traffic, if allowed by law
– New Reversing Assistant records movements when ‘going in’ and can take the exact same line in reverse for up to 50-metres at maximum 9km/h

Original story: October 3, 2018

Paris, France
BMW has unveiled the new, seventh-generation BMW 3 Series executive sedan in full at the Paris Motor Show, and the official word is it will arrive in Singapore in the first quarter of 2019.

Codenamed G20, the sedan looks to be an impressive step up from its sixth-generation F30 predecessor, thanks to a wide range of improvements in every aspect of development.

That’s crucial as the 3 Series is still the most popular BMW model, both in Singapore and around the world. For the latter, it comprises approximately a fifth of the two-million cars it sold globally in 2017.

White car is Sport Line, blue car is M Sport line variant.
Two petrol variants have been announced (see specs), both with the same 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo (twin scroll) turbocharged petrol engine, an upgraded version of the current unit found in the present 320i and other BMW models.
Given prices of the current 320i began around $190k with COE, we can expect similar pricing in 2019 if COE levels remain stable. No mention of a less expensive 318i has been made at this point.

BMW 320i: 1,998cc inline 4, turbocharged petrol engine with 184hp at 5,000 to 6,000rpm, torque 300Nm from 1,350-4,000rpm
0-100km/h 7.2 seconds, 238km/h top speed, 5.9L/100km fuel consumption (average, estimate) and 125g/km CO2 (average estimate)

BMW 330i: 1,998cc inline 4, turbocharged petrol engine with 258hp at 5,000 to 6,500rpm, torque 400Nm from 1,550 to 4,400rpm
0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds, top speed 250km/h
Fuel consumption 6.0L/100km (average, estimate), CO2 136g/km CO2 (average, estimate)

The 330i has 6hp and 50Nm more thanks to turbo system optimisation, with other improvements including a revised injection system with higher pressure fuel pump, a lighter crankshaft, less internal friction, better heat management and electronics.

Mid 2019 will see the debut of the new 330e (above, white) plug-in hybrid (read our review of the current one on, and the M340i performance model. The 330e will have a system output of up to 290hp, do 0-100km/h in 6.0 seconds, and offer up to 60km of electric-only range.

The M340i xDrive model (above, black) will have the 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine found in the 340hp X3 M40i, but with even more power: 374hp, with 500Nm of torque. 0-100km/h takes only 4.4 seconds in that car, thanks in part to all-wheel drive. It also has sportier suspension tuning, and a standard M Sport differential.
Three diesel engines (318d, 320d, 330d) have also been announced but those are not likely to be sold in Singapore.

Like other BMW models, different ‘line’ variants are available but the standard equipment will obviously vary with what is offered in Singapore. The lines are named Advantage, Sport Line, Luxury Line (above in grey), and M Sport. 
The new car runs on the present CLAR platform architecture, as first debuted in the BMW 7 Series, and also found in the 5 Series, X3, and X5.

The styling ups the sporty factor by taking cues from BMW’s newest coupes, the 8 Series and Z4, both of which were previewed in Singapore at BMW World Singapore 2018.

There’s a longer bonnet with a slightly bulged front near the enlarged kidney grilles, new LED headlights which have a kink in the middle, and speaking of kinks, the signature Hofmeister Kink at the C-pillars is also updated. Drag coefficient has been reduced from 0.26 Cd to 0.23 Cd.

Like those models, the 3 Series sees an expanded footprint – it’s 76mm longer (4,709mm), 16mm wider (1,827mm), only 13 mm taller (1,442mm), with a huge 41mm (2,851mm) bump to its wheelbase. There’s also a wider front and rear track (43mm and 21mm respectively).
That means it takes the space crown from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is 4,686mm long, and has a 2,840mm wheelbase.

READ MORE: A new 3 it may be, but the Mercedes-Benz C-Class just received a major facelift – we tested the new C 200 that’s gone hybrid
Thankfully the use of lightweight materials brings the weight down by an average of 55kg. BMW has not unveiled the detailed specifications for the 320i, but the 330i drops from 1,495kg (without a driver) to 1,470kg.
That’s been made possible by the use of aluminium, which now makes up the bonnet and front wings (-15kg), engine subframe and front spring struts (-7.5kg). The 3 Series has 50/50 weight distribution.

Keen drivers are probably salivating by now, with less weight, wider track, and good balance on the checklist, but BMW is also premiering a new suspension setup on the 3 Series, which it says will make the car even more dynamic.  

As covered in prototype drives by other media outlets overseas, the new lift-related damping system is something of a revelation.

It’s not an adaptive setup, as BMW wishes to keep the 3 Series a sport sedan at heart, and it says the system is ‘continuously variable and adjusts the damper and firmness progressively according to the changing spring travel’.

We won’t pretend to know how it works right now, but in English that means the suspension characteristics change depending on how bad the bumps are, and BMW also says it reduces body movement while also taking the worst edge of bumpy roads. There is also an M Sport suspension version of this, with 10mm lower ride height, and a more dynamic base setup.

There is also a further optional M Sport adaptive setup, and the 330i model can also be equipped with an M Sport Differential that has an electric motor which controls the lockup almost instantaneously. We tested the M Sport Differential on the new BMW X4 M40d and came away impressed with its addition to the car’s dynamics.

Taking centre stage in the larger interior is the BMW OS 7.0, the brand’s term for its human-machine interface, and as seen in our review of the latest BMW X5.

The standard issue system consists of a 5.7-inch Live Cockpit display, and an 8.8-inch touch-enable iDrive infotainment screen, and still retains the rotary controller.

The upgraded Live Cockpit Plus adds a touch controller, navigation, dual USB ports, and Apple CarPlay capability, while the top-line Professional version adds a higher resolution 12.3-inch instrument cluster, 10.25-inch iDrive screen, ‘adaptive’ navigation, and 20GB hard drive multimedia system.


3 Series 320i 330i bmw m340i sedan

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism, previously being the editor of Top Gear Singapore, a presenter for CNA, contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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