2015 BMW 3 Series facelift - prices, engines and pictures
First look Facelifted 3 Series gets styling updates, new engines and chassis tweaks designed to beat off the Jaguar XE. Prices start at £24,195...
Prices for a petrol model start from £24,195.
What is it?
BMW is aiming to fight back against the newly launched Jaguar XE with this cleaner and plusher 3 Series, due on sale this summer.
The German manufacturer says it has aimed to make its mainstream executive saloon even more agile and involving to drive, while improving refinement and lowering CO2 emissions to make it a more appealing company car choice than ever.
The 3 Series’ exterior styling receives only a mild refresh with new headlights and reprofiled front and rear bumpers.
The headlights feature LED daytime running lights on all editions. Upgrading to these from halogen examples has allowed the indicators to be moved to the top of the lens. The effect at the front end, when coupled with the larger air intakes and full-width headlights introduced by the new bumper, is to make the 3 Series look lower and wider.
Although the revised 3 Series sits on the same underpinnings as before, BMW claims the model’s suspension settings have been revised to improve agility and offer a more dynamic driving experience.
This is a key promise since it’s widely accepted that, with the XE, Jaguar has stolen the ‘agility crown’ from the 3 Series.
The two ‘regular’ suspension set-ups will be standard and M Sport, while an adaptive system will continue to be offered. The car’s steering has also been retuned. BMW will continue to offer the 3 Series with its xDrive four-wheel drive system. It’ll be an option on the 320i, 320d and 330d, but standard on the 335d.
The 3 Series Touring gets the same styling tweaks as the saloon, and shares its revised engine line-up and new chassis settings.
However, since the car’s metal bits are relatively unchanged, so are its key dimensions. That means that, with its flat, well-shaped load bay, the Touring offers greater practicality than the saloon, but is less focused on out-and-out space than some of its rivals.
What engines can I choose from?
The bulk of 3 Series sales will continue to be diesels, but all of the petrol engines in the facelifted edition are new to the model.
The entry-level version will be the three-cylinder 318i, marking the first time such a motor has been offered in a 3 Series. It’s the same 134bhp 1.5-litre unit as in the 1 Series and 2 Series Active Tourer, and emits as little as 116g/km when paired with BMW’s eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The 320i gets an all-new, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor, producing 181bhp and CO2 emissions from 124g/km (auto) and 128g/km (manual). The four-cylinder 328i is now replaced by the 330i. It uses a version of the 320i’s engine but with 248bhp – enough for a 0-62mph time of just 5.9 seconds.
Similarly, the 335i is being replaced by the 340i. It gets an all-new, turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing 322bhp, and can reach 62mph from rest in 5.2 seconds. It’s cleaner than the old 335i, too, emitting 152g/km as an automatic.
The diesel line-up will continue to be dominated by the 320d, which now emits 106g/km as an automatic or a manual.
The leaner 320d ED (Efficient Dynamics) version will continue. It has less power than the regular 320d but the same amount of torque, so its acceleration figures are only a little slower. It dips under 100g/km, too, emitting 99g/km when paired with the automatic gearbox but, curiously, 102g/km with the six-speed manual.
The other four-cylinder diesels are the 316d and 318d. They also emit less than 110g/km as manuals or automatics.
The one engine that doesn’t change in the line-up is the 330d. BMW believes that its six-cylinder diesel motor is still competitive enough to avoid being updated or replaced.
The automatic versions are generally more efficient than the manuals because the 3 Series gets a further incarnation of BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission. It uses navigation data – even when the infotainment system is turned off – to work out the route ahead and pre-select gears appropriate to upcoming gradients and corners.
Next year there will also be a 330e plug-in hybrid. It uses the 320i’s petrol engine but on electric power alone, can propel the 3 Series to 75mph. Its CO2 emissions are expected to be as low as 49g/km, despite the car having a 0-62mph time of just 6.3 seconds.
How much equipment does it come with?
BMW says that in response to customer feedback it has tweaked the cabin’s design. There are now chrome flourishes running along the centre of the fascia and, on all but entry-level editions, extending to the front and rear door panels.
Chrome highlights now surround the air vents, the climate control switches and the electric window switches. There’s a sliding cover for the cupholders which looks classier than the current car’s, and there’s some extra storage space ahead of the gearlever.
The climate control screen has a higher resolution than before and different text colours for day (white) and night (orange).
The infotainment system had been upgraded. All new 3 Series will come with at least BMW’s Business sat-nav system as standard (6.5in screen), while the processor powering the optional Professional infotainment system has been beefed up to accelerate start-up time and cope with more complex 3D map displays.
It also gets three years of quarterly map updates for free, transmitted over the air to the car’s built-in data connection.
The two entry-level editions (the 318i petrol and the 316d diesel) are available only in SE or Sport trim but the core of the range (318d, 320i and 320d) will be offered in Luxury and M Sport trims as well.
BMW has yet to confirm final UK specifications but SE will bring cloth seats and fewer chrome and high-gloss flourishes in the cabin. Sport and Luxury should both include leather seats and open up the possibility of additional options and different designs of larger alloy wheels.
The Luxury and Sport lines continue to have badges just behind the front wheels, but they’re classier, better-looking items than on the current car. The exterior paint colour range has been extended to 16 shades.
How much will it cost?
The new model starts at around £24,975, which is around £700 dearer than the starting price for the outgoing model. The cheapest diesel is a 316d SE which costs £27,435 while Touring model prices begin from £26,405.
BMW 3 Series Saloon prices
318i SE £24975
318i Sport £25275
320i SE £27,255
320i Sport £27,555
320i Luxury £29,755
320i M Sport £29,555
320i xDrive SE £28,805
320i xDrive Sport £29,105
320i xDrive Luxury £31,305
320i xDrive M Sport £31,105
330i Luxury £33,005
330i M Sport £32,805
340i M Sport £38,125
316d SE £27,435
316d Sport £27,735
318d SE £28,685
318d Sport £28,985
318d Luxury £31,185
318d M Sport £30,895
320d SE £29,785
320d Sport £30,085
320d M Sport £32,285
320d ED Plus £30,485
320d ED Sport £30,985
320d xDrive SE £31,285
320d xDrive Sport £31,585
320d xDrive Luxury £33,785
320d xDrive M Sport £33,585
330d Luxury £37,415
330d M Sport £37,415
330d xDrive Luxury £39,115
330d xDrive M Sport £38,915
335d xDrive M Sport £40,330
BWW 3 Series Touring prices
318i SE £26,405
318i Sport £26,705
320i SE £28,570
320i Sport £28,870
320i Luxury £31,070
320i M Sport £30,870
320i xDrive SE £30,105
320i xDrive Sport £30,405
320i xDrive Luxury £32,720
320i xDrive M Sport £32,520
330i Luxury £34,305
330i M Sport £34,105
340i M Sport £39,255
316d SE £28,735
316d Sport £29,035
318d SE £29,985
318d Sport £30,285
318d Luxury £32,485
318d M Sport £32,285
320d SE £31,085
320d Sport £31,385
320d M Sport £33,385
320d ED Plus £31,785
320d ED Sport £32,285
320d xDrive SE £32,585
320d xDrive Sport £32,885
320d xDrive Luxury £35,215
320d xDrive M Sport £35,015
330d Luxury £38,715
330d M Sport £38,915
330d xDrive Luxury £40,430
330d xDrive M Sport £40,230
335d xDrive M Sport £41,665
Can I get a discount?
Decent discounts are available across the entire BMW range. Our Target Price team reports discounts of around 10% on the current car and we expect these to be available on the face-lifted model as well.
How good are its rivals?
In a word: very. The executive car class is one of the most competitive.
The Audi A3 Saloon, new Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Jaguar XE are all very good and will be tough to beat.
Also, when you consider the fact that Volkswagen has pushed its latest Passat upmarket, the face-lifted BMW 3 Series certainly has its work cut out.