2019 BMW 3 Series – what's it like to drive?
Upcoming executive saloon is tasked with reclaiming its class-leading status from the Audi A4...
Earlier this year, we drove a prototype of the new 3 Series in Germany, in 2.0-litre turbo petrol 330i M Sport form. The outstanding impression it left was how much better it was to drive than its predecessor – quite an accolade, given how good the current car is already.
By working intensively on the 3 Series’ M Sport suspension set-up, BMW has been able to switch the car onto firmer springs than now but has also combined that with clever dampers that provide an increased level of body control.
Together, these changes allow the new 3 Series to ride in a fairly comfortable fashion over smaller lumps and bumps while also being very adept at resisting bigger movements and dealing with dips and bumps at high speeds.
While this doesn’t mean the 3 Series now rides like a baby 7 Series, it is extremely serene and, on the evidence of our test, dealt well with a wide variety of surfaces. The UK’s famously poor road surfaces might provide a sterner challenge again, though.
BMW has also fitted an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, which employs technical wizardry to give more traction out of tight corners, especially in slippery conditions. While the system wasn’t fully functioning on this test car, the modes we could try showed it to be stable and secure but, although grippy and agile, perhaps not quite as light on its feet as the class pace-setter, the Alfa Romeo Giulia.
The test clearly didn’t provide all the answers; this was a prototype, after all. But it did raise the enticing prospect that BMW has risen to the challenge of its newer rivals and moved the game on again.
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