2024 BMW 3 Series: saloon and estate PHEVs get longer range

Refreshed BMW 3 Series now makes even more sense for company car drivers in plug-in hybrid form, plus benefits from new looks and upgraded tech...

2024 BMW 3 Series saloon driving front

On sale Summer 2024 | Price from £40,500 (est)

In a recent survey, 79% of office workers said they dressed differently as a result of having a more flexible schedule in the post-Covid world. Fittingly, while the BMW 3 Series has always been more Savile Row suit than jeans and hoodie, its tailor has made adjustments to make sure that few in the office are smarter.

You’ll need a keen sartorial eye to spot the changes in the updated 3 Series saloon’s attire (or that of its BMW 3 Series Touring estate sibling, for that matter), but there are new metallic Arctic Race Blue and Fire Red paint finishes, and the ensemble is set off by an expanded range of alloy wheels.

2024 BMW 3 Series saloon driving rear

Echoing office life, the 3 Series is already familiar with hybrid working, and our favourite 330e plug-in hybrid model now has a larger, 19.5kWh (usable capacity) battery, enabling it to officially travel for up to 63 miles on electric power alone. That’s well up on its previous 38-mile figure and could be enough to complete your commute without using a drop of petrol. The rival Mercedes C-Class can go farther still, though, in C300e form.

To get anywhere near the 330e’s staggering official fuel economy figure of 353.1mpg, you’ll need to top up the battery regularly. Handily, the latest 330e can be charged at rates of up to 11kW, so a full charge is possible in 2hr 15min – less time than it took to charge the previous, smaller battery at its lower 3.7kW rate.

2024 BMW 3 Series interior

The 330e’s ultra-low CO2 emissions make it by far the most cost-effective 3 Series for company car users, thanks to low benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax.

If you’d rather stick with combustion power, you’ll be pleased to know that the entry-level 181bhp 320i offers plenty of pep for most situations. Or, if you’re the sort of person who likes to be first to arrive at the office, the rangetopping M340i has 369bhp and an official 0-62mph time of just 4.6sec. It’s also the only version available with four-wheel drive.

No matter which version of the 3 Series you go for, you’ll get a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox. We say farewell, though, to what was once every fleet director’s best friend; the 320d diesel has been dropped from the revised line-up – in the UK, at least.

2024 BMW 3 Series centre console

Inside, it’s as if the office manager has got hold of a corporate credit card, such are the snazzy new details. There’s a new two-spoke steering wheel design, with M Sport models getting a new three-spoke, flat-bottomed wheel with a thicker rim and discreet M badging.

There’s also extended ambient interior lighting that changes colour to welcome you aboard and to celebrate journey’s end; it can also act as a visual alert to incoming phone calls or warn if you’ve have left a door ajar. Further embellishments include the addition of new open-pore grey-blue ash wood, carbonfibre and aluminium trims to the options list, alongside crystal replacements for the some of the controls.

Happily, the infotainment system – in addition to allowing you to make inputs via touch or voice control – continues to feature a physical rotary controller between the front seats. Accessing the system this way while driving is easier and less distracting than prodding a touchscreen.

2024 BMW 3 Series Touring driving rear

Interior room and boot space remain unchanged. It’s still on a par with the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class in these regards and no Skoda Superb challenger, but that car is much less classy inside than the BMW. When we tested the current 3 Series Touring, its boot took seven carry-on suitcases below its load cover; the Audi A4 Avant managed the same.

Prices aren’t expected to rise dramatically compared with those of today’s 3 Series. It’s likely to start at around £40,500, maintaining its position between the cheaper A4 and the C-Class on a spec-for-spec basis.

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