BMW's latest edition of its notable 3 Series Sedan, the G20, has made its way to South Africa, bringing along with it the sporty driving pleasure that has made BMW a reputable car manufacturer for decades.
I recently had the honour to attend the national launch of this vehicle, which gave me the opportunity to drive and experience the car in all its fullness.
The German manufacturer has introduced new features and updates to the 3 Series, which include automated driving, assisted reversing, laser-light technology, a personal assistant, a digital key, and BMW Operating System 7.0.
Before I share with you the updates to the exterior, interior, and performance of the car, I first want to delve into the driving experience I had with the car.
What it’s like on the road, you ask?
Over the years the 3 Series has been known for its encapsulating simple driving pleasure, so I went in having high expectations and to no surprise, my expectations were met. It’s smooth, comfortable, and easy to drive. It’s a perfect balance between power and balance for the average Joe. Outside the car, it is still as appealing to me as its predecessors - sharp with a dash of luxury appeal.
Everything seemed pretty snug to me on the inside. The gorgeous display of the cockpit and ambient lighting are certainly eye-pleasing, which really makes a difference to the overall feel of a car. The one minor issue I had was the control screen. BMW is yet to eradicate fingerprint smudges from its touchscreens. However, I'm sure this is something they will pick up and correct in the near future.
On the road, it is beauty and beast! Sport mode is the beast and Comfort mode being the beauty. The 330i version pushes out 190kW, which is nothing short of sporty. Comfort mode is it what is, making driving comfortable for the driver without any hassles, just pure pleasure. It controlled the roads I drove on, took bends with ease and climbed hills like it was rolling downwards.
So let me tell you what's been updated...
It is 76mm longer than its predecessor (at 4,709 mm), 16mm wider (1,827 mm) and just 1mm taller (1,44mm). The large BMW kidney grille and the headlights leading off it are dominant themes of the front end of the car. Full-LED headlights come as standard, while the LED headlights with extended features and Adaptive LED headlights with BMW Laserlight for non-dazzling high beam (with a range of around 530 metres) are available as an option.
The controls are clustered into clearly structured function panels. In the centre of the instrument panel, the displays and buttons for the air conditioning and the air vents form a sharply designed unit, while the light functions are operated from a panel of buttons next to the steering wheel. The light functions are operated from a panel of buttons next to the standard-fitted sports leather steering wheel.
The start/stop button for the engine is now positioned in the newly designed control panel in the centre console, where the gearshift lever or newly designed selector lever is joined by the iDrive Controller and the buttons for the Driving Experience Control switch unit and electromechanical parking brake.
The line-up comprises a pair of four-cylinder petrol engines with 135 kW in the BMW 320i (fuel consumption combined: 6.0 - 5.7l/100 km) and 190 kW in the BMW 330i (fuel consumption combined: 6.1 – 5.8l/100 km), plus 140 kW/190 kW in the BMW 320d and 330d respectively (fuel consumption combined: 4.7 – 4.4l/100 km).
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