The sixth-generation BMW 3 Series will be launched in South Africa next month and it's one of those cars for which we could easily use the 'improved' cliché in just about every sentence - except the styling, you might argue.
Longer, wider and more spacious yet 40kg lighter than the car it replaces, the new Three also brings a raft of new technologies to the line-up.
Yet having found the pricing and specification chart, we can also tell you that those improvements also double as extra rungs on the price ladder. Without further ado…
320i - R363 052
320i AT - R380 539
320i SAT* - R387 639
320d - R390 500
320d AT - R408 500
320d SAT* - R415 600
328i - R440 979
328i AT - R458 808
328i SAT* - R465 908
335i SAT* - R543 000
*SAT = Sports Automatic Transmission
This latest 3 Series takes a leap into the modern age with the entire line-up being turbocharged.
Rather than downsizing to the 1.6-litre turbopetrol found in the new 1 Series, the baseline 320i petrol has a 2-litre engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger. It produces 135kW at 5000rpm and 270Nm between 1250 and 4500rpm.
BMW reckons this one will run from 0-100km/h in just 7.3 seconds (7.6 for the automatic) and sip 6.1 litres per 100km/h on the combined cycle.
An even more frugal option that matches the aforementioned power output but thumps out 350Nm of torque, and sips just 4.4 l/100km in automatic form, is the 320d. This 1995cc turbodiesel will also run from 0-100 in 7.5 seconds, says BMW.
The 328i uses a more powerful version of the 320i's 2-litre turbopetrol, with 180kW at 5000rpm and 350Nm from 1250rpm allowing a 5.9-second 0-100 and 6.4 l/100km/h consumption penalty. The 335i flagship produces 225kW from 5800rpm, 400Nm from 1200rpm, takes 5.5 seconds to 100km/h and consumes 7.2 l/100km.
The 335i comes standard with BMW's eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is optional on the other three engines (a six-speed manual 'box being standard) but one thing that all versions do come with is a fuel-saving idle-stop system is standard on all models.
STILL A DRIVER'S CAR
Of course those traditional 3 Series institutions like rear-wheel drive and 50:50 front to rear weight distribution are still in place, but engineers have sought to improve its cornering ability further with retuned suspension that makes abundant use of light alloy components.
Although the pricing might seem a bit steep at first glance, considering that the entrance fee has jumped from R318 540 to R363 052, there is a more generous helping of standard equipment.
All models come with Dakota leather seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, cruise control with brake function, iDrive with 6.5-inch colour display, keyless engine start, automatic lights and windscreen wipers and a multifunction leather-covered steering wheel. Safety kit includes front, side and curtain airbags, the latter also catering for rear passengers, and Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Traction control are also part of the package.
Not surprisingly, there is an options list as long as all of our arms put together and you might need to buy your bank manager more than just a few drinks to have him fund the R21 500 19-inch wheel option, R22 350 surround view system or R14 700 full-colour head-up display to name just a few. Unfortunately, your health insurance is not going to subsidise any of the nifty safety features, like the lane changing warning (R8650) or adaptive headlights (R15 050).
NEW EQUIPMENT LINES
Just like the latest 1 Series, BMW offers a convenient way to dress up your 3 Series to make it a bit more unique than the standard model. Each boasts a long list of unique trimmings outside and in.
The Sport Line, most notable for its high-gloss black invasion, will set you back an extra R18 100 on the 320i and 320d, R17 400 on the 328i and R14 200 on the 335i.
Taking a more blingy approach, you'll notice the Modern Line pack for its abundance of matt chrome. This option adds R12 900 to the price of a 320i or 320d, R10 900 to the 328i and R7600 in the 335i's case. Finally, the Luxury Line can be had for an extra R14 400 (320i and 320d), R10 900 (328i) and R7600 (335i.)
PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN
Like all but the first generation, the new 3 Series is being built at our Rosslyn assembly plant north of Pretoria but this one comes with an even bigger export contract than the previous two generations.
Representing a R2.2-billion investment into South Africa's economy, production of the new 3 Series will create 600 new jobs.
About 85 percent of the cars produced here will be exported and the plant's capacity is expected to grow from 55 000 a year to more than 90 000.
Seems like they're aligning prices with Merc. Looks like a smaller 5, so attractive enough.
@all the people that have verbal diarrhea. Have ever owned a BMW? Hyundai, Kia etc might be excellent value for money but is dynamically no match for the Germans especially a BMW.
Never in my life will I allow a BM-CROCKLE-U even park in my driveway.... What a load of scrap! Give me a Merc... far SUPERIOR product... and fun!
I drive one and the firm ride is really unforgivable. Not another 3 Series for me - thank you!
@ Strydom, wrote
Thats the exact yuppie thinking that sells BMW's. Yes it may be a lot more expensive, badly specced etc but buy its cause its a BMW. For you that may be fine but others want value for money and comfort with their purchase rather than caring who sees them getting into their car at their fave coffee shop.
"Drivers car" may be right, its for the track where the roads are silky smooth and the hard jar in your back doesnt matter but to live with everyday? Nope, not a drivers car in the respect that if you drive everyday you will wish you'd gone with something that has shock absorbers.
There are just too many cars that look better than this beemer and provide better value for money at a cost lower than what i see here, but like someone said below, you will see more of these on the road soon. Cars, especially German sedans, are still status symbold for many South Africans. So, go ahead and buy them brothers and sisters and create jobs. If we were all financially smart the economy would collapse. cannot all be financially smart or
Amazing how journalists dont mention how unforgivably hard the ride is in the 3 series, its really so uncomfortable and back breaking and the run flats make it twice as bad, really horrible drive. Besdies that the resale value is just a joke, stick to a merc and your back and wallet will thank you!
@ Strydom - Actually not sour grapes just peoples opinion and I have to agree with most its boring and overpriced and is the worst ride out of the top 3 german saloons. I luckily can afford my pick in this range and wont spend my hard earned cash on a boring car that only sells on its yuppie image and use no imagination or passion in its designs. I think the main problem with BMW is the lack of passion, people buy them becasue they are yuppie lovers where as other cars have hugely passionate followings even Opel, Renault etc P.S. Ford is the first thorough bred car, it has never been owned or built by any other company but Ford since day one. Same as Ferrari, BMW and Mercedes. Cars like Lamborgini's are not throughbreds as they are based off Ferrari's, the same as Mazda built on Fords.
I think if anyone has anything negative to say this might be sour grapes or maybe you just can't afford a decent car - by all means go and buy your hyundai or Ford and it will probably be better specced but it still isn't a thorough bred like BMW or a Merc.
@ Anonymous 8:30am - Hehe you made my day mate, yes as exclusive as a golf lol. BMW exclusive LOL that will be the day. Just for your record exclusive cars are cars like Bentleys, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, some Porches etc. BMW dreams to be exclusive but sadly never ever will be, they are boring, a dime a dozen and ugly.
Pay for the badge and really thats all you get the rest is so drab and boring and mundane. I use to drive a BMW and now have an Audi, the build quality is far superior in the Audi and the ride...way way better. I think every BMW driver should test an Audi or Merc before they buy again, BMW's are back breaking. Besides that have you ever tried to resell a 3 series? BMW makes sure you get nothing back for your car unless you buy another BMW with their fancy shmancy finance plans.
Same boring looks, same high price, same hard ride, same no thank you I'll stick with Audi or Merc.
I think the C200 CGI is comparable to the 320i. The C180 is cheaper and yes the C200 is more but not by much. The C200 has 135kw and 270nm.
i hear all ya yapin n yadin but wait to see to the sales volumes they ll be speaking volumes
Themba Brown, wrote
Honestly speaking, expensive for no eyebrow raising image, just standard. Looses value like a spent pad. Koreans and French competators offers far better value for money than BMW, its only the badge that remains.
Give me an Opel Astra please!
More money less car andd less value. I drive a 25 year old german car - do 4000km a year and am very very happy thank you. Maintainance is about R1000 a year. And...... I can sell it for 3 times what I paid for it. This modern nonsense hoodwinking the consumer to think it's progress. And they make money out of a maintenance plan because automakers cannot cannot guarantee the quality and dependability of their products. They call this "progress"
The badge loyal South Africans are complaining that there favourite brands are becoming too expensive for the working man. The fools that pay the ridicules price the companies demand keep ensuring the situation gets worse and its not just on new car prices second hand cars with sky high mileage continue to sell for a premium as long as some one out there continues to buy them. You’ll never see me buying any German cars for as long as they keep selling overpriced saloons in a 3rd world county in order to pass on savings to the rest of the established world.
@Audi A4, I drive an Audi A4 B7 and my previous car was an A6, but even as a die hard Audi fan I must admit that the current A4 (B8) and the new facelift models are boring. The new 3 series is a nice looking car, far more exciting than the A4 facelift.