Johannesburg - The seventh-generation 3 Series is only due to hit South African streets during the first quarter of 2019, but you can already configure the first two available model derivatives on BMW's local website.

Offered from launch is the 320d diesel, which starts at R649 253, and the 330i petrol, which is yours from R652 415.

The 320i and M340i xDrive models will join the range later in 2019, BMW SA tells us, while at this stage there is no word on whether there will be a new 318i entry level 3-Series.

The 330i is powered by an improved version of BMW’s 2-litre turbopetrol engine, now good for 190kW and 400Nm in this guise, which is a 5kW and 50Nm improvement over its predecessor, and enough to get the car from 0-100km/h in just 5.8 seconds, says BMW.

The 320d’s 2-litre turbodiesel also enjoys various improvements and is rated at 140kW and 400Nm.

On the local spec front, base models come with 17-inch alloys (as per the pic above) and synthetic leather seating, while key standard features include BMW’s Live Cockpit Plus with satnav and Connected Drive services, cruise control with brake function, automatic climate control and park distance control front and rear.

There is a long and expensive options list on offer, the highlights including BMW Laser Lights (R15 000), Gesture Control (R3650), BMW Live Cockpit Professional (R24 000), Head-Up Display (R17 000), Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go (R17 500), Driving Assistant Professional (R34 500) and Adaptive M Suspension (R15 400).

An M Sport styling package will set you back a cool R45 400.

As previously reported the new 3 Series is up to 55kg lighter than its predecessor, despite having grown substantially in size. Overall length has increased by 85mm, of which 41mm goes into the wheelbase, while width grows by 16mm and height by 1mm.

IOL Motoring