BMW has unveiled the all-new 3 Series at the Paris Motor Show.
The seventh generation of the iconic saloon car will be the best driver’s car in its class, BMW has promised.
The new car has slightly revised proportions, a longer wheelbase, reduced weight and improved aerodynamics.
It boasts a new design which is cleaner and more precise than previous generations.
With prices starting at £33,610, the revamped 3 Series aims to eclipse the success of its predecessor by offering more space and improved handling.
The new car is now 85mm longer than the car it replaces, as well as 16mm wider, and features a wheelbase extended by 41mm – a result of being based on similar underpinnings as the larger 5 Series.
While the new 3 Series isn’t a complete departure in style it is more aggressive and muscular with a bold new grille, sharp headlights, redesigned bumpers and precise bonnet lines.
The large kidney grilles remain at the front of the car but are now framed by ‘notched’ headlights.
The rear has a new light design that’s sleeker and sharper than the outgoing car’s.
Inside, the 3 Series remains as driver-focused as ever. A large central screen dominates the cabin, although there are good old fashioned button controls for functions such as heating and ventilation rather than the modish but difficult to use touchscreen that many rivals now offer.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster replaces the traditional dials behind the wheel, supplemented by a 10.3-inch central screen using BMW’s latest infotainment operating system.
Powering the car is a choice of upgraded four-cylinder engines mated to a new generation six-speed manual gearbox or BMW’s eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
The car can also be specified with the x-Drive all-wheel-drive system on the 320d model.
The revised diesel has a maximum output of 190hp and a peak torque of 400Nm enabling the BMW 320d to accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 7.1 seconds ( the auto improves this figure to 6.8 seconds). Average fuel consumption is 64.2mpg (automatic: 67.3mpg) for the 320d and 62.8mpg for the 320d xDrive.
A powerful four-cylinder petrol will be used in the 330i and is capable of hitting 60mph in 5.6 seconds while delivering a claimed combined fuel consumption of 48.7mpg.
Improvements to the chassis have made the car 25 per cent more rigid but also lighter, with weight dropped by 55kg. There will also be an M Sport model, with a sportier look and 10mm lowered ride height.
The new 3 Series is on sale from March 9 next year.