A car in its eight generation needs no introduction. The BMW 3-Series has been the go to car for all enthusiast entering into the luxury world. There are certain priorities set by consumers in this segment and BMW ends up meeting them perfectly and ends up selling cars like the 3-Series a lot. It has been the entry level car for quite some time but then its elder siblings made some noise worldwide as well and helped BMW climb the ladder.
However, not everywhere this scenario is true. Most markets still believe in the 3-Series as their first luxury car because of the heritage of the sub-brand of the most popular luxury german car manufacturer. Re-made entirely for the 8’th time, you would think this time they have got it right? We have spent time with the last two generations and this generation now as well. To begin with, we have the diesel version with us. So let’s find out what the 3-er is all about.
If you ask me or anyone, they will say the styling is a bit too Asian for a European sedan in certain ways. Especially the tail-lamps reminds us of Lexus. The headlights are much more sharper and sleeker and the corona ring is just 1/4’th of what it used to be earlier. That is a good thing and a bad thing depending if you are open to change or a purist at heart.
All is not disappointing as the side profile, the long bonnet and stubby boot has been increased and the overall silhouette has become more dynamic then before thanks to this change. Quintessential hofmeister kink and a solid presence thanks to large wheels and very specifically to this car, multi-spoke alloy wheel add a bit of sophistication to the car.
The entire interior has changed and for the good. The last two generation did look quite similar. However, with this new revolutionary change, the car quality and fit-finish and materials remains spot on all around. The A/C vents have changed, the buttons to control them are changed. A 3-zone climate control has been introduced. A lot of functions continue to be in the center of the center console, which now includes the inclusion of the start-stop button. The usual stuff includes iDrive controller, gear shift lever, which looks quite odd without the fancy cut glass seen on bigger BMW’s launched recently.
iDrive system is clearly the best system to use and this one is no different. Apple Carplay and Android Auto is on offer. The screen is finally now a touch screen unit. Voice commands are a thing and the one’s here gets activated by saying ‘Hey BMW’ without pressing buttons. Ambient lighting, heated and electric seats, sunroof, LED fog-lamps, automatic wipers and headlights are on offer. The auto headlamp switches are gone and everything is now buttons. The steering wheel gets rollers to make things easier to scroll though but the steering design has remained the same. Auto hold, electric parking brake, 360 degree parking assist, front sensors, reversing camera and reversing sensors are on offer. Space has increased a bit at the back and leg, knee, shoulder and head room are adequate as per segment standards.
You can control music, HVAC, display controls and along with the usual call controls. Smooth, easy and fast to live and learn. Out of the five days, on day two, we were downright familiar with the infotainment system. A hi-fi 10 speaker system is good enough, 20 GB of storage is on offer, navigation with 3D maps. Most importantly, the dials have gone entirely and replaced with a Live Cockpit which is a screen that displays all the options on the right side through the button on the left side stalk. Navigation is always on and you can select four screens for trip, music, sport displays and trip. Safety kit includes ABS and EBD, CBC, DSC with traction control and along with 8 Airbags being on offer. All these are the features of the top of the line Luxury line. M-Sport is yet to come.
When it comes to driving the new 3-Series with the diesel motor, the game has changed and how! While the motor churns out 190 BHp and 400 Nm of torque, what has gone up is not the figures, but the refinement. The level of NVH levels have gone down drastically. Earlier, the engine was felt and heard in the cabin, now its muted and almost negligible. Audi had the honor with the A4, 3-Series now matches it. 8-speed gearbox is quick, smooth and putting all that power down to the rear wheels is fuss free and fun! All modes do their job as named when it comes to driving modes and so does the gearbox.
There is launch control with a 320d!! The highlight of the motor is that it revs cleanly and freely and till its 5000 RPM redline. Torque and horsepower is found almost everywhere till 4000 RPM which is very impressive. Driveability and performance in return is top-notch and you always get what you want from the accelerator pedal. Fuel economy also has increased from 18 to 19 km/l and that can bee seen on the highway. We got 17.6 km/l while maintaining 120 km/hr on Pune-Mumbai expressway.
Dynamically, the big change is in the suspension. With slightly tall profile tyres, the damping has become very impressive and mature. The suspension does feel stiff, but the soft cushion effect is also there at the same time the moment you hit a small bump. So it can go over almost anything and you won’t be tossed around at all either at the same time. The earlier setup was a bit extra soft with the GT and firmer with the normal 3-Series, but this is so well balanced that it begs to be driven everyday. We encountered worse of roads and we can confirm the ride quality and ground clearance are very good to tackle Pune-Mumbai roads.
The steering as always is fast, precise and delivers superb feedback in all modes. Body roll is almost negligible and pushing the serious is now highly rewarding. The nimbless and agility in the city and corners respectively means the 3-Series has become taut and athletic indeed. Brakes and tyres are good as always providing a lot of confidence.
2019 BMW 320d India Review, Verdict
There is very little doubt that the 3-Series has matured dramatically. A much welcoming brand new interior, driving dynamics, suspension and highly revised exterior is all welcoming facts indeed. The 3-Series gets more practical and fun and retains core strengths such as a good after sales package, a good price to begin with it and options of two great engines. We will get you the petrol 3-series verdict very soon. For now, 320d is the most popular choice in the market as always and we have no doubts it will continue to dominate the segment. Should you consider its large list of rivals? Nevermind!
2019 BMW 320d India Review