BMW Readying New 3-Series for 2019 U.S. Launch

BMW claims the new 3-Series is sportier than the 7-year-old model it replaces, with sharper driving traits and more agile handling among the German automaker’s key development goals.

October 2, 2018

4 Min Read
New 3-Series’ front-end look departs from current iteration.
New 3-Series’ front-end look departs from current iteration.

BMW unveils the seventh-generation 3-Series at the Paris auto show ahead of a planned launch of North American sales in March 2019.

The new sedan has been re-engineered from the ground up in a development program meant to push it ahead of key rivals such as the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in global sales.

Two models, both powered by a 255-hp turbocharged gasoline 2.0L 4-cyl., are planned from the start of U.S. sales: The rear-wheel-drive 330i at $40,250 and the all-wheel-drive 330i xDrive at $42,250, with others set to follow later next year.

BMW claims the new 3-Series is sportier than the 7-year-old model it replaces, with sharper driving traits and more agile handling among the German automaker’s key development goals.

Reflecting this more sporting slant, BMW also confirms it will add a new M340i M Performance sedan model to its ranks during second-quarter 2019.

To be priced below the next-generation M3, it runs a turbocharged gasoline 3.0L 6-cyl. developing 382 hp. This is sufficient, according to BMW’s own performance figures, to propel the Audi S4- and Mercedes-Benz C43-rivaling 3-Series model from 0-to-62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.2 seconds and to a limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h) in combination with a standard 8-speed automatic gearbox and fully variable 4-wheel-drive system.

BMW says a more traditional rear-wheel-drive version of the M340i M Performance also will be sold in the U.S.

The basis for the new ’19-model-year 3-Series is BMW’s multifaceted CLAR platform, which also underpins the larger 5- and 7-Series. Claimed to help reduce curb weight 121 lbs. (55 kg) in at least one of the initial five launch models, it also brings a more contemporary electrical architecture which has allowed BMW to provide its new 4-door with new suspension technology that sees variable dampers made available for the first time.

It also gets new driver-assistant features including standard lane-departure, collision and pedestrian warnings.

Following the lead of other recent new BMW models, the 3-Series sedan takes on a bolder look with a significantly larger and more heavily framed grille and smoothly shaped bumpers clearly differentiating visually from its predecessor.

It also adopts a more prominent shoulder line as well as a longer roof, a new interpretation of the classic Hofmeister kick within the C-pillar and distinctive new L-shaped taillamps.

Like each 3-Series sedan before it, the new ’19 model has grown. Length and width are up 3.0 ins. (76 mm) and 0.6 ins. (15 mm) at 185.4 ins. (4,709 mm) and 71.9 ins. (1,826 mm), respectively, while height remains virtually the same as before at 56.8 ins. (1,443 mm).

This makes the seventh-generation model 0.9 in. (23 mm) longer, 0.7 in. (18 mm) wider and exactly the same height as its closest competitor, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan.

Much of the increase in length comes through the adoption of a longer wheelbase, which has been extended 1.6 ins. (41 mm) over the sixth-generation 3-Series at 112.2 ins. (2,850 mm).

Additionally, the new 330i’s front and rear tracks have been widened 1.7 ins. (43 mm) and 0.8 in. (20 mm) front and rear to give the new BMW its largest-ever footprint.

Despite the increase in size, BMW claims its new sedan boasts an improved drag coefficient of 0.26. This is achieved in part by so-called active air control flaps behind the grille and an almost completely flat underbody to smooth airflow.

Along with the 4-door model shown in Paris, BMW says it plans two further variants of the new 3-Series, including replacements for the existing GT and Touring. The latest model also forms the basis for successors to the 4-Series coupe and cabriolet as well as the M3 and M4.

Inside (below), the latest incarnation of the 3-Series adopts a higher quality interior than its predecessor, with new digital infotainment and connectivity functions from BMW’s seventh-generation iDrive system.

The interior styling resembles that of the latest 5-Series, but despite claims of improved shoulder and elbow room for front-seat occupants and greater leg- and headroom for those in the rear, BMW says the trunk is no larger than that of the Mercedes-Benz C-class sedan at 17.0-cu. ft. (481 L).


BMW confirms three initial turbocharged engines for the new 3-Series models, although only one of them is planned for the US: A 2.0L 4-cyl. gasoline unit with 255 hp and 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) of torque in the 330i and 330i xDrive.

Together with the new M340i M Performance, BMW also says it will add a new 330e to the 3-Series line-up during the first half of 2020. With a claimed electric-only range of up to 37 miles (60 km), it uses a 2.0L 4-cyl. gasoline engine and electric motor producing a combined 288 hp.

Underpinning the new BMW is a new suspension featuring variable damping control for the first time. Fitted to both the standard and optional M-sport suspension, it adjusts the firmness of the dampers according to spring travel in a move claimed to significantly reduce body roll and improve ride comfort in comparison with the old 3-Series.



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