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by Tim Beissmann

The first-ever three-cylinder BMW 3 Series will cost $54,900 plus on-road costs when it arrives in Australian showrooms towards the end of this year.

Powered by the 100kW/220Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine familiar from the 2 Series Active Tourer and the Mini Cooper, the BMW 318i sedan will land in November, a few weeks after the rest of the overhauled line-up that launches locally next month.

Despite being smaller, the engine mirrors the power and torque outputs of the old 316i’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder, while being a tenth of a second quicker from 0-100km/h (9.1sec) and matching it for combined cycle fuel consumption (5.4 litres per 100 kilometres).

The new 318i is $1100 more expensive than the model it replaces, but gains larger 18-inch alloy wheels, and (along with the rest of the range) adds LED headlights, real-time traffic information, and the ConnectedDrive Lifestyle connectivity system.

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At the other end of the range are two new nameplates, the 330i and the 340i, which take the place of the 328i and 335i respectively.

The price of the 330i is $500 sharper in both sedan ($69,900) and Touring ($73,300) body styles, while the 340i sedan comes in $3140 cheaper at $89,900.

The 330i has big shoes to fill, with the old 328i making up almost 40 per cent of 3 Series sales in the pre-facelift range. To aid this, BMW has eked another 5kW out of its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine for 185kW and 350Nm in total, helping cut another 0.1sec out of its 0-100km/h sprint (now 5.8sec), while also reducing fuel consumption by nine per cent (5.7L/100km).

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More significant are the upgrades to the 340i’s turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine. Power and torque rise 15kW and 50Nm over the 335i to 240kW and 450Nm, hacking almost half a second off its 0-100km/h sprint (now 5.1sec). Despite this, fuel consumption also falls from 7.2 to 6.8L/100km.

Even with the price cut, BMW has added a number of features previously offered as options into the 340i including adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, high beam assistant, parking assistant, in-car internet, leather-trimmed instrument panel and heated front seats.

The price of the entry four-cylinder, the 320i, rises $400 to $61,900 (sedan) and $65,300 (Touring). Engine outputs are unchanged (135kW and 270Nm), though fuel consumption improves marginally to 5.8L/100km.

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Pricing for the sole diesel in the 2016 BMW 3 Series line-up, the 320d sedan, is unchanged at $63,800. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine now produces 140kW and 400Nm (up 5kW/20Nm). It’s two tenths quicker to triple figures (7.2sec) and also uses a fraction less fuel (4.4L/100km).

Further enhancing their value over their pre-facelift equivalents, the 320i and 320d variants now come standard with DAB+ digital radio.

BMW Australia’s decision not to replace the old 318d Touring variant means there’s no longer a diesel-powered 3 Series wagon available in the local line-up.

Distinguishing the 2016 BMW 3 Series from the pre-facelift model are new front and rear bumpers, enlarged exhaust outlets and new L-shaped tail-lights on the outside, while new chrome accents, high-gloss centre stack materials, and new ambient lighting seek to enhance the premium ambience inside the cabin.

More: 2016 BMW 3 Series Review

 

2016 BMW 3 Series pricing (plus on-road costs):
318i sedan $54,900 (+$1100)
320i sedan $61,900 (+$400)
320i Touring $65,300 (+$400)
320d sedan $63,800 (no change)
330i sedan $69,900 (-$500)
330i Touring $73,300 (-$500)
340i sedan $89,900 (-$3140)

 

2016 BMW 3 Series specification highlights:
318i:
18-inch alloy wheels
Sport line
Head-up display
Lane change warning
Driving Assistant
360-degree surround-view camera system
Navigation Business infotainment system
Sensatec upholstery
LED headlights
ConnectedDrive Lifestyle connectivity system
Real-time traffic information

320i/320d (gains over 318i):
Sport automatic transmission
Lights package
Electric front seat adjustment with driver’s-side memory
Adaptive M suspension
DAB+ digital radio

330i (gains over 320i/320d):
19-inch alloy wheels
Luxury line
Navigation Professional infotainment system
Leather upholstery
Comfort access system

340i (gains over 330i):
M Sport package
Electric roller sunblinds for rear window
Roller sunblinds for rear side windows
Harman Kardon surround sound system
Extended Bluetooth system
Lumbar support
Variable sport steering
BMW Individual leather instrument panel
Heated front seats
Adaptive LED headlights
LED foglights
Adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go function
Parking assistant
Concierge services
Internet
High beam assistant




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