BMW’s signature vehicle grows by 93mm, with 50mm added to the wheelbase to create more cabin space.
A revised engine line-up for the initial five-model range comprises two four-cylinder turbo petrols, two four-cylinder turbo diesels and one six-cylinder turbo.
Each is mated to a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, with all but the base model 318d including paddleshift levers behind the steering wheel. Standard engine stop-start technology contributes to fuel economy improvements of up to 30 per cent.
The BMW 3-Series range starts a fraction higher than before, with a $56,400 price tag for the 318d, though the German car maker has set out to expand the number of standard features throughout the line-up while other models are cheaper than their predecessors.
The 320i is the entry-level petrol, costing $57,600.
BMW’s second diesel offering is the 320d that is $1200 more than the model it replaces but now adds fully electrically adjustable front seats, push-button engine start and front parking sensors.
The four-cylinder turbo 328i is $5000 more affordable than the six-cylinder 325i it replaces, while the range-topping 335i – until the arrival in 2014 of the M3 – cuts $16,300 from its previous sticker to start from $91,900.
The 335i also now includes more standard features, such as satellite navigation, a Harman Kardon audio, Bluetooth audio streaming, voice control and internet connectivity.
It’s the fastest but least fuel efficient 3-Series, with the 225kW/400Nm 335i accelerating from 0-100km/h in 5.5 seconds and using 7.2 litres of fuel per 100km.
The 105kW/320Nm 318d and 135kW/380Nm 320d share official consumption of 4.5L/100km, though the 320d is 1.6 seconds quicker in the benchmark sprint (7.6 v 9.2sec).
The 328i’s four-cylinder turbo produces 180kW and 350Nm, propelling the variant to 100km/h in 6.3 seconds. Fuel consumption is rated at 6.3L/100km – a 24 per cent improvement over the old normally aspirated six-cylinder 325i.
BMW says larger rear door apertures make ingress and egress easier, while the extended wheelbase is said to improve rear kneeroom by 15mm.
Boot space expands by 20 litres to 480L and there’s a new 40-20-40 split arrangement for the rear seats.
The new BMW 3-Series range is offered for the first time in three different trim ‘lines’, consisting of Sport, Luxury and Modern – with each line coming with its own list of exclusive options.
A feature called Driver Experience Control is also standard across the range, offering up to four different modes – Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Eco Pro – that allows the driver to change the characteristics of the engine, steering, throttle and stability control system to suit their preference for more exhilarating driving or saving fuel.
Click to read CarAdvice's review of the new BMW 3-Series.
The new BMW 3-Series goes on sale over February and March, with the 320d, 328i and 335i variants available now and the 318d and 320i available to order from March production.