BMW’s New 3 Series Is a Top Contender Again
More than 40 years ago, the BMW 3 Series set the standard by which every other compact luxury car is judged. Sporty, precise, and practical, it seemed the sedan (and erstwhile coupe) would rule the roost forever, racking up accolades and garnering more fans with each iteration.
BMW Group design director Adrian van Hooydonk has said the goal for the new 3 Series was to “put a new face on an established foundation.” The signature kidney grille is recognizable but gets a more three-dimensional treatment. Headlamps, which pay homage to the much-loved e46-generation 3 Series, wrap very far into the wings. Front and rear bumpers are more sculpted and muscular. And the cab is pushed as far rearward as possible, giving the car a more athletic stance.
A daytime drive in the 330i takes us onto the highway and north into the hills, where serpentine roads pass trees charred by fire. Although it’s winter, the weather is mild enough to nudge the car’s limits on streets long abandoned by summer crowds. A new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 255 hp and 295 ft lbs of torque, the latter of which is available as early as 1,500 rpm.