What’s important is that the unbending and rigid Germans have become a bit more flexible to accommodate market realities with the new 3 Series – this out-and-out driver’s car now has become rear-seat passenger friendly. With an extra 50 mm wheelbase, there is more room at the back while the car is also slightly bigger than its predecessor. Then, the ride quality of the last-gen version was stiff and now it’s become more pliable. Also, the steering feel, which was tough enough to give you a hernia, is now light and yet communicative. So is it the perfect compact luxury sedan then? Well, not yet.
For one, the new 3 Series does not break new ground in styling. Though good-looking, it seems merely an evolution in design over its predecessor. The classic test of that was while driving the 328i and 320d in Mumbai – the red petrol one turned heads all the time, while hardly anyone stopped to stare at the silver one. It was the colour and not the form! The interior design, too, is conventional BMW and not a great leap forward.
If you are used to BMWs, well then, the new 3 is not going to surprise you. It would have been great, for instance, if the silver elements peppered around the interiors were of real, cold metal than plastic. But there are some nice elements that are worth pointing out: the side bolsters on the front seat in the Sport Line trim are supportive especially under hard cornering and driving freaks would love the Sport display that indicates how much power and torque of the engine you are using at any given point of time. Also, some additional sound deadening would have been nice. It’s not exactly cheap, though. The base variant of the 320d is priced at Rs 28.9 lakh, while the 328i goes for Rs 37.9 lakh (all prices ex-showroom, Mumbai). You need deep pockets, but the new 3 Series is such a car that it makes its brand ambassador superfluous.
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