BMW Australia has announced full details of the 2016 3 Series range, with a new three-cylinder engine at the entry level, uprated 2.0 and 3.0 litre petrol motors at the top end and minor pricing adjustments and cosmetic upgrades throughout.
The 328i and 335i badges have been retired too, replaced by 330i and 340i nameplates that reflect their increased power outputs and performance.
The price of entry to the range has risen by $1100, with the new three-cylinder 318i sedan - which replaces the four-cylinder 316i - retailing at $54,900. However, the 318i won't be joined in this market by BMW's other three-pot medium sedan, the 316d
At the opposite end of the scale, however, the 340i sedan costs $89,900, which represents a reduction of $3140 against the 335i that it supersedes.
But that doesn't meant the new 318i is worse value than before. BMW Australia has sharpened the value equation by adding 18-inch alloys, live traffic updates, BMW's ConnectedDrive Lifestyle connectivity suite and LED headlamps as standard.
And that's on top of the generous standard equipment list that was ushered in in the first quarter of this year, which saw every model in the 3 Series range equipped with a head-up display, satellite navigation, surround-view parking cameras, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.
On top of the above, the 320i and 320d now gain a DAB+ digital radio tuner and electric front seats with driver's memory as standard.
Meanwhile the 330i's spec sheet is largely identical to the outgoing 328i. Though it doesn't gain any equipment in this update, the retail price has dropped by $500 to rest at $69,900.
The 340i is also cheaper than the car it replaces, but it scores a slew of new equipment to boot. Heated seats, LED headlamps, LED foglamps, active cruise control, parking assistant and internet connectivity are now standard features, making the 340i a sharp deal at $89,900.
The 1.5 litre three-cylinder of the 318i is similar to that used by the 2 Series Active Tourer and various MINI models, however it's been turned 90 degrees to take power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic.
And with 100kW and 220Nm its outputs are identical to the old 316i's turbo four, though fuel economy is 0.8 l/100km better at 5.4 l/100km on the combined cycle.
Unlike other models in the range, the 318i will be available in sedan form only.
Moving up the range, the 320i sedan and wagon continues to make 135kW and 270Nm from its 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol inline four, with fuel consumption dropping slightly to 5.8 l/100km on average.
The 320d's outputs are also unchanged at 140kW and 400Nm, though like the 320i a modest improvement in efficiency sees consumption fall to 4.4 l/100km
Gone is the 328i badge, though the 2.0 litre four-cylinder that powered it continues in a mildly upgraded form in the 330i. Power rises by 5kW to 185kW, peak torque remains at 350Nm and the 0-100km/h dash is done is a very respectable 5.8 seconds.
But the real performance star is the 340i. It's the first application of BMW's all-new B58 3.0 litre straight-six, and though it shares the same capacity as the 335i's N55 engine it's based on an entirely new modular engine architecture - the same used by the 318i, 320i and 330i's engines.
The result is a motor that produces 240kW and 450Nm, an increase of 15kW and 50Nm over the outgoing 335i. It'll hit triple-digit speeds from standstill in just 5.1 seconds, yet drinks just 6.8 l/100km on the combined cycle.
BMW's M Sport package comes as standard on the 340i, and the variable ratio sports steering rack, previously an option, is now standard-fit on that model too.
Absentees? Well, the ActiveHybrid3 has been discontinued and the 318d Touring is no more. If you want a 3 Series wagon, it'll have to be one that slurps petrol.
The 2016 3 Series range officially becomes available in October, though the base model 318i won't arrive until November. Pricing for the full range is as follows:
- BMW 318i Sedan - $54,900
- BMW 320i Sedan - $61,900
- BMW 320i Touring - $65,300
- BMW 320d Sedan - $63,800
- BMW 330i Sedan - $69,900
- BMW 330i Touring - $73,300
- BMW 340i Sedan - $89,900
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