The new BMW 3 Series – Launch Drive
The new BMW 3 Series – Launch Drive
As a youngster I never understood the craze, this one specific car had it all, the love, a fair portion of haters, the passion and being thrashed hopelessly and still rise above it all to claim the prize of being a firm fave. The 3 series rose to stardom in my view during the E36 era, a good mate of mine Jeffery Robile had a 328i Individual, it wore a bold British Racing green paint job and rolled on stunning multi spoke 18” alloys, the man knew quite well his car was a head turner, you would never catch Jeff’s car dirty, or with dents, he was an absolute gentlemen . He dressed up for his car as well, “Lorenzio my bru, mense must never doubt I own this car” were his words. The drive was impressive with a hard suspension that ensured entertaining drives.
Fast forward to a few years later , my aunt was due an upgrade from her loyal Mazda 323 sedan, she asked me what my thoughts are on the E46 3series, back then I had no idea my path would be where it is now, I had a passion for cars, I suggested a 318i , few days later she rocked up at home with a bright red machine with stunning 17” alloys, sunroof and cream leather with polished wooden inserts, am glad to report that she on her 3rd BMW now, a Dark Blue X1 2.0D, she is looking at the locally built X3 now. My encounters with 3 series sedan are long and form some of my favorite stories.
The 7th Gen 3 series will certainly add memories if the launch we recently attended in stylish Camps Bay is anything to go by. The looks speak volumes, a progressively penned front end that sets it apart even from its BMW siblings (revised more imposing grille), some say it’s a baby Fiver , I think not. Most people buying in this segment are intrigued by looks, the new 3 will add thousands more to the 15 million units sold since it was launched many moons ago. The M sports kit is another addition that’s is simplified yet effective, the tailpieces are solid black(chrome for sports pack), housed within black gloss bits in the bumper, this detail is carried to the front end as well, side detail includes the M logo on both front fenders. A decent selection of alloy wheels are on offer, we would not expect any less for the 3 and the brand. LED headlights were the order of the day for all our launch units.
The Interior is place of affordable opulence, sporty yet luxurious, I love details all round we have come to know BMWs for boring interiors, not the case in the 7th gen, the centre console and cluster are newly designed, a new look that is shared by the upcoming 8 series. Superb execution all round. Space is sufficient and comfort is not lacking even for rear passengers. The drivers seating position is always best, this matters in something as invigorating as the 330i. On launch 2 models were on offer ,Both launch engines offer super fuel consumption and great performance, the 2.0D with 140kw and 400nm of torque is a gem, it meets most requirements with ease, whether its trotting in urban settings, or cruising the freeway it delivers. It is powered by a very advanced turbo charging system, it is just incredible how it can perform the way it does for an oil burner.
The 330i is more performance driven thanks to 195kw of power from a very capable 4 cylinder turbo charged unit. The drive modes found in both models are the ingredient that allows for superb driving pleasure, as they allow for various settings to suit your required experience during drives, at the launch most of us stayed in Sports Mode, I found a notable difference when driving the 19”(M Sports optional) compared to the 18”, the 19” are a tad hard in ride quality due to lower profile rubber. The delivery in the petrol derivative is brutal for a 4potter so much that , BMW aficionados need to chill about the 4cylinder engine emotional issues, there is literally not much difference in performance from the straight 6, in fact I think the 4potter may put the straight 6 to shame.
The 7th Generation lives up to every expectation in dynamism, it has grip for days, you tend to forget you are paddling a rear wheel vehicle. While we are on the topic driving, the newcomer is well equipped with safety tech that sets it levels ahead of its predecessors and competition, from lane keeping assist with steering input and semi-autonomous driving experience. The car can memorize your parking route should you need to reverse out of tight spot. As if that is enough, you can pair your smart phone to work as your key which you would tap on the car door to open. The icing on the cake is being able to activate most functions verbally just by saying “ Hey BMW” . Too cool I tell you. Then standard feature list is decent and made me happy.
Both launch units are priced a similar price of R649 900, with warranty and that comprehensive BMW 5 year/ 100 000 Motorplan.
In closing, the 3 series will definitely continue its success story within the brand and against competitors.
Thanks to BMW SA, Edwards, Lesego and Lerato for a great experience at the launch in Camps Bay Cape Town.
Yours in motoring
Wezile Lorenzio Bonani