Having been on sale in India for seven full years now, the aging sixth-generation BMW 3 Series has finally bowed out. Set to take its place in the line-up is the all-new, seventh-gen BMW 3 Series, which will be launched in India on August 21, 2019. The brand-new 3 Series is part of the 12 launches BMW has lined up for India in 2019, and will be preceded by the launch of the range-topping X7 SUV and 7 Series facelift on July 25.
Underpinned by the same Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform as the 5 and 7 Series, the new 3 Series (codenamed G20) is bigger and lighter than its predecessor. On the outside, the basic silhouette of the 3 remains, save for a marginally elongated glasshouse, leading to a less-pronounced ‘three-box’ silhouette. L-shaped LED daytime running lights replace the round ones, the kidney grille is bigger, the thick shoulder line runs above the door handles rather than through them, and the L-shaped tail-lights are almost rectangular, which is the biggest departure from the classic BMW design.
The current 3’s cabin is among the more spacious ones in its segment, but if you were hoping the increase in size for the new-gen model would lead to an increase in cabin space, you’ll be disappointed – the new 3 Series has exactly the same interior space as the sixth-gen car. BMW says customers looking for more interior space prefer to move up to a 5 Series. That said, it is more practical than before, with the rear seats getting a 40:20:40 split as standard, more storage spaces on the inside and a reshaped boot – but this is also the same size as before, at 480 litres.
As standard, the new 3 Series gets an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, with a bigger 10.25-inch unit available as an option. It is controlled via BMW’s latest iDrive system – the same as on the new BMW X5 – which can be controlled via the rotary dial, touchpad, touchscreen, voice commands or gesture control. As you might expect, the 3-series’ equipment list has grown too. Even lower trims will likely get a reverse camera, LED headlights and three-zone auto climate control. On higher variants, the car now gets a digital instrument cluster, which retains a ‘two dial’ configuration but can also display a host of other information at the centre. It’ll be interesting to see how many of these features BMW chooses to provide on the India-spec 3 Series.
For India, BMW will likely carry over the current car’s engine options, which includes a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in the 330i – but with a bit more power and torque, now up to 258hp and 400Nm, respectively – and a 2.0-litre diesel in the 320d, producing 190hp and 400Nm of torque. Also making the transition is the 8-speed automatic gearbox.
The new BMW 3 Series will take on the Mercedes-Benz C-class, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and the upcoming Volvo S60, and is expected to sport a small hike in price. Expect the 2019 BMW 3 Series’ price range to start at Rs 41 lakh for the base diesel, and go up to Rs 48.5 lakh for the top-of-the-line petrol (all prices, ex-showroom).