This is a car with exemplary handling qualities. It feels very poised and precise on a demanding route with lots of tight bends
Ride and Handling
This is a car with exemplary handling qualities. It feels very poised and precise on a demanding route with lots of tight bends. This new 3-Series has a slightly longer wheelbase and wider track than its predecessor and this is evident in the way it drives. Front-rear weight balance is very even, and like all BMWs the car is rear-wheel-drive, which is the preferred choice of any driver who really relishes time spent behind the wheel. There is a pleasingly tactile quality to the steering; it is nicely weighted with plenty of feel.
The calibre of the car’s ride over a wide variety of surfaces is impressive. It shrugged off some rugged surfaces and potholes on a tough test route in southern Spain, chosen for the international launch. An interesting £750 option that BMW offers on this car, and worth having, is the adaptive M Sport suspension that lets you choose between different settings for the damping. These are EcoPro, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. So you can dial in, according to preference or mood, whether you want a softer, more pliant ride or a firmer, sportier one.
Ease of Use
With dimensions of 4,624 mm in length and 1,811 mm wide, this car is 93 mm longer and has a 50 mm longer wheelbase than its predecessor. This benefits rear seat legroom, and the boot has been increased by 20 litres to 480 litres. Stowage around the car has also been upgraded, with all the door pockets front and rear now capable of holding water bottles.
This is a high-tech car with an array of technical kit, so you need time initially to familiarise yourself with all that is on offer as driver aids. One very useful feature is the head-up display, which allows you to view your speed, satnav instructions and other relevant information projected onto the lower portion of the windscreen straight ahead of the driving seat.
Access into and out of the car is pretty reasonable, and the large boot aperture makes loading luggage an easy job.