The motoring Journalist’s life is indeed a spoiled one, BMW flew me up this week for two important launches. The all new X1, and the new 3 Series.
To the details. X1 is all new, and bigger and well better. Spacious and not micro SUV by any means, and technology has trickled down to this one from the seven series. VR Sat nav is a real thing. Arrows hanging over tricky intersections on the widescreen replacement dash, that was reserved for the seven and the electrics. The interior is slick minimalist and very BMW. IDrive is no more. No gearlever, just a little nub thingy that is better. The wireless phone charging pad is almost vertical and has a kind of rollbar come seatbelt to hold your phone in place. Slick and future proof. Onboard sim card for connectivity. And of course wireless carplay. Mechanically it is in sDrive 18i and 18d and the performance is adequate. An Full electric is promised soon. This should be far more powerful, having being given a hint at the unconfirm,ed performance. A 400km range is likely for the EV. The diesel promised 5l/100km, but I wasnt seeing that at a demanding launch, so you may just in more normal driving. As for the driving experience, no worries driving this one long distances in comfort, excellent NVH and a spare wheel, not runflats. The looks are very BMW, updated, and ith has a lot more presence on the road than the X1 would seem deserving of. Well done design team. 20” wheels are now available for those of you who never do gravel roads. All th eBMW toys like lane keeping and adaptive cruise control are options, as are msport upgrades. M sport will set you back an extra 40k roughly over the 18I’ 753k and the 790n for the diesel. THe new X1 is a huge step up from the previous gen. I particulalry loved one party trick, hold down the left flappy paddle for a few seconds and get 10 seconds of boost power!
Now to 3 series. It gets that same dash as X1 and most of the BMW Operating System 8 upgrades, but retains the iDrive knob for now. It also loses a more tradiotional gearshift. In 340i guise it is a force to recon with and for many driving enthusiasts it may be the better choice than an upcoming M3 being predictable on the very extreme limit. BMW puts the all wheel drive 0-100 at around 4 seconds, but results have been better. While the 4wd system is awesome and rear wheel drive feel balanced, forget pull of wheelspin, it produces way too much traction. Sound effects and hard driving is awesome, while it purrs like a kitten when driven politely. The down shifting flappy paddle will also give you sprint mode briefly.
Ths suspension is crips and sharp and a delight of feedback when pushed hard in full sport mode. The headsup display is the best I have seen from BMW in any car.
The diesel 320i felt very different to me. A good long distance cruiser for those who only need sedan space, it feels heavier and less rapier like than the M340i. And retain almost all of the niceties. Not the headsup ddislplay though.
Expect to find the extensively facelifted 3 at 880k for the diesel burner and 1.35m for the M sport pro M340i Xdrive with all its carbon and uprated suspension. The base 318i which I didnt get to drive will come in at R767k