The BMW 3 Series has been a hallmark of the German brand for almost five decades. Now in its seventh generation, the venerable compact executive sedan is known for its all-roundedness, fulfilling the Goldilocks principle of size, handling, performance, practicality and styling.
As competent as it may be, the G20 3 Series, like its predecessors, was always due for an update in the years after its release in 2018. That’s precisely what happened last year, as BMW gave its core model a facelift, or Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) if you prefer BMW speak.
So, just how did BMW improve the G20 to keep it relevant while the company focuses on readying its Neue Klasse? Are the changes significant enough to warrant existing owners to trade up? We were brought to Germany to find out for ourselves.
With a starting point that is already quite handsome to begin with, BMW opted to refine its design rather than make changes deemed debate-worthy (consider the X7). As such, the kidney grille has not been enlarged, but rather reprofiled to have a more octagonal shape. This should please fans that were concerned the regular 3 Series would also get the “beaver teeth” after what happened to the M3.
The refinement process also extends to the headlamps, which no longer sports the pre-facelift car’s notched design and now comes with inverted L-shaped daytime running lights instead of U-shaped elements.
Of course, while the upper aperture stays reasonable in size, the same cannot be said of the lower one, especially on the M340i xDrive variant we spent all of our time in. The lower intake on the new M Sport package, which is standard on all variants sold in Malaysia, is much larger than before.