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In-depth reviews

BMW 3-series – design

Safe rather than experimental styling ensures the 3-series won’t be mistaken for anything else

Evo rating
Price
from £40,205
  • Chassis balance, punchy powertrains, interior quality and tech
  • Lifeless steering, harsh M Sport suspension

While several recent BMW models have been lambasted for the size of their kidney grilles there’s a definite case of BMW playing it safe with the 3-series – being too experimental with its best-selling model clearly being seen as a bad thing. It’s instantly recognisable as a BMW and while its proportions generally ape those of the 5-series there is some slightly fussy detailing, particularly around the front grilles where there seems to be too much going on.

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Despite this it’s a relatively cohesive design and BMW is very pleased with its aerodynamic efficiency, being significantly slipperier than the model it replaces, partly down to a very flat floor.

The trademark BMW round headlights are still in evidence although they’re now somewhat more squared off than they used to be, but they do light the road well as adaptive LEDs are standard across the range.

As with many generations of 3-series it could be argued the Touring version is the sleekest-looking model with a slightly more convincing profile and rear-end treatment.

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