There’s a new BMW 3 Series on the block for the 2023 model year. The introduction brings some welcome upgrades to the 7th-generation compact executive saloon, priced from RM283,800
In this mid-cycle facelift (LCI, Life Cycle Impulse in BMW-speak), the G20 has had to step up its game considerably to keep up-to-date with stiff competition coming from its competitors, and although at first glance, it might seem like there is not much to the update, BMW has worked their magic to make the car feel different.
2023 BMW 3 Series variants and prices
The 2023 3 Series G20 LCI is offered in three different variants:
320i - RM283,800
330i - RM317,800
330e - RM298,800
Exterior - small but big changes
As seen internationally, the kidney grille has not been altered/enlarged to match many of the other newer, more contentious designs from BMW.
Flanking them are a pair of slimmed-down headlights with new headlights and daytime running light signatures (DRL). The DRLs now feature an inverted L shape design replacing the minimalist design of the pre facelift model.
Along its side profile, you’d be hard-pressed to point out any real differences to the outgoing 3 Series that debuted in 2018, but the 2023 model does come with 18" M Light alloy wheels, Double-spoke style 848 M Bi-Colour Jet Black.
However, the rear end has clearly gone under the knife with a much more pronounced diffuser-like element from which sprouts the dual exhaust exits.
The M Sport package which comes standard on all variants now makes for an even more visually intense 3 Series. The M Sport package includes M aerodynamics package in high-gloss Black, M Sport suspensions (except PHEV 330e), M High-glow Shadow Line, M designation on the sides, M entry sills, M driver’s footrest and M pedals, sports seats, M Anthracite headliner and instrument cluster with M specific display.
Interior - hello curved screen, goodbye traditional gear selector
Stepping inside, this is where perhaps where 3 Series fans will notice the differences the most, especially for those who sit in front. The switch to a sweeping curved display enclosure is the most visually striking centrepiece of the new 3 Series cabin.
Though the instrument clusters in the Munich automakers have been digital for some time, it has always been placed within a traditional binnacle. Here, the 14.9-inch central touchscreen is paired with a 12.3-inch driver’s display, both powered by BMW’s Operating System 8 software.
A concession here is the slightly downsized air conditioning vents and a more minimal control scheme for the 3-zone climate control system since much of those features are accessed via the touch panel instead.
Another clear differentiator from the previous G20 is the gear selector, which is now controlled by a recessed toggle switch instead of the chunkier selector seen on teh outgoing model.
As a result, the central tunnel area is considerably less cluttered, but it also means it’s less likely we’ll ever see a manual from a BMW of this size again, even in the M cars.
Powertrain - tweaks to the good old tried and tested
Speaking of performance, for the most part, the powertrain selection is unchanged from the pre-facelift 3 Series.
The range consists of 2 powerplants, with one being a plug-in-hybrid. Things kick off with a 320i and 330i that uses an in-line 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol to outputs of 184hp and 300Nm or 245hp and 400Nm via an 8-speed Steptronic transmission. The 330e utilises an in-line 4 plug-in-hybrid powertrain which kicks out a fantastic 292hp and 420Nm of torque.
Interestingly, the fastest 3 Series is the 330i, as it has a top speed of 250km/h, while the 330e has a top speed of 230km/h. The 330e still beats the 330i in a drag race as it can make the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.8 seconds.
Driving Assistance - all the things you'll need to be safe as standard
A comprehensive range of standard driver assistance systems has been equipped on the new 3 Series.
The New BMW 3 Series includes features such as Lane Departure Warning with active steering interventions, Lane Change Warning, Front Collision Warning with brake intervention, Rear Crossing Traffic Warning, Rear Collision Warning, Speed Limit Info and manual Speed Limit Assist. On the other hand, the Parking Assistant features Park Assist, Active Park Distance Control (PDC), Lateral Parking Aid and Reversing Assist Camera.
Also standard is the Reversing Assistant, which keeps a record of up to the last 50 metres driven forward and is able to drive back the exact same way in reverse if desired.
Warranty and ownership experience
Owners of the New BMW 3 Series will receive the complete BMW Group Malaysia Premium Ownership experience which includes:
• BMW 5-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty with Free Scheduled Service Programme
• BMW Roadside Assistance and Accident Hotline
• The BMW Group Loyalty+ Mobile App - BMW Privileges Card
• BMW Service Online
New variants to be introduced in March
At the launch of the new 3 Series, BMW announced that they will be introducing an extra two new variants to the lineup, we're not quite sure what they will be, but when the new 3 Series was launched globally, they did debut an entry-level PHEV called the 320e. This uses a 163PS/300Nm version of the B48 mill paired with a 109PS electric motor for a combined system output of 204PS and 350Nm.