The G20 generation of the BMW 3-Series is regarded to be one of the better-looking cars in the automaker’s lineup because of its restrained yet handsome proportions. But as with all cars, they undergo midlife facelifts (or Life Cycle Impulse in BMW-speak) to keep the model fresh and interesting before it eventually gets replaced with an entirely new model.
Considering the current model is nearing four years of age, it was only a matter of time before it got an update. It receives a much-needed technology upgrade, sure, but more important, the latest iteration does not receive a massive kidney grille up front.
All jokes aside, it looks like BMW gave the 3er plastic surgery with an L-shaped motif as a general theme. Gone are the E46-esque kinks in the headlights, in favor of a smoother shape with inverted “L” DRLs. Its “cheekbones” have been chiseled with larger L-shaped vents. While the kidney grille retains the same proportions, the bottom grille has been enlarged, which is the equivalent of getting plumper lips.
Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are now standard, but you can always opt for wheels up to 19-inches if you crave bling for your Bimmer. Finally, you can see the L-shaped motif extend to the rear end, where a more aggressive diffuser takes up the lower portion of the rear bumper.
You can also get the M Sport package if you want a little more excitement, and that comes with a honeycomb kidney grille, new front and rear aprons, and a staggered set of 18-inch M light-alloy wheels.
Step up to the BMW Performance models from BMW M, and that grants trapezoidal exhaust pipes and black M mirror caps. The top-of-the-line M Sport package Pro features all of the above, plus Shadowline (blacked-out) trim and lights, and M Sport brakes with red calipers.
The cabin of the G20 LCI receives heavier updates, for the better. It gets the large BMW Curved Display (which combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle and a 14.9-inch infotainment screen) running the iDrive 8 OS. It supports over-the-air updates, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an eSIM with 5G connectivity.
Because of this, the dashboard layout has been redesigned to accommodate this new user interface, with climate controls relegated to the infotainment (or controlled via voice). And, of course, it comes with modern driver assistance and safety systems, with options for a heads-up display and advanced driver assists like radar-based cruise control and parking assistance systems.
Engine choices range from the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel and a turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line-six (either in diesel or gasoline forms). Oh, and there’s a plug-in hybrid version.
The eight-speed Steptronic transmission comes as standard, with the option for an eight-speed Steptronic Sport with launch control and “Sprint” functions. Drivetrain options include either rear- or all-wheel drive.
This update to the 3-Series will be launched in July 2022, where both models (sedan and wagon) will be produced at BMW Group Plant Munich, while the sedan will also be made at BMW Group Plant San Luis Potosí in Mexico.