The BMW 3 Series in its current shape was launched in 2019, and ever since then, I've always felt like the new design was a few steps backwards. Last to leave a positive impression was the E90 shape, a model that still puts a glint in my eye when dressed in full M Sport regalia, or moreover, an M3 of that era. This past week BMW launched the update of the current 3 Series, known to the Germans and the rest of the world as the LCI (Life Cycle Impulse). Finally, the brand has redeemed the 3 Series nameplate.

Exterior upgrades

From the front, you’ll notice a more aggressive bumper with wide intakes. Above this is a new kidney grille that has been widened to give the BMW a more aggressive and intimidating stance. It works. A tweaked set of headlamps that are now also slimmer, in line with that kidney grille, have C-shaped daytime running LED lights and LED headlights as standard across the range.

BMW has exchanged the 3 Series’ conventional door handles for a set of integrated handles, which we first saw in the current 2 Series. At the rear, the LCI now has slim light clusters, wider diameter tailpipes, and flared wheel arches at the back.

Interior upgrades

There have been extensive updates made to the interior too. For starters, the new 3 Series LCI now features a curved infotainment screen that flows from the dash and into the instrument cluster. This seems to be the trend with vehicle manufacturers these days, Mercedes-Benz has been at it for a while, and we recently saw this type of dual screen in the new Kia Sportage. The software in use here is BMW’s Operating System 8. To de-clutter the interior, manual  AC controls have been erased from this model along with the conventional stick gear selector. Instead, you’ll now select your drive mode using a small tab on the centre stack, adjust your temperature through the screen, and access the vehicle's functions through the same screen using touch. There are a lot of other tech upgrades as well in this new 3 Series, many of which we’ll fully explore in our full review of the vehicle.


One thing worth noting is that BMW is moving towards bundling features into the different vehicle specs. Meaning you’ll no longer be able to tick boxes of what you want and leave out what you don’t deem necessary. If you want a 320i, you'll receive all the features that come with it. The list of features you can select will be limited. Some of these features you’ll be forced to have will only be available to use through a paid subscription. Think of the pay-as-you-go system.


Model range

A wide range of engine derivatives is available in this updated version, however, the 330d has regrettably been culled. No longer will the glorious inline-six diesel engine be available in the 3 Series, but on offer is a 318, 320i, 320d, 330i, and the snarling M340i. In summary, that’s a 2.0 4-cylinder petrol (318i, 320i & 330i) tuned according to the model for different outputs, a 2.0l 4-cylinder diesel (320d), and a petrol inline-six in the M340i. All variants come standard with an 8-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox.

How much is the BMW 3 Series LCI?

With a starting price of R767 893 for the 318i, you’ll get into one of these spicy LCI models. Should you be more interested in the M340i, be prepared to part with R1.3 million. Models with the M Sport Package will cost more than the starting price below.


BMW 318i R 767,893.60 (starting)

BMW 320i R 832,893.60 (starting)

BMW 320d R 880,313.00 (starting)

BMW 330i M Sport R 953,197.20

BMW M340i xDrive R 1,338,206.60


Gugu Masuku - in proud association with CHANGECARS