The BMW 3 Series is a very important car for BMW. Now in its seventh generation, the 3 Series saloon has traditionally been one of the biggest selling models IN BMW’s extensive range. The seventh generation car debuts today at the Paris Motor Show 2018. It gets a revised look that doesn’t differ too dramatically from the previous generation, reduced weight and new standard options.

The 3 Series was first launched in 1975, making it 43 years old this year. The new car is 85 millimetres longer than its predecessor, 16 millimetres wider and just 1 mm taller. The wheelbase is 41 millimetres longer and 43 mm wider at the front, 21 mm wider at the rear.

The 3 Series retains the BMW kidney grille, framed by a single surround and split with wide bars. The customary BMW twin headlights are also apparent. Both the front foglights and the Air Curtains are integrated into the outer air intakes. The ‘Hofmeister kink’ is now integrated into the C- pillar, giving the rear doors a “freestanding” glass edge.

The chassis features 25 per cent increased rigidity and, overall, some 55kg have been shed from the weight, 20 kg from the body along and 7.5 kg from the subframe. M Sport models will get electrically controlled dampers switchable between Comfort, Sport and Adaptive.

Engines will include a BMW 330i and the BMW 320d, both with four cylinder power units. The 320d gets 190hp and a peak torque of 400Nm for a 6.8 second 100 km/h sprint. The 330i, 258 hp and 400 Nm of torque with a 100 km/h time of 5.8 seconds.

The 3 Series will feature a new generation of six-speed manual gearbox and an eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The diesel power unit gets an xDrive all-wheel-drive system from launch.

Inside, the instrument panel has a modern look. The instrument cluster is new and the control display completes the grouping. The transmission tunnel does feature a conventional iDrive controller after all, leaked photos had suggested otherwise. Boot capacity is 480 litres.

There is more standard equipment than ever before. The entry level SE model features Extended LED headlights with cornering light and eyebrow indicators, BMW Light Carpet, interior Ambient Lighting with up to 11 colour settings, reversing camera and latest generation reversing assistant, electric folding rear view mirrors, three-zone air conditioning and enhanced acoustic glazing.

All 3 Series models will benefit from 40:20:40 split folding rear seats and folding rear headrests as standard. The entry model features a leather Sport steering wheel and BMW Live Cockpit plus, with an 8.8-inch central instrument cluster.17 inch wheels are standard too.

The M Sport models get larger air intakes and a different bumper, side skirt and rear apron design. BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim, kidney grille bars in High-gloss Black, air intake trim in High-gloss Black and a rear diffuser in Dark Shadow are also available together with Sports seats, an M leather steering wheel, an anthracite-coloured BMW Individual headliner and interior trim strips in Aluminium.

From launch, customers can choose from two non-metallic colours and ten metallic shades including Portimao Blue metallic which is unique to the M Sport model.

The new BMW 3 Series goes on sale from 9 March 2019 with prices starting from £33,610.

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