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BMW 3-series facelift Test Drive Review

Date: 07 August 2015

Category: Upper medium
Key rival: Audi A4
P11D: £37,720
On sale: September

The 3-series has been a staple of fleets for nearly 40 years, the saloon model being a rite of passage for many executives - so much so that it's become something of a cliché. But it's a cliché for good reason: people want one.

So it doesn't matter if BMW launches a new generation or, as is the case in the car we've just tested, has made a raft of mid-life revisions: the 3-series is still much sought-after.

One of the primary reasons for the 3's success (and 14 million units sold since 1975 certainly qualifies as success) is the way it drives, so the tweaks BMW's engineers have introduced to this revised version are noteworthy.

The good news is that stiffer suspension (thanks to uprated dampers) has helped the 3 retain its dynamic prowess. The changes aren't by any means massive, but it's the marginal improvements that are important, as any sports coach impress upon us these days. So the revised 3 rides slightly better, still steers sharply and accurately, and handles better than ever.

Unfortunately, the only variant available to test was the 340i, powered by a new six-cylinder petrol engine - which won't be troubling the fleet sector. It's a beautifully responsive unit, with lots of performance on tap, but the revised, more efficient diesels will be considerably more relevant for business users.

Elsewhere, there are mild styling revisions (new aprons and air intakes at the front and rear, new lights) and some subtle changes to the cabin, plus even faster connectivity, thanks to the embedded SIM card (in every BMW now produced) being upgraded to 4G.

The changes to the 3-series might be relatively minor, but they're significant enough to keep it ahead of the executive pack - and a cliché in the company car park.

BMW 340i saloon M-sport

Model price range £24,975-£40,330
Residual value 32.8%
Depreciat­ion £25,345
Fuel £8704
Service, maintenance and repair £3688
Vehicle Excise Duty £800
National Insurance £4997
Cost per mile 89.3p
Fuel consumption 36.7mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 179g/km (30%)
BIK 20/40% per month £189/£377
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles
Boot space 480 litres
Engine size/power 2998cc/326hp


Marginally improved, still the executive saloon against which all others are judged
  • Excellent driving dynamics
  • All the latest technology
  • Even more efficiency
  • Not cheap - and neither are the many option