By Seán Creedon
I got a lot of envious looks from young males last week when I was driving the new BMW 3-series. My test car came in a Portimao Blue colour which was certainly very attractive.
It was much the same situation with the Ford Mustang Bullitt a few weeks back when teenagers on the footpath were staring at the car as I drove by.
I’m always amazed how much young boys know about these expensive cars. They could probably have told me that I had 258 ‘horses’ working under the bonnet and that it’s 50k lighter than the previous version.
The best-selling BMW’s 3-series has been in production since 1975 and naturally there have been several upgrades over the years.
I drove a 330i M Sport version the seventh generation which is known as G20 and no doubt that was part of the reason for the envious glances from young males.
Externally the car was really classy with LED lights and blacked out grille at the front. The rear windows have privacy glass.
Inside the cabin has been freshened up. The start button is now located in the central console and there is a very chunky-looking steering wheel. I found the controls on the dash easy to use and it was very easy to switch radio stations thanks to that user-friendly control near the gear lever.
The driver’s and front passengers seats are very comfortable and easy to adjust. In the back there is room for three adults, but with a chunky transmission tunnel, it’s probably more comfortable with two people in the rear. With only two people they can leave down the arm-rest with cup-holders.
There is a decent sized boot, but no spare wheel. However, BMW use run-flat tyres. I have never had a puncture in one of those run-flat tyres and I often wonder what state the tyre would be like if you had to drive a mile or so to a garage after getting a puncture.
The car was packed with high-tech connectivity features and functions and my test car also had BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which is voice-activated by simply saying ‘Hey BMW.’
There are three different options if you want to talk to a real person: Concierge Services, Roadside Assistant and Customer Support Service.
I had a chat with a young lady, who said she was based near London. It’s a great service and I am sure it would really help you to get out a ‘spot’ if you get a puncture or run out of fuel.
In the cabin black is the dominant colour with a touch of blue stitching on the seats and unusually on the seat belts the only bit of colour on show.
However, at night the ambient lighting is gorgeous and very relaxing.
There is great rivalry between the German brands and BMW 3series main rivals are probably the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class. Prices start at €53,460 for my 2.0-litre petrol version, but with a plethora of extras the price of the test car came to €61,086.
Those extras include Technology and Comfort packages plus an MSport package, which was the most expensive at €3,056. Road tax is €280.
The steering was really good and it was very relaxing to travel in. And the petrol engine was not thirsty. I don’t get to drive many BMW cars, but after a week in this model I definitely want more.