Skip to main content
HOME   |   ABOUT   |   NEWS   |   TECH ARTICLES   |   AT THE TRACK   |   REVIEWS   |   VIDEOS   |   CONTACT ME

All New 2019 BMW 3-series (G20) Details


The wait is finally over (well, it's been over for about 3 weeks now, this is a bit overdue...) but the new 3-series was finally revealed by BMW and there are a lot of changes. I don't know if I am alone in waiting anxiously or not. I have been waiting for a new 3-series for a long time. being a huge 3-series fan but having been underwhelmed by the current generation in two reviews; one was a 2014 335i xDrive M Sport and another was a 2016 M4 DCT. In both cases, I have found them to be hugely capable with almost no compromise on paper but, when you compare them to older 3-series generations, they are missing a lot of the charm and feedback. They are more grown up, more refined, much more capable, but a lot less engaging. My hopes were high for this generation and, judging by what BMW revealed, I have reason to remain hopeful ...


I will get the bad out of the way first. This generation is bigger. Again. It's about 3.3" longer but at least it's lighter and stiffer. BMW says the new 3-series should be up to 120 lb. lighter than a current equivalent model, thanks in part to aluminum hood and front fenders (33 lb. saving alone) and other reductions throughout the chassis. That would put the 4-cylinder 330i automatic in the 3,400 lb. range which is great and is lighter than the current M3 with various weight saving measures including carbon fibre roof and driveshaft. Speaking of automatics... you will no longer be able to get a 3-series with a manual, unless you get an M3 so let's take a moment to mourn the death of another manual. BMW M has previously announced it is still committed to manuals in M models but outside of those, if you want to buy a brand new BMW 3-series with a manual and a clutch pedal, you don't have much time.

With bigger dimensions and death of the manual out of the way (RIP, manuals), there is plenty of good. First is the dreaded steering. BMW acknowledges that the steering in its cars isn't as good as it used to be. BMW claims that that's simply what the majority of buyers want - more isolation from the road. A lot of people say BMW just can't make a good electric steering system. I think BMW is being truthful, to an extent. Ideally, you'd be able to filter out unwanted NVH and let good information and feedback make it through. Porsche seems to be able to do that very well. BMW, I think, cannot. They could give you feedback with unwanted NVH or neither, but not both. They are claiming that steering is now improved, though, thanks to narrower tooth spacing at the centre of the steering rack and wider spacing at the two ends of the rack. That should mean that the system is passively variable, unlike the current electrically variable steering, and should always be more direct off centre, slower at full lock, and varying in between.


The suspension also received a healthy dose of upgrades. It is inherently improved by the weight saving measures dropping up to 120 lb. depending on the model but BMW improved other areas as well. The Adaptive M Dampers make a return as an option, of course, but the base suspension is supposedly much improved. The standard dampers will feature a new hydraulic element that is meant to better control large suspension movements that you'd typically get in a bump or a dip. In the front, the element engages only on the rebound stroke between one-fifth and one-third of the way of the way. In the rear, it engages in the same range but on both compression and rebound strokes.


The new damper design is meant to maintain the softer, more comfortable damping rates the majority of the time while also being able to dampen large impacts/motions to avoid secondary motions. BMW also says that there is "significantly increased camber values" for the front wheels and wider front and rear tracks. The rear track is slightly wider by 0.8" but the front track is up by a whopping 1.8", nearly two inches. In addition to improving handling and grip in general, the front to rear track ratio is much closer to one now improving handling balance, with front track being 62.3" and rear being 62.9". up from 60.5" and 62.1".

Further helping the suspension is that, despite the new 3-series being both larger and lighter, the new chassis is also much stiffer with overall torsional stiffness up by 25% and specific load bearing sections (such as the front strut tower with brace) is stiffer by up to 50%. More camber - significantly more according to BMW - wider tracks, stiffer chassis, improved damping and better steering. All sound like huge steps in the right direction to make the 3-series the sports sedan benchmark it once was.

Then, of course, there is power. There is good news here, too, because there is more of it. A lot more. The M340i - now appears to be the only way to order a 3 series with the straight six (i.e. no more 340i with no M package) - gets the same version of the B58 turbo 3.0 litre straight six as the upcoming Z4 M40i, meaning it will be making a very healthy 382 hp and 369 lb-ft torque. Keeping in mind that BMW engines' hp ratings (and German, generally) appear closer to their whp numbers people see on dynos rather than crank, the change may not be all that huge if BMW just decided to publish numbers similar to SAE testing standards. Otherwise, this is a massive increase of 62 hp compared to the current 340i and bringing the output darn near 400 hp (likely over 400 hp crank in reality). The 330i also sees a slight increase from its B48 turbo 2.0 litre 4 cylinder, although a much less dramatic increase of 7 hp from 248 hp to 255 hp. Torque, though, is up by a good 37 lb-ft bringing the total to 295 lb-ft. that's available from 1,550 to 4,400 rpm, and therefore a lot more power at lower rpms along with it.


Worth mentioning, too, are the upgrades to the M-performance package, specially since you can't order the six cylinder engine without it anymore. It looks very flashy, a bit gaudy even by traditional understated BMW styling standards. But they bring plenty of meaningful upgrades. There are aerodynamic improvements that reduce lift, including a splitter and rear diffuser and spoiler. BMW doesn't state a figure for downforce so it likely still has a slight net lift but should be better than standard. The exhaust is made from titanium and carbon fibre so should be lighter and last longer without rust. Other performance upgrades include bigger, lighter brakes with 4-piston fixed calipers and stiffer springs, dampers, and even bushings. There is no increase in power, but you'll be able to use a lot more of it on track thanks to technology hand-me-downs from the M3, namely the electronic limited slip diff (eLSD). So although the look may scream show-off, the car actually gets really good performance upgrades.


You can still get either engine with either RWD or AWD (xDrive) but, sadly, you can longer get it as a wagon. Diesel might return, but don't count on it just yet. The only other drivetrain confirmed at this point is the plug-in hybrid 330e, which will be making 252 hp when it eventually goes on sale. Sales for the gas-only engines will start in early 2019 but the hybrid will follow a year later in 2020. With diesel potentially on the chopping block, manuals dead, and a wagon not coming to North America, it's going to become harder to find those unicorn 3-series wagons with a diesel, a manual, or both. With that said, if steering really is improved and the driving experience is closer to older 3-series generations, it would be very refreshing and maybe even worth giving up the manual for compared to the F30 generation. I hope I get to drive one soon and find out how much better they are. For now, if you want a new 3-series manual or a wagon (can't have both now as it is), better run to your local dealer and get one.

Follow Ram's Eye The Track Guy on Facebook and Instagram!




Comments







Does An Aftermarket Grille Really Increase Airflow?
I put a Saleen S281 grille to the test to answer that question.

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's
What you need to fit a proper size square tire setup.

How Limited Slip Diffs Make You Faster on Track
What you need to know about how they put power down and pros and cons.

Can Telemetry Explain Schumacher's Talent?
A comparison between Schumacher's and then team mate Herbert's data.






Cayman GT4 Track Review
The first Cayman with proper (911-challenging) power.

Is an EcoBoost Mustang any good on Track?
Two days at the track in a Mustang short 4 cylinders.

2016 BMW M4 DCT Track Review
It's quick (properly quick). But is it fun?

Can a stock Golf Diesel handle a Track Day?
Not your every day track beater.




🔥 Most Visited This Week

2007 Saleen Mustang S281 SC Super Shaker Track Review

"Who's your green student today?" asked a friend and instructor at the BMW Club Atlantic Advanced Driver Training (HPDE) weekend in June this year. I said: "The Saleen." The response was: "Oh, boy." Mustangs, generally, have a reputation for being more power than chassis. Mustang drivers have quite the reputation for.. how to put this nicely? Taking advantage of said power/chassis imbalance. To make matters worse, this particular Mustang was a supercharged Saleen, with a honkin' Shaker scoop sticking out of its hood. Did I mention it was also a convertible? And the owner was someone who's never been on track before but clearly has the speed bug. Having had a Mustang for years and driven a few on track, they don't scare me - generally speaking - but the combination of being convertible and supercharged with a new and excited owner worried me a little. Nevertheless, I shrugged it off and got excited about chatting with the owner to find

Michelin Pilot Super Sports vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 - Street Review

I've been a huge fan of Michelin PSS tires and exclusively bought them for the Mustang over the last four years. So how did I end up here? This year, I was hugely interested in trying an "R-comp" tire. I had my eyes set on Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's for two simple reasons: price and reputation. Although not a true "R-comp" tire on paper, it performs like one by the account of every single test and review I've read (down to wear rates...). They seem like they're easily the most affordable (from a big brand) R-comp tire and combine that with a reputation for having tons of grip, it was an easy top contender. I had my concerns, though. For one, I'm told and have read that they are an autox tire, not really designed for high speed, pressure, and temps associated with open track. For another, the Mustang is a heavy car (as far as track cars are concerned) being roughly 3,800 lb. (including driver), which will amplify the unwanted open track load

Falken Azenis RT615k+ Street and Track Review

Last year, I picked up a 2009 Lancer Ralliart to do a long term test with it as a dual duty track/daily. One of the first things I knew I was going to do was put a decent set of tires on it. The car came without OEM wheels which was actually good because I didn't have to hesitate about getting a good set of aftermarket wheels to support going wider. Thankfully, my friends at YST Auto Halifax  set me up with a great set of Superspeed RF03RR wheels. The Wheels I had never even heard of Superspeed but I trusted the good folk at YST Auto who mentioned some customer cars running on track with them. These wheels are rotary forged which is basically a prerequisite to be taken seriously in this market populated by companies like TSW and Fast Wheels. The wheels looked like a high quality, well finished wheel and each had a "QC" check sticker on. Just for appearances? Maybe, but I found no defects. The wheels seemed easy to balance (didn't need many weights) and at 18.1 lb. f

2014 BMW 335i xDrive M Sport Review

Post-refresh 2015 F30 3-series pictured.  Which is better, an F30 3-series or an E46? The F30 has certainly taken its fair share of heat. But if you thought I was going to say the E46, you'd be dead wrong. The F30 3-series is better. Far better. It is quicker, faster, safer, more practical, more efficient, more refined, quieter.. the list goes on. A lot of reviews and people I talk to consider the F30 to be an abomination. Frankly, I don't see it. You'd have to be mad to think the E46 is better. Completely out to lunch. I don't know who in their right mind would prefer the E46..  Trouble is, since when were people buying sports cars in their right minds? Here, lies the real problem. " Raw rather than refined in its noises, pounding ride, heavy clutch, 50 grand and cloth seats? " "..  and not at all shy about its performance compromises. It always acts like the automotive jock it is, every mile of every day. " " Raw and quite loud.. An