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Buying

What should I be paying?

BMW has aimed to clean up and rationalise the 3 Series line-up to make the configurator feel less of an online role-playing game rich in sprawling landscapes and confusing inventory lists. Part of the G20’s update has seen the base SE trim fall by the wayside and the range separated simply into Sport and M Sport trims. Both get the huge, curved touchscreen as standard, you’ll be delighted to know.

Sales of the 3 Series have been mightily consistent since its 2018 launch, with around 20,000 saloons and 6,000-odd Tourings finding British homes each year. Not bored of stats? Around 15 per cent of those come from M Performance – those 6cyl M340i and M340d models – while in the car’s homeland, 70 per cent of buyers go for the estate.

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Pub trivia over, it’s time to guide you through buying one. Naturally anyone dabbling in a company car tax scheme will beeline for the 330e and we won’t stop them. While it’s notably heavier than regular petrol or diesel Threes, it handles just as well and its on-paper stats steamroller much of the competition.

For the rest of us, the 320i and 320d capture plenty of the 3 Series magic and will be as sweet to drive as you’d hope, if a little undramatic. The 330i is a satisfying compromise but the M340 models really do feel just a bit special; the M340i petrol performs (and is priced) like M3s of old. It’ll be an enormously gratifying daily partner if you can stomach its £55k tag; fuel economy in the mid-30mpg zone should be eminently achievable to help counter the purchase or leasing price. Upgrading to a Touring adds around £1,400 to each 3 Series. Who needs an SUV? 

Options have mostly been grouped up into packs. The Comfort Pack (£1,050) brings a heated wheel and electric bootlid and the Technology Pack (£1,900) brings a fancy Harman/Kardon stereo, head-up display and wireless charging, for instance. The M Sport Pro Pack (£2,800) is available on cars already in M Sport trim and brings 19in alloys, M Sport brakes with red or blue calipers, adaptive suspension and a host of styling flourishes (with black detailing and a dainty rear spoiler).

Go for either the M340i or M340d and you can even add a carbon roof as seen on the full-fat M3. Long story short, a £65k ‘stock’ 3 Series is easily achieved in a world not too advanced from one where M3s used to cost below £50k.

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