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What Do You Want to Know About the 2019 BMW 3 Series?

Photo: BMW
Photo: BMW
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

It’s time again for a new BMW 3 Series. We do know the manual gearbox is pretty much dead this time, and we also know a lot of the engineering behind its new chassis. What we don’t yet know is what it’s like to drive. I’m about to find out, and I’m curious what you would like to know.

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(Full Disclosure: BMW wanted us to drive the new 2019 BMW 3 Series so bad they invited my boss, Patrick George. But at the last minute he wasn’t able to make it, so now I’m going.)

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The drive is technically embargoed, but I’ll likely be driving it on both the street and the track. I think I will be in the new 330i M Sport. Maybe also/or the M340i or M340 xDrive, I really don’t know yet. Maybe there will also be diesel cars there, but BMW didn’t let me drive the diesel X5 at an event earlier this year. I’m going to try.

Though more variants could follow, the U.S. starts off by getting the 255 horsepower 2.0-liter 330i and 330i xDrive, and well as the 382 horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six M340i. Both engines are turbocharged and more powerful than the models they replace. The new 3 Series is bigger than before, and larger than ever, but it is lighter—up to 121 pounds lighter compared to its similarly equipped predecessor.

The sad news is there will definitely be no manual option on this trip, but cross your fingers for the upcoming M3, both topics of which I’m sure will be hot topics chatting with the engineers.

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But how does it look in person? Did all of that talk about improved steering feedback actually amount to something? It got bigger, but can you feel it? How’s the new interior? Is this still the sport sedan benchmark, and does that even matter when the world’s been taken over by SUVs?

If you have any questions along those lines, or even anything oddly specific, I’m about to spend three days with the team behind the car, so here’s your chance to get an answer.

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DISCUSSION

mjensenwv
move-over-peasant-I-have-an-M5-in-the-shop

My last time driving a 30i series BMW, I was severely underwhelmed. Like, it didn’t drive like a BMW, it felt like a boring old camry or accord (which, to be fair, can be had in non-boring versions now as well). It wasn’t until I test drove a 40i trim with a manual (found a dealer that had one and would let me test drive it, which was fantastic) that it really felt like a 3 series. My previous BMW to the M5 was an old E46 330i, which was fantastic. But I remember even the 25i trims on those were great cars, just lacking that extra little oomph of the higher trim/engine.

Does this still hold true? Is the 30i a boring ride? Or have they managed to make the 30i just as much fun, but just with a little less power?