Arguably, no car has been a better standard bearer for the BMW brand than the 3 Series. For decades, the compact sport sedan’s sleek, muscular exterior design has been emblematic of BMW’s distinctive aesthetic. More importantly, the 3 Series has offered the rewarding handling shoppers expect from the brand, and as a small, entry-level sedan, it delivers this treat at a relatively accessible price.
BMW has redesigned the 3 Series for the 2019 model year, and it handles the overhaul with the reverence due to a car that has achieved iconic status. The changes made subtly enhance the model instead of seeking to dramatically reinvent it.
The revisions made to the 3 Series’ exterior design are relatively minor, and the sedan maintains its low stance and sinewy sheet metal. Squint and you could mistake it for a model from the previous generation.
Under the hood, the new 3 Series gets upgrades that are designed to boost performance. There’s a new, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine running the show, offering 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque — seven horsepower and 37 pound-feet increases over the previous generation’s output. And there’s a new 8-speed automatic transmission shifting the gears.
Undoubtedly, the 2019 BMW 3 Series is a car with the goods to defend the model’s place at the top of the sports sedan hierarchy. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s without shortcomings.
Below, we take a look at eight great traits of the 2019 3 Series… along with a weakness you should keep in mind before making this BMW your next compact luxury sedan.
As is the case with images in a Rorschach test, we don’t all see the same thing when we look at a car. For some drivers, a car is a practical device used to facilitate transportation. For others, it’s a source of enjoyment that can make life less mundane.
For drivers in the latter camp, the 2019 3 Series stands as an intriguing choice. The 3 Series has always been an entertaining companion, but its talents have been amplified with this redesign. The current model is up to 121 pounds lighter than the previous version, and this facilitates nimble handling. And a new suspension system works harder than ever to smooth out road imperfections and enhance cornering.
Also, the car’s engine and transmission are more capable than ever before. Overall, the 2019 3 Series is a powerhouse in its segment when it comes to performance. BMW estimates that the sedan can sprint from zero to 60 miles per hour in as little as 5.3 seconds.
Exceptionally generous cargo capacity
Today’s compact sedans aren’t as small as they once were. These size increases have brought added utility, making them a practical choice for a wider swath of car shoppers.
Many models in this segment provide more cargo capacity than their predecessors, and this is certainly the case with the 2019 3 Series. This BMW sedan provides a whopping 17 cubic feet of cargo space in its trunk. This is on par with the room provided by a typical midsize sedan, and it represents a 1.2 cubic feet increase over the outgoing model’s cargo capacity. Cargo space for the 2019 Audi A4, a top rival, comes in at just 13 cubic feet.
Drivers who need lots of room for their stuff should take a serious look at the 3 Series if shopping for a small luxury car.
Midsize sedans are a popular choice for shoppers seeking a car that’s equipped to handle family transportation. However, there are compact sedans that have the goods to serve a family well, whether it’s during holiday road trips or commutes to weekend hockey games.
The 2019 3 Series has a cabin that’s spacious enough to keep a family happy. The front seats are comfortable and agreeable. The second row has enough legroom to accommodate tall teens, and BMW claims it’s wide enough to fit three child seats.
With the redesign, BMW has increased the size of the car’s rear door apertures, facilitating easier ingress and egress for second-row passengers. All this makes the 3 Series a solid pick for those who need a sedan with a cabin that’s roomy enough to transport a family.
Broad range of standard comfort and convenience features
Some mainstream brands have built their reputation on offering a generous range of standard comfort and convenience features, but luxury brands have been less magnanimous. This has certainly been the case with BMW. Past base models have tended to be a bit light on standard amenities.
Things take a turn for the better with the 2019 3 Series, and this model is equipped with a bevy of attractive standard comfort and convenience features. Base models come with a panoramic glass roof that adds airiness to the cabin, as well as amenities like automatic LED headlights, LED interior lighting, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and three-zone automatic climate control.
The 3 Series is worth a look for drivers who like the idea of getting lots of standard amenities for the buck.
Up-to-date selection of driver-assist features
Automakers have begun bundling various driver-assist features in ways that facilitate semi-autonomous driving. BMW has gotten on board with this trend by offering a feature it calls Extended Traffic Jam Assistant with the 2019 3 Series.
This optional feature is designed to work in stop-and-go traffic. It supports drivers on highways at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour, and it incorporates a lane-keeping assist system and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability. BMW’s Extended Traffic Jam Assistant also utilizes a drowsy driver monitoring system that will allow drivers to travel without touching the steering wheel if it determines that their attention is safely focused on the road ahead.
Of course, when it comes to driver-assist features, the 3 Series offers more than just an Extended Traffic Jam Assistant. All models come standard with a forward collision warning system with pedestrian detection. And the list of optional features includes a blind-spot warning system and a rear cross-traffic alert system.
Available BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have made life simpler with their ability to respond to a broad range of voice commands in the home. Some automakers have embraced this trend, offering digital assistants that provide support when drivers are behind the wheel.
BMW enters the fray by equipping the 3 Series with an optional Intelligent Personal Assistant. This technology responds to the prompt “Hey BMW,” and it provides aid that is based on an analysis of each driver’s habits and routine. It’s designed to offer smart solutions to problems. For example, “Hey BMW, I feel tired” activates a vitality program that alters the car’s lighting, music, and temperature in ways designed to help the driver feel more awake.
Intelligent Personal Assistant is also able to explain how certain technology features work, and it can provide status updates on how the car is functioning.
Available BMW Digital Key
Modern key fobs can sometimes be quite bulky, and this can make them inconvenient companions in certain circumstances. BMW Digital Key is an innovation that can make key fobs unnecessary for those who own the 2019 3 Series sedan.
BMW Digital Key allows the 3 Series to be locked and unlocked without a key fob, using a compatible smartphone. The car can be unlocked simply by holding the smartphone to the door handle. Once inside, it’s possible to start the engine simply by placing the phone on the wireless charging or smartphone tray.
Note that this technology is compatible solely with Samsung Galaxy smartphones operating with Android 8 and above, and only on select carriers.
Available Remote 3D View feature
If a car has been parked in a location that’s not within eyeshot of the driver, it may be vulnerable to damage and theft. In situations like this, it can provide peace of mind if the driver is able to check in occasionally and see how the vehicle is doing.
BMW’s Remote 3D View feature makes this possible, and it’s optional on the 2019 3 Series as part of the Parking Assistant package. This amenity allows drivers to summon a three-dimensional live image of the car and its immediate surroundings to their smartphone. In so doing, it serves as a tool that can be used to monitor the vehicle when it’s parked far away.
The 2019 BMW 3 Series impresses with its innovative technology, and its large trunk makes it a practical ally. However, its most potent asset is its fun-to-drive disposition, and this car stands out as being one of the most entertaining picks in its segment.
With its 2019 redesign, the 3 Series continues to set the standard in its segment, raising the bar just a bit higher.