BMW 3 Series gets updated cabin and plug-in hybrid adds electric range, but no diesel option for the UK

First time a flat-bottomed steering wheel is used in the 3 Series, too

BMW’s 3 Series is a titan of the automotive era, having come to dominate — and even define — the posh saloon car segment across seven generations and almost 50 years of service (it marks the big five-oh in 2025). To that end, when the car maker decides it has to make tweaks to the 3er, it doesn’t do anything drastic, as the latest round of discreet updates confirms.

Indeed, this is the second “life cycle impulse” — as the German company likes to call a facelift of a given model — in the compact executive car’s current format, following an earlier update in 2022.

To that end, on the outside there are no visual changes at all compared with the outgoings car, save for the addition of two new metallic colours called Arctic Race Blue and Fire Red, as well as a new 19in bicolour design of alloy wheel.

Updated BMW 3 Series

Gains latest infotainment

It’s inside where one of the key alterations have been made, with the already-advanced BMW Operating System 8 infotainment system on the Curved Display dashboard quickly superseded by BMW OS8.5.

This has a revised home screen layout, a personal assistant accessed via voice control and a configurable shortcut system BMW calls “QuickSelect”. This allows various key functions to be used quickly, without having to delve into various submenus on the touchscreen.

Updated BMW 3 Series

Aside from that, new designs of steering wheel (BMW likes chunky ones), illuminated air vents and the fitment of three-zone climate control as standard are the hallmarks of the 2024 model year 3 Series.

Bigger battery for PHEV

Powertrains carry over largely as they were before, although there has been a notable change for the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model, badged the 330e.

This still uses the same 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine alongside an 80kW (107bhp) electric motor for a combined maximum output of 288bhp, but for the updated 330e the battery size has been increased significantly.

Updated BMW 3 Series

Previously with a battery capacity of 10.4kWh, the new hybrid 3 Series has a 19.5kWh battery pack, which — according to official WLTP testing – has more than doubled the electric-driving range from 28 miles to a much more useful 63 miles (expect less in the real world, especially in cold weather).

No more diesels

Alongside that, the 181bhp 2-litre 320i petrol model continues, as well as the M Performance derivative known as the M340i. Apart from the M3 flagship, which gains the same interior and technology updates, the M340i is the only six-cylinder 3 Series model available.

It is also the only xDrive all-wheel-drive variant in the revised 3 Series line-up, as both the 320i and 330e are rear-drive.

Every version of the updated 3er uses the eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox as standard, while the M340i also uses 48-volt mild-hybrid technology in order to try and conserve a bit of fuel.

Updated BMW 3 Series

Thanks to its bigger battery, enabling a longer amount of time on electric power, the 330e PHEV lays claim to a fantastical combined fuel consumption figure of up to 353.1mpg, with CO2 emissions of 19-25g/km.

Interestingly, the German outfit also quotes the 330e’s fuel economy with a fully depleted battery, and then it’s a far more realistic 35.8-39.8mpg, showing the vital importance of regular mains charging sessions in getting the best possible returns from a plug-in hybrid. Expect somewhere between the two extremes, depending on usage.

At the other end of the line-up, power from the M3’s 3-litre inline-six engine has gone up from 503bhp previously to 523bhp now. You can insert your own “squash a Labrador against the rear screen” gag about the M3 Touring estate version right here.

Starts from almost £40,000

Sold, as before, in both four-door Saloon and five-door Touring formats, the 2024 model year BMW 3 Series starts at £39,045 for a 320i Sport Saloon.

The Touring costs from £40,845 for the same engine and spec, with all other versions — including the 330e — in the £40,000-£50,000 band, apart from the M340i. That retails at £57,845 as a Saloon and £59,645 as a Touring.

The M3 Competition model with M xDrive is available as a Saloon for £82,420 or £84,700 as a Touring estate.

All models of the revised 3 Series range are on sale at BMW dealerships and online now.

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