Did BMW do enough with the 3 Series LCI?

3-Series | May 8th, 2015 by 19
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BMW is fresh off of its release of the new 3 Series LCI, which made some minor updates to the F30 3er, such as headlights, …

BMW is fresh off of its release of the new 3 Series LCI, which made some minor updates to the F30 3er, such as headlights, taillights, some interior bits and some chassis tweaks. This update was very much needed, especially the chassis tweaks, being that the 3 Series now resides in some very fast moving competition. The new Mercedes C-Class is an excellent all-rounder. It may not have quite the handling chops that the 3 Series has, though it doesn’t handle like a wheelbarrow either, but it may edge the 3er out in terms of luxury.

So the C Class is a complete package. The Audi A4 is growing quite old, but should be updated very soon. Lexus’ IS is becoming more and more competent and Cadillac seems to be snagging all of the headlines, with its ATS. The point of all of this is, the BMW 3 Series is facing stiffer competition than ever. So did BMW do enough with the 3 Series LCI?

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Once you notice the changes of the new LCI 3 Series, you can see that quite clearly. Admittedly, though, it takes quite a while to notice them, as they aren’t very apparent. The exterior didn’t need much updating, as it wasn’t bad looking, but the new headlights, taillights and front intakes just tighten the whole package up. The M Sport Line is the most handsome of the bunch, with the other Lines being a bit more dull.

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The slight interior tweaks have actually made great strides in rectifying some material and quality complaints the pre-LCI car had. And while the F30 3 Series’ interior is excellent, in terms of design and ergonomics, it still lacks a bit compared to the C Class.

Related: Comparison between 3 Series LCI vs. pre-facelift

The chassis and steering tweaks, along with the updated powertrains, should be where BMW leaps ahead of its competition. When the F30 originally debuted, it was given a sort of lukewarm welcome, as many felt that its driver connection lacked a bit from its E90 predecessor. It still handles great, it just seems to be muted. Many prefer the Cadillac ATS’ steering and handling to the F30, which is painful to BMW faithful. However, now that BMW has had some time to benchmark its stiff competition, and made some tweaks to the chassis and steering rack, it’s a good possibility that the post-LCI F30 gets its Mojo back.

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The real Ace up BMW’s sleeve is in the powertrain department. BMW has never faltered to its competition, in terms of powertrains. This is especially true for BMW’s N55 turbocharged I6 engine in the F30. The N55 is one of the smoothest, most linear and enjoyable engines on the market and leaps and bounds ahead of everything else in its class. BMW will be launching a new B58 3.0 liter, turbocharged straight-six engine in the upcoming 340i and should be a monster of an engine. With 326 hp, compared to the 300 hp in the 335i, the 340i should pack a serious punch. The upcoming 330i will feature a turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 252 hp, up 12 from its 328i predecessor which is already fastest and most economical in class. The new engines, if a truly an upgrade over the outgoing ones, should blow the competition away, being that their predecessors already do.

With Audi readying a new A4, Mercedes’ new C-Class gaining world-wide praise and Cadillac relentlessly hunting BMW, the LCI F30 3 Series has its work cut out for it. Hopefully this new update is enough to keep the 3er on top of the segment. Only time will tell, but I can’t wait to find out.

19 responses to “Did BMW do enough with the 3 Series LCI?”

  1. Kaisuke971 says:

    Don’t forget Jaguar’s superb XE though

  2. Jeremy Snyder says:

    really wish that BMW had chosen to offer their upcoming touchscreen infotainment starting w/ the LCI 3-Series……… start the ‘tablet-like’ tech w/ younger buyers (the key 3-Series demographic)!! and… where is the Apple CarPlay– i thought that BMW said they were on board for it??

  3. Shawn Sepehry says:

    @jeremy that’s a great point. That would have been nice.

    I really like how the headlights finally deliver what was promised on the concept. The pre-lci headlights attempted the horizontal light that connects to the grille but it was disjointed. The new headlight looks excellent. too bad the 4 series and in that regard M3/M4 don’t get the revised headlight. Also noticed that Hella is the headlight supplier again.

    In terms of interior, I hope the saddle brown color is available more widely. Currently it’s only available for the 320i which is a shame since it’s such a handsome color.

    • JRobUSC says:

      Saddle brown interior was available on the 328 and 335 with the Luxury Package. I didn’t think it was available on the 320 at all. Either way with the LCI it’ll be available on the 328 and 340 with the Luxury Line and Sport Line (which is now the “base” car). Not sure about the M Sport Line or 320.

  4. Curamrda says:

    As owner 5th BMW, I have to sadly say..the new Mercedes C class is way way much better from exterior and in interier, except engines… :D

    • Icebreaker says:

      as a owner of a C250 AMG Sport C class i can say the 3 series is a much better car than the C class. drive one yourself its a harsh ride will be selling it soon as the next gen 4 series is out and dont be fooled by the interior. it looks like a baby S class inside and out but feels no where near an S class.

      • iLeicaMike says:

        My biggest take away from Mercedes vs. BMW design language comes from aging; I see older (not old, just pre-current gen design language) Mercedes on the road and I feel like I can pinpoint the date range from when they were made.

        I make similar obersvations with older BMW’s, but I find the design to age much better. Where I see a Mercedes C-Class and think to myself “that looks like a 2003-2004ish model” I comparatively look at a BMW and think “that looks like it was made in the 2000’s” or “that looks like it was made in the 90’s”.

        BMW may lack the same level of flashy trim, swooping curves, and constantly changing LED execution in the headlights; however their restraint appears to pay off as time goes in, creating a more timeless look.

        As the two companies continue to polarize in their design language I feel like Mercedes is perfectly hitting that “WOW!” factor for the right now, but BMW hits that “Now that’s cool!” factor over the course of a decade.

        When it comes to personally buying preferences, if I only focus on aesthetics, I will always choose to spend my money on the vehicle that will age well rather than the vehicle that will impress my friends for a year or two. It may not turn as many heads daily, but it will turn heads significantly longer.

  5. Brit says:

    It is hard for BMW to put all new tech in 3 series LCI indeed, like the brand new I Drive system and touchscreen etc which will first appear on the 7 series, as it won’t make 7 series as special and differentiates it as a flagship model (which clearly is what BMW is failing to do – making the 5 series interior looking TOO similar to the 7), but hey can BMW just tweak more on the exterior design? At least like the 1 series (BMW in the past have greater tweaks made on LCl models, like E46, which looked a lot better than the pre-facelifted design). They seemed to give up LCl buyers and think they are good enough to attract new buyers but as more people know how to compare now, while the new C Class is SO good and the new A4 is coming up, people will just go for the other two brands. I don’t think any smart person would buy a LCI BMW as 2 years later they will redesign the whole thing again. Yeah BMW continue to cut cost and see when you will lose you sales more and more when you stop to innovate and make better cars.

    • Icebreaker says:

      i drive a C class brand new 2015. the 335i is way better than it. only good thing about the C was its better than last gen c class. new 3 series will be coming soon too.. the 3 series has been out since 2012.. thats why they cant add much in new features will be in the next gen version. I will be selling my C class for a next gen 4 series. and i dont think bmw is losing any sales. looking at the recent sales report bmw has been ontop of all audi merc and lexus. Lol your comment is so fucking stupid.

      • Brit says:

        I have never said that the C has better driving dynamics of the 3 series, just it has a much better interior and that’s so obvious, considering it is not THAT much newer than the 3 series. In the real world, how a car looks inside is more important and a more obvious wow factor for general customers, who don’t know much about cars because that’s what they see. Also, looking at their newest cars like X5 and X6, X3 and X4, X5 and X6, X3 and X4 share the same front design AND same interiors, not to mention the 2 series Gran Tourer and Active Tourer again share the same designs. They are just sort of overlapping different models and fail to differentiate one from another. Yeah the next gen 4 series LOL it won’t come out before 2018 which will be at least 3 years newer than the current C class so it isn’t sensible comparing the two. The matter is Mercedes can still compete with their rivals after a couple of years, with their LCl models (look at the E-class) but BMW don’t make much improvements in the LCl while are usually more conservative at the first place in designing the interior. Everything isn’t stupid until I saw what you said on the sales. The gap between sales of BMW and its rivals are narrowing, while others have higher sales increase than BMW, while worldwide sales and sales in markets such as China have been surpassed by Audi, while the new S class is selling so well so Merc is also catching up. Fanboy do some research. I have always liked BMW but it has been too conservative in recent years (other than its i-brand) .

  6. Michael Christopher Frazier IV says:

    Nope. But then again the last 3 series appeared to evolve all the way until they finally replaced it with the F30. They always start with basic and then end with diva.

  7. Tung says:

    Sorry guys. This level of LCI won’t be enough to help BMW fight against Mercedes. The revised 3 series looks like the same old one so won’t sell well despite the new engines.

  8. Lawrence says:

    I really don’t understand from the article what all BMW has done with the vehicle besides the changes to the lights. I cannot see the difference with the interior. It would be great if you can detail the mechanical changes such as what they did to improve the chassis, steering, etc. I really think styling wise, this is a terrible effort to try and increase sales and market share – the design team needs to put more effort into LCIs and understand why there is a need to have a refreshed design every three years. This LCI will age terribly!

  9. joseph_rma says:

    It will sell, despite it’s minor changes. While C-class is more
    luxurious and good looking (especially inside) BMW is still
    segment-leader and overall better car if you consider driving dynamics, practicality and people satisfaction in general. Such a great limousine (and wagon) .

  10. Stan says:

    What the heck does LCI mean? If you’re going to use acronyms tell us somewhere what they mean. I’m certain, in this context, that it doesn’t mean “Landing Craft Infantry” which is what google pulls up from Wikipedia.

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