At the recent international media launch of the new 2019 BMW 3 Series, BMW designer Marc Michael Markefka spent some time walking the journalists through the design – interior and exterior – of the G20 3 Series, highlighting some of its design cues, features and technology updates. This new G20-generation BMW 3 Series is one of the most drastic changes of any 3 Series generation we’ve seen. It’s so significantly different from the car it replaces, the F30-gen, in terms of both exterior and interior design. So naturally, it has become a heated topic among BMW enthusiasts, and not only.

As we’ve said many times before, design and looks are always subjective, and the phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” can’t be closer to the truth. Therefore, it’s normal for most of us to have an opinion on what makes a design beautiful. Take for example the G20 3 Series, which based on its package, trim or engine configuration, comes with different looks, which appeal to a wide range of customers. If you look at the 330i with the M Sport Package, you might immediately fall in love with its aggressive and classy front-end, but if you switch over to the M340i, then you will end up with a front fascia that’s quite different than anything put out there by BMW. Sans the new Z4 M40i.

BMW and its design team also takes feedback from its customers, so with the G20 3 Series, they have tried to alleviate some of the previous concerns.

“There was some criticism in the past generations, looking for example from the rear at the 3 series and 5 series,” BMW’s 3 Series Product Manager, Stephan Horn said. “They looked quite similar so we said this car had to look completely different from every angle compared to the predecessor and the 5 Series. It has to be recognizable as a 3 Series sports sedan,” he added.

INTERVIEW: Jozef Kaban, Head of BMW Design, talks BMW 3 Series

Horn also admitted that their market research found that owners of the 3er were flattered when people thought they drove a 5er, while owners of the 5er weren’t as excited, understandably so.

One area where the new 3 Series shines is the cabin. Inside, it’s all new as well and it may be the most drastic change to a 3 Series’ interior yet. It loses a manual handbrake, something that BMW had always kept despite its competitors switching to electronic parking brakes. The rest of the interior follows its newer siblings such as the BMW X5 and 8 Series. So it gets a sort of waterfall effect from the new iDrive screen down to the center console, almost all of it trimmed either aluminum or wood, depending on what the customer chooses. That trim continues into the climate controls and across the dash. It’s a sharp and stylish design, far better looking than the current F30’s.

So while in Portugal driving the G20 models, we recorded a video which gives us an overview of the design and the philosophy behind it.