For the last few years, the 3 Series has remained among the last bastions of normalcy in BMW’s designs. While so many of BMW’s cars featured obnoxiously large grilles and overly flamboyant designs–never hallmarks of BMW design–the G20 BMW 3 Series Facelift remained a simple, sporty, and handsome-looking car. Which is why I didn’t blame any enthusiasts for fearing an LCI facelift might ruin the 3er’s handsome good looks. Thankfully, any worries of beaver-tooth grilles can be laid to rest, as the newly facelift 3er is as sharp and handsome as ever.
The Front-End Gets Better
Being a “facelift,” most of the changes here happen up front. The G20 BMW 3 Series Facelift gets an entirely new grille, all-new headlights, and a new lower front fascia. The first thing most of you will notice is the headlight change, though. The pre-LCI 3 Series was unique in the BMW lineup, with little notches in the undersides of its headlights.
Those notches harkened back to the iconic E46 3 Series and gave the G20 quite a bit of character. Those same notches are now gone and the 3 Series’ headlights look more like those from the 4 Series. Those headlights come full LED as-standard and with the brand’s latest anti-dazzle technology. The grille is also slightly different, now a bit sharper and packing M-style double grille slats.
Slimmer Headlights, No Laser Option
Beneath the new grille and headlights, much larger air intakes replace the old, smaller ones. This is probably the largest area of improvement. When the G20 3 Series first debuted, its M Sport front bumper was criticized for having too many lines that went in too many different directions. It was sort of a mess, especially around the foglights. But this new front fascia is more cohesive, crisper, and less fussy. Additionally, the sheer size of the air intakes, particularly the center one, makes the 3 Series Facelift look sportier and more aggressive.
Out back, the 3 Series’ taillights remain the same but that’s not a bad thing; they still look very good. The rear bumper is different, though, and features a pseudo-diffuser in the middle. What’s most interesting is what isn’t there, actually. Most new M Performance models have received quad exhaust pipes, like proper M cars have always had, but the new BMW M340i does not. Instead, it sticks with the standard dual exhausts, which is more traditional.
The BMW M340i models feature distinctive design elements. Most notably, these include the mesh-design BMW kidney grille, new 18-inch M double-spoke light alloy wheels or optional 19-inch wheels, trapezoidal tailpipes, and an M rear spoiler painted in body color. To mark the 50th anniversary of BMW M GmbH, the 2023 BMW M340i models will be offered with the classic BMW Motorsport roundels on the hood, trunk, and wheel center caps.
BMW also offers a few new colors to the 3 Series range. If you get the M Sport package, you can get Skyscraper Gray and M Brooklyn Gray. You can also get BMW Individual Frozen Pure Gray and Frozen Tanzanite Blue.
There’s also now an M Sport Pro package, which comes with more black trim, black chrome exhaust tips, M Sport brakes with red calipers, a rear trunk spoiler, and M-colored stitching for the seatbelts.
iDrive 8 and Large Touchscreen
With the LCI, the 3 Series gets some changes to the cabin as well. For the most part, the 3 Series Facelift gets the same interior as the BMW i4, with the same new iDrive 8 integration, the dual infotainment screen setup, and BMW’s latest digital gauges. By now, most BMW fans are familiar with the look and layout of iDrive 8, having seen it on the iX and i4. But for those that don’t know, the iDrive 8 system features a much larger touchscreen, climate controls integrated in to the main screen, and the updated digital gauges, which are most customizable than before.
Unlike the i4, though, the new 3 Series ditches the old robot-leg shift lever for the iX’s toggle switch. It’s an interesting move because the i4 doesn’t have it but it does make the interior feel more modern and less cluttered.
A subtle update to the interior is one that does make a significant difference and that’s the piece of dash trim that’s now taller, more sculpted, and more premium looking than the pre-LCI’s simpler piece of trim.
48-volt Mild Hybrid Added
As far as engines go, all of them get subtle updates. Both six-cylinder engines, one gas and one diesel, get 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, as well as all four-cylinder diesel engines. The less powerful four-cylinder gasoline engines don’t get 48-volt MHEV tech but the 330i’s 2.0-liter turbo-four gets a new exhaust manifold that’s integrated into the cylinder head, for improved exhaust cooling. However, there will be two new plug-in hybrid powertrains available.
Here are the engine options and specifications:
- BMW 318i — 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (156 horsepower/184 lb0ft of torque)
- BMW 320i — 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (184 horsepower/221 lb-ft of torque) with available xDrive
- BMW 330i — 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (245 horsepower/295 lb-ft of torque) with available xDrive
- BMW M340i xDrive — 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine (382 horsepower (374 hp for Europe)/369 lb-ft of torque)
- BMW 318d — 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder (150 horsepower/236 lb-ft)
- BMW 320d — 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder (190 horsepower/295 lb-ft) with available xDrive
- BMW 330d — 3.0-liter turbo-diesel six-cylinder (286 horsepower/479 lb-ft) with available xDrive
- BMW M340d xDrive — 3.0-liter turbo-diesel six-cylinder (340 horsepower/516 lb-ft)
- BMW 320e — 2.0-liter turbo-four hybrid (combined 204 horsepower/258 lb-ft)
- BMW 330e — 2.0-liter turbo-four hybrid (combined 292 horsepower/310 lb-ft)
Vehicles for the U.S. market will be built exclusively in BMW’s newest plant in Mexico and the U.S. market launch to commence in July 2022.
This new BMW 3 Series Facelift seems like a successful one so far. It keeps what still worked about the 3 Series; most of its design, its chassis dynamics, and powertrains, and updated anything that was getting a bit dated. The new design does remove some of the pre-LCI’s character but it adds some sportiness while maintaining its simple, handsome good looks.
Job well done, BMW.