The 2023 BMW 3-Series Facelift Proves That Good Looking Bimmers Can Exist Today
BMW has opted to go for the mildest of facelifts for the mid-cycle refresh of the 2023 3-Series. The revamped car benefits from a handful of tweaks to the exterior, an expansion of the color palette, and new wheel designs.
It’s certainly a refreshing direction for BMW. While admittedly, the 2023 3-Series is only a facelift and not an all-new model, perhaps we’ve become too accustomed to BMW’s usual shock-and-awe tactics with new design reveals. That said, the most appreciable differences are found inside, with the introduction of BMW’s Curved Display to the interior, as well as the latest iDrive 8 operating system.
Drivetrain options and specs remain the same as last year’s cars, with the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder found in the 330i and 330e remaining. For the M340i a 3.0-liter turbo inline-six mild-hybrid is present and correct. xDrive all-wheel drive remains an option across the range, with an eight-speed transmission as standard.
In addition, U.S.-market vehicles will be exclusively built at the new San Luis Potosi facility in Mexico.
Squint Or You’ll Miss It Design Changes
The most significant change to the front-end of the new 3-Series is the re-profiled headlights. Like the ones we saw on China’s i3 eDrive35L, the headlights are now slimmer. Gone is the slight indentation on the lower edge between the dipped and main beams, to give a cleaner — but arguably less characterful — look to the front. The full-LED headlights graphics change to an inverted L-shape, mimicking the halos that were once synonymous with the brand.
An immense relief for all is that BMW has resisted the urge to graft an M3-esque snout onto it. While the grille has been fettled with — gaining double bars and slightly altered contours — the result is, dare we say it, good-looking.
The front and rear bumpers, on the other hand, haven’t been so lucky. The new design is slightly fussier, with more aggressive angles said to emphasize “the sporting mission of the new BMW 3 Series.”
In fact, the main thrust of BMW’s facelift appears to position the 3-Series as a sportier alternative from the get-go. Shadowline trim — BMW-speak for blacked-out exterior bits — is now standard, relegating satin aluminum exterior trim to an option.
New Wheels, Colors, And M-Sport Options
Other exterior changes include brand new allow-wheel designs and a new range of exterior colors, including Skyscraper Grey metallic across the range and Brooklyn Grey metallic on M340i models or in combination with the M Sport package on 330i and 330e models.
In addition, the M Sport packages that are offered for the 330i and 330e have been revised to include chrome highlights for the grille, an M-Sport-specific rear apron, variable sport steering, and 19-inch wheels.
Meanwhile, the M340i and M340i xDrive get a unique look of their own, with mesh-design kidney grilles, double-spoke wheels, trapezoid tailpipes, and an M rear spoiler. 2023 M340is will also be available with the classic BMW Motorsport roundels too, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of BMW M GmbH.
Wide Screen Inside
The 2023 BMW 3-Series upgrades to the latest interior tech, with the inclusion of BMW’s Curved Display, consisting of a 12.3-inch driver-info screen behind the wheel, and a 14.9-inch central display, cantered towards the driver in typical BMW fashion.
The new interior includes the latest Drive, which runs on BMW Operating System 8. It has improved speech recognition with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant which can now open and close windows and the sunroof and adjust the climate control using natural speech.
The new 2023 3-Series is also 5G-ready, allowing for greater connectivity to be achieved via the vehicle’s own antenna system. The optional personal eSIM can be used as your own “BMW ID,” with the ability to be transferred to other cars, with the SIM credentials configured upon sign-in in other vehicles.
No Major Changes Under The Skin, Deliveries Begin In July
For North America, the 2023 BMW 3-Series will continue to be offered in the same variants as the 2022 model.
That means the 330i will be available with a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder pushing out 255 hp (258 PS / 190 kW) and 294 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque, and the 330e that couples a 2.0-liter turbo four to an electric motor for a combined output of 288 hp (292 PS / 218 kW) and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) of torque.
Step up to the M340i, and the powerplant is a 3.0-liter inline-six engine delivering 382 hp (387 PS / 289 kW) with 368 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque.
All models will be supplied with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while xDrive (aka all-wheel drive) is available across the range. Deliveries across the world, including the U.S., will begin in June, with pricing expected to be announced in the coming months.