2025 BMW 3 Series favours tech, chassis upgrades over exterior changes

BMW has updated its 3 Series again, although this time you’ll be hard-pressed to tell from the outside.

The company has yet to confirm Australian launch timing for the update.

Apart from new Arctic Race Blue and Fire Red metallic finishes and new optional 19-inch alloy wheel designs, the updated 3 Series – which enters production in July – looks the same externally.

Inside, the changes are similarly minor at first glance: new steering wheel designs; new adjustment controls for the air vents; a tweaked instrument panel; and ‘cascade’ lighting integrated into the trim around the central vents.

There are four colours of Vernasca leather upholstery, three colours of Sensatec leatherette, and, in some markets, standard black cloth trim.

There’s also new M Performtex velour upholstery.

Dark Graphite matte trim is standard, with Fineline Light and Grey Blue Ash open-pore wood options available, as well as carbon-fibre and Aluminium Rhombicle Anthracite inlays optional.

Also optional are a gear selector, iDrive controller and stop/start button in BMW’s CraftedClarity glass trim.

The infotainment system now uses BMW Operating System 8.5, with “optimised operation of the ventilation and climate control functions”.

There’s also a “flatter” menu structure, customisable shortcut widgets on the driver’s side of the screen joining the anchored climate control bar at the bottom, and a home button also at the bottom.

Under the skin, BMW has retuned the 3 Series’ chassis for better ride and handling, with changes including stiffer mounting connecting the rear dampers to the body.

BMW says there’s a “notable increase in comfort across all driving situations… without any loss of the customary 3 Series dynamic prowess”, with more precise and composed handling.

The company also says there’s less force required to turn the steering wheel in Comfort mode.

There continues to be a range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains, with all diesels and petrol six-cylinder engines featuring 48V mild-hybrid technology.

BMW has also substantially updated the plug-in hybrid 330e, which was axed locally earlier this year.

This uses a new, more energy-dense ‘Gen5’ high-voltage battery with 19.5kWh of usable energy, almost double the energy of before and now supporting three-phase AC charging at up to 11kW.

As with the outgoing 330e, this is mated with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic with an integrated electric motor, for a total system output of 215kW.

Depending on the 330e variant, there’s between 84km and 101km of WLTP electric-only range.

Other updates for Europe include the ability to pay parking fees and fuel bills from the vehicle.

BMW says one in every eight vehicles it delivers worldwide is a 3 Series, with the vehicle accounting for as much as 35 per cent of its sales in some markets.

The company has sold more than 20 million examples of its 3 Series globally to date, with almost three million of these being the current-generation model.

First entering production in 2018, the current-generation 3 Series received a facelift in 2022. It’s reportedly set to continue until 2027 when a replacement arrives.

MORE: Everything BMW 3 Series