Whom sedan segment itself, sports sedans are a dying breed. There are very few decent mid-size, rear-wheel-drive, fun-to-drive sedans left in the US market. Thankfully, BMW is not giving up on the segment it invented. The segment leader 3-Series It has been updated for 2023 with style and features that keep its loyal buyers from going astray The dark side of SUVs. I just returned from BMW’s annual Test Fest in Southern California, where the brand gathers cars and journalists to learn about all the new models. Here’s what you can expect from the 2023 3-Series.
2023 BMW 3-Series: Classic, Efficient or M3-lite
The 2023 3-Series lineup consists of three powertrain options for the US market. We start with what BMW calls the base model, 330i. Power comes from a 255-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four (because remember, BMW’s digital model names no longer mean anything). This engine is mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic – you can’t get a stick shift in the base 3-series today. The 330i is a classic choice for those who just want it 3 series sedan.
For those who want it some efficiencyYou can choose 330e plug-in hybrid. A 181-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four unit is paired with a 107-horsepower electric motor for 288 horsepower. There is also an enabling 12 kWh battery pack 330e driving 22 miles on electric range only.
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The top of the 3 Series range is what I think of as “the M3 lite,” M340i. It’s powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six that produces 382 horsepower. The big news for 2023 is the addition 48-volt mild hybrid system in the M340i, integrated directly into the eight-speed automatic transmission (again, the only transmission available). While it does offer some improvement in efficiency and provides a smoother engine stop/start system, BMW says the hybrid system’s main purpose here is to increase power output and acceleration off the line.
Another plus: xDrive all-wheel drive is available with every powertrain in the 3-Series.
2023 BMW M340i: No seriously, it’s the M3 Lite
BMW threw me the keys to the 2023 M340i and told me to enjoy a few hours of driving in and around the San Bernardino National Forest. I wanted to see how the addition of a mild hybrid system affected the handling of this performance sedan.
The first thing you notice is how quiet the 2023 M340i is during normal driving. Leaving the hotel and stopping at a few lights, the hybrid unit engages the start/stop system flawlessly. I usually have universal distaste for this type of system because they are often annoying and rude when they are busy. But I have to say, the M340i had one of the smoothest stop-start systems I’ve ever come across. I never tried to disable it, which is a first for me.
After reaching the mountain pass, I hit the sport mode button to liven things up. I’m here to tell you, the M340i is great. Some of them recent BMW decisions can seems to show owned by the brand forgotten What does the Ultimate Driving Machine mean, but the 2023 M340i dispels that fear. The chassis and the car’s response to inputs is really great. I understood everything that was happening from the feedback from the steering wheel. I was confident enough to take the corners 15-20 mph faster than I was, and I wasn’t surprised if the front end washed out without warning.
The mild hybrid system works almost constantly as a second turbocharged engine. It’s ridiculously easy to pass slow-moving vehicles on two-lane roads. And the exhaust note glorious. BMW’s straight-six has always had a great sound, but I didn’t expect it to rattle under deceleration. It’s a fun touch, especially on a hybrid, and it definitely turns heads. The level of performance is so high that a few years ago this could have been an M3.
2023 BMW 3-Series: New Style and Features
The 3-Series gets some styling and tech updates for 2023. The 330i and 330e get sporty new front and rear bumpers with gloss black air intakes in front of the front wheels; the headlights and DRLs are slimmer and cuter.
The 2023 330i and 330e are available with the M Sport appearance package. You get M-specific front and rear aprons, 19-inch alloy wheels and a honeycomb pattern on the front grille. It’s not just a show, but the M Sport package brings adaptive suspension and sports steering.
From the mesh design on the kidney grille to the M-specific exhaust tips and the more aggressive styling of the 18-inch (or optional 19-inch) wheels, you’ll really be able to tell the 2023 M340i apart from the rest. -inch) M split tires.
The interior is also being redesigned. As with many new cars, the 3-Series ditches the separate instrument cluster and infotainment screen and replaces them with a large curved panel with two screens. BMW has updated the 3-Series infotainment system with the latest iDrive 8 operating system running on a 14.9-inch display alongside a 12.3-inch screen behind the steering wheel. Slimmer air vents and a small, toggle-like gear selector help make the interior sleeker and more minimalistic.
The 2023 BMW 3-Series is now on sale. The base-spec 330i starts at $43,295; The 330e adds $1,000. You have to pay to play when it comes to the M340i, which starts at $55,845. Earn $2,000 to add xDrive all-wheel drive to any trim. All prices shown here include BMW’s $995 destination charge.
It’s great to see BMW keeping the sports sedan alive with the 3-Series. with the looming EV revolution we hope that the upcoming all-electric 3-Series will continue these efforts. Until then, the 2023 3-Series does a great job of living up to the brand’s legend.