2022 BMW 3 Series updated with mild design changes, new iDrive 8 infotainment system

Well, that was quick, wasn’t it? Teased just yesterday, the new 2022 BMW 3 Series facelift has now made its global debut, and… it’s everything we thought it’d be.

The mid-cycle update is likely to be the last major change exercise we’ll receive on the ICE-powered G20 3 Series, and will remain on sale until 2025 when BMW is expected to introduce a new fully-electric 3-er based on the Neue Klasse EV platform.

In terms of looks, the new 2022 3 Series inherits most of the changes brought forward by the china-exclusive BMW i3. The most obvious changes on the new facelift lie within the front fascia, characterised by a pair of slimmer and more streamlined headlights (without the notch at the bottom), new twin inverted L-shaped daytime-running lights signature, a reshaped grille with a double bars pattern, and a reworked bumper with gloss black side air breathers.

Over at the rear, the new 2022 BMW 3 Series also gets a reworked bumper, with more body colour-painted elements that’s supposed to present “a particularly sophisticated look”, according to BMW.

The M Sport-equipped car pictured here also gets a gloss-black chunky diffuser element on the rear bumper, while the front bumpers are also distinguished by a distinctive hexagon lower air intake. Variable sport steering and 18-inch M light-alloy wheels are also standard on the M Sport package, as is the M Sport suspension (aside from PHEV variants), with the adaptive M suspension available as an option.

The M340i xDrive variant, meanwhile, takes it up a notch further with an exclusive mesh insert for the kidney grille, trapezoidal tailpipe exit trims, as well as the blacked-out wing mirror caps. We thought that the Cerum Grey Metallic finish on the trims of the current M340i was actually a pretty unique touch, so we’re not too sure why it’s been removed here.

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As with most BMW models these days, the German carmaker is also offering a whole swath of M Performance exterior upgrade options, too, including a carbon fibre rear diffuser, a larger rear ducktail spoiler, and bespoke wheel designs of up to 20-inches in size.

Inside, the new 2022 BMW 3 Series also now adopts the new BMW Curved Display that was first introduced on the iX. The display panel houses two screens (12.3-inch for the instrument cluster, 14.9-inch for the central infotainment display) in a single curved glass panel, and runs on the firm’s latest iDrive 8.0 operating system.

The new infotainment system boasts heavily upgraded functionalities with more modern technologies, including a wide range of connected services, 5G connectivity, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 5G connectivity, the “Hey BMW” intelligent voice assistant, as well as over-the-air software updates.

To accommodate the new displays, however, the rest of the dashboard also had to undergo a slight makeover. The centre air vents are now slimmer than before, with the climate controls being moved into the infotainment system itself, while the bank of shortcut buttons for the infotainment system have also been replaced by new haptic touch buttons for the hazard lights and window defrosters.

Aside from those, however, the rest of the cabin remains completely unchanged to the existing G20 3 Series that first made its international debut back in 2018. Well, aside from the new toggle-style gearshift lever. Interestingly, the fully-electric BMW i4, which mirrors most of the interior changes of the new 3-er, still retain the bigger lever – don’t ask us why.

As part of the 2022 LCI facelift update, the safety kit of the BMW 3 Series has also been updated with the addition of Park Distance Control to the standard equipment list. Autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning and assist is also standard, but the more advanced features such as adaptive cruise control and Lane Control Assistant will only be available as options.

Mechanically, the new 2022 BMW 3 Series also still retains the same powertrain line-up as before, consisting of petrol, diesel, and plug-in hybrid options depending on market. The range starts from the entry-level 318i with a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four mill offering 156 hp and 250 Nm, and tops out with the BMW Performance-branded M340i xDrive, which gets a 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six making 374 hp and 500 Nm.

Malaysians will be more familiar with the 320i, 330i, and 330e guises, all of which are mostly unchanged mechanically from before. The 320i still makes 184 hp and 300 Nm; the 330i 245 hp and 400 Nm, and the 330e making 292 hp and 420 Nm thanks to its electrical assistance.

All variants are paired to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox as standard, while the Steptronic Sport unit is available as standard – the latter adding a Launch Control function for traction-optimised acceleration off the line, along with the Sprint function which “unlocks ultra-quick bursts of mid-range power”.

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