Really. Enough with the E46 CSL already.
Like any vehicle, the BMW 3 Series evolves over time, adapting to what present-day consumers want. Although it’s always been the benchmark sports sedan, the 3 Series has become a true luxury car, at the expense of driving enjoyment according to some purists. Those same BMW purists are never shy to state their opinions to BMW and, not so surprisingly, the new G20 3 Series’ development boss is tired of hearing it.
Speaking to Motoring at Paris last week, Klaus Frohlich made it clear that the G20 3 Series had to be the best driving car in its class, but it’s what he said next that’s incredible. “It has to beat everybody in the segment in driving dynamics because all the Australian, UK and American journalists say ‘ooh the E46 CSL was the last real 3 Series’,” he said.
And then he stated this: “I do not want to hear that shit anymore.” Bold and direct. We like that. The new 3 Series, specifically the 330i and 330i xDrive, are slated to arrive in the US this March, both of which are powered by a new twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
The new M340i and M340i xDrive won’t arrive until sometime later next spring, and they will come powered by a new version of the familiar straight-six now with 382 hp and 369 lb-ft. Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Frohlich also specifically pointed out that superior driving dynamics were essential, otherwise what would be the point of the 3 Series?
"First thing and this is for me the most important thing; you can drive fast and sports relaxed. You don’t feel how fast you are. Second thing and this thing is a big achievement; this car is much more valuable, it has much better materials and it is solid like a rock.”
Despite sharing a platform, though shortened, with both the 5 and 7 Series, the new 3 Series, according to Frohlich, remains the most important model in BMW’s entire lineup.
“I think it is about what the brand is standing for,” he said. If the 3 Series represents the current Ultimate Driving Machine, then there’s no reason it shouldn’t drive like the brand’s famous tagline. It’ll be interesting to hear what E46 CSL fans think after some wheel time.