BMW makes a lot of interesting cars, but its signature car remains the 3 Series. For nearly 50 years, the 3 has defined the entry-level luxury sport sedan, with rivals building their cars to try to match it. You don’t mess with a formula like that. But you have to update it to keep the public from thinking those same rivals have surpassed it.
For 2023, BMW has given the 3 Series a mid-cycle refresh. That means the fundamentals of the car – chassis, engine choices, basic look – stay the same. But the exterior gets a few tweaks to show that this is something new, and the interior gets new technology to keep pace with developing competitors.
For the next model year, BMW read those instructions carefully and stuck strictly to what the grading rubric said. We expect to see another solid A.
BMW has not announced pricing for the 2023 3 series. We expect the figures to stay close to 2022’s $41,450 starting price, with some adjustments to account for inflation and the increased cost of transporting parts to the factory this year.
A Nose Job, but Not the One You Feared
BMW designers seem to love nothing more than mocking their own fans with controversial looks. In recent years, that’s meant giving most Bimmers a huge schnozz. From the ultra-luxe 7 Series sedan to the new iX electric flagship, many of Munich’s most recent designs wear an oversized interpretation of the classic kidney grille that many longtime loyalists deride (and buy anyway).
However, the 2023 3 Series did not get the big nostrils.
It did get a revised front end, with a slightly more angular grille of reasonable size. The headlights lost the kink that kept them from the conventional shape and gained daytime running lights in an upside-down L shape. The lower air dam has been reworked, and while many automakers now offer packages that black out some of the bright trim of their cars, BMW just made that approach standard. Bright satin trim is now the added-cost option.
New Screens Make the Interior Overhaul Seem Dramatic
Inside, the new 3 Series gets a more conspicuous makeover. The 2022 edition had a separate driver’s instrument display and central touchscreen integrated into the flow of the dashboard. The 2023 example houses both in a huge curved bezel mounted on the dash instead of worked into it. Technically, there are two separate screens – 12.3 inches in front of the driver and 14.9 in the center for information and entertainment functions. But the mounting makes them look like one giant curved screen.
Apart from that, there aren’t significant changes – but that one change shifts the feel of the space.
The gear shifter is gone, replaced with a toggle switch. Three-zone climate control and cloud-integrated navigation are also now standard.