It’s hard to believe that the current generation (G20) BMW 3 Series has been with us for almost four years now, which means that it’s now due for a mid-cycle facelift. Say hello to the 2023 BMW 3 Series, and we’re thankful that the grille has not metastasized into the abomination we see in its high-performance M3 sibling.
The exterior of the 2023 BMW 3 Series centers around the car’s front and rear bumper and reshaped LED headlights. The bumpers, however, look busier than before, for better or worse. The kidney grilles have been slightly reshaped, but the most important part is the fact that BMW has resisted giving it an M3-esque front end that frankly, only its mother could love. The window trims are now finished in black as standard for a sportier look, but if you want the satin silver finish found in the previous non-Sport and M Sport models, it’s thankfully a no-cost option.
Of course, there’s a wagon version that’s being sold elsewhere in the world, but as expected, this won’t be sold in the Philippines. We certainly wish more Filipinos would appreciate the utility that a wagon provides, though, as it offers the same agility of a low sedan but without the cumbersome driving feel of an SUV.
Moving inside, the 2023 BMW 3 Series carries over largely unchanged, except for a thorough upgrade of its electronics. Fitted as standard is the latest generation iDrive 8, which made its debut in the iX electric SUV. iDrive 8 is operated through the iDrive controller or via a 14.9-inch screen that sits alongside the 12.3-inch display for the gauges. This, however, migrates the climate controls into the touch screen, which we’re not a fan of. Another update is its electronic gear selector, which is now a small toggle located beside the iDrive controls. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, on the other hand, now accepts more functions such as opening the windows or sunroof.
The engine range for the 2023 BMW 3 Series remains unchanged, which means for the Philippine market, the most likely candidates will be the 318i and the M340i. The 318i gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 156 hp and 250 Nm of torque that’s good for a 0-100 kph time of 8.6 seconds. The performance-oriented M340i comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 382 hp and 500 Nm of torque. The base 318i is rear-wheel drive (RWD), while the M340i is all-wheel drive (AWD) and an 8-speed automatic is your only transmission choice.
Worldwide deliveries of the 2023 BMW 3 Series are set to begin this June, which means that a Philippine launch could happen before the year ends or in the first quarter of 2023.