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BMW has a knack for doing it all and doing it well, and has iconised so many of its models, including the 3 Series, X3 and the i3.

27 Jun 2019

Some auto manufacturers make sexy sedans, some engineer rugged-to-the-core SUVs while others are known for radicalising 'green' performance. There is, however, one manufacturer headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, which has a knack for doing just about it all and doing it well.

It is BMW, a brand that has iconised so many of its models, including the BMW 3 Series, BMW X3 and the electrically-propelled BMW i3.

The core of 3

The new 3 Series is more spacious and has more safety tech than before and it remains to be one of the best-driving sedans money can buy
The oldest of which is its 3 Series, which is available in sedan guise here in Singapore and also as a touring in other parts of the world. And it's a model that needs no introduction, considering its widely regarded status as the poster boy of executive sedans; tour any carpark in the central business district and the Bavarian dominance is apparent.

But what is it about the 3 Series that makes it such an appealing model to have? For starters, BMW has ensured that it looks sharply dressed from all angles, whichever the generation.

And perhaps most importantly, it is the way in which the 3 Series drives that has made so many drivers fall in love with it. There is a fluidity in the way it moves and a connection to the road that few rivals are able to match, and it has been the base of the hallowed M3, which has also garnered a massive cult following over the years.

The 3 Series' cabin boasts a new digital architecture
In the 3 Series' current generation, BMW has also gifted it a raft of advanced technologies that make not just driving safer, but also life inside the car better in every aspect.

Some of which include the new digital keys using either an access card or select Samsung smartphones, which allows you to unlock, start and lock the car without the physical car key.

It also boasts an Intelligent Personal Assistant, much like a built-in butler, which handles just about everything for you, from checking the car's tyre pressure, navigating your way home, as well as adjusting the air-conditioning and switching radio stations.

For the lesser-skilled, the 3 Series also has you covered. It is able to help you park and manoeuvre out of tight, tricky spaces, in some situations even fully autonomously. To find out more, check out our video feature here.

The 3 for the rough road

At 4,708m X 1,891mm X 1,676mm, the new X3 could be easily mistaken as a full-sized SUV like an older BMW X5
Based on the 3 Series platform is the rugged X3 SUV, which is now in its third generation. And like the former, the X3 offers a driving experience that is unparalleled in its class.

But more than just its class-leading dynamics, it is an all-in-one family car that is comfortable to be in and most certainly spacious. The current generation X3 is in fact, even larger in size than the first generation BMW X5, and thus is more than capable of seeing to comfy transportation for a family of five.

Anyone who has ever owned one of the brand's cars, and you can go back decades, will feel right at home the moment they slide in to the X3.

It also gains new technology courtesy of the BMW 5 Series, such as LED exterior and interior lighting, the brand’s iDrive 6.0 system with a 10.25-inch wide touchscreen display for navigation systems, and Parking Assistant Plus that will help make parking and moving around tight spaces easier.

With its increased dimensions, the car inevitably offers more space - head, leg and shoulders - all around
And for those with a need for speed, the X3 M40i will see to that, too.

At its heart is a 3.0-litre M Performance engine that develops 355bhp and an immense 500Nm of torque, allowing it to shoot from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds, accompanied by a rowdy and angry soundtrack.

It is clear, then, that with the latest X3, BMW hasn't forgotten the recipe that makes their cars a blast to drive, but has also moved to making it an all-rounded, safer and more comfortable SUV.

And for the first time, BMW M has also expanded its high-performance lineup to include the X3 M, which boasts 480 horses and 600Nm of torque.

Since 2003, BMW has recorded more than 1.5 million new registrations of the X3 across the two previous model generations. Those numbers themselves are a testament to its global popularity. Check out an owner's take on life with his BMW X3 here.

The future 3

The carbon fibre-reinforced plastic passenger cell has a wonderfully spacious feel about it and is dominated by a sense of lightness
Automotive powertrains are moving towards electrification, and there is even a dedicated Formula E series that shows where the future is headed. But BMW has already been displaying its efforts and proving its know-how in this field, with its BMW i sub-brand. BMW i was founded in 2011 with the aim of producing premium, all-electric vehicles.

It now also engineers plug-in hybrid variants of BMW's most popular models, a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand.

And the first model to come out of BMW i was the i3, the company's first mass-produced zero-emissions vehicle. The high-roof hatchback runs an electric powertrain using rear-wheel drive via a single-speed transmission and an underfloor lithium-ion battery pack and an optional range-extending gasoline engine.

And when it first debuted, it was a fresh pop of colour in terms of design, complemented by rear opposing coach doors and recyclable, sustainable cabin materials such as the leather, wood and plastics.

Each i3 purchase comes with an i Wallbox for comfortable and fast home garage charging or charging on a private parking space
With the i3, BMW i also offers the latest generation BMW i Wallbox Plus for comfortable and fast home garage charging or charging on a private parking space. BMW i also provides a unique installation service including onsite installation assessment at the customer's home, the supply and installation of the charging station as well as maintenance, consulting and other services.

Today, the i3 has been updated with a bigger 120Ah battery whilst retaining the same physical size as the 94Ah one used in the older i3, bringing a 9.2kWh increase in energy capacity. The i3 now has a usable every day range of 260km.

And if you like your i3 a little more sporty than quirky, there's also the new i3s, a performance-oriented variant of the i3. Lower and wider, the i3s makes a total of 135kW and also boasts some styling updates.

Best of all, despite not having a conventional BMW six-cylinder petrol engine, the i3 is still a ton of fun to drive, and will put a smile on the face of even the harshest electric critics. Read more about the history and advancement of the BMW i3 here.
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bmw  bmw i3  bmw 3 series  bmw x3  i3 electric  3 series sedan  x3 suv