2021 BMW 3 Series Plug-in: Today's Word Is Incrementalism

Steady change. Minus a few models incapable of adapting to the times, the auto industry’s relentless march forward delivers new efficiencies every year. No newly revamped model can sip more fuel than the one that came before it, and that was certainly true of the enlarged 3 Series that bowed (in 330i form) for the 2019 model year. With 2.0-liter under hood, BMW’s go-to sports sedan boasted added economy in its latest iteration.

You might recall that there was already a 3 Series plug-in hybrid (330e). Well, the marque has seen fit to return it to the lineup for 2021 with an updated body, dropping it on dealers come May. The differences between old and new may not be drastic, but they’re likely big enough to be appreciated.

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2016 BMW 340i Review - The Lightest of Refreshes

The BMW 3 Series has been the benchmark to which all manner of vehicles are measured. The comparisons go beyond the likes of the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo S60, and include BMW M3 vs Chevy Camaro and BMW 328d vs Toyota Prius. It seems that every car company in America makes at least one “3-Series fighter.” But there’s a problem with your largest volume product being put on this kind of pedestal: die-hard fans hate change.

Enthusiasts claim that BMW ruined the 3 Series when they redesigned it in 2012. The “F30” sedan got bigger, fatter, softer, and more gadget-filled than ever before. BMW fanbois cried in their gemüsesuppe, Road & Track called it an “also ran” and … BMW laughed all the way to the bank.

For 2016 the 3-Series gets a facelift, new engines and a redesigned suspension. What isn’t changed, however, is BMW’s new direction. And that’s a good thing in my book.

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  • FreedMike Needed more ride height, some plastic cladding, and some fake-outdoorsy name like “Cadenza Dirt Cross”. Great success!
  • Zang Guys, its a 370z with a new hat.
  • Art Vandelay The X-90 was the one to get!
  • Art Vandelay I can get a minty MKIV Supra for that money if I've just got to own this sort of car. As a bonus it will be better built and garner more attention down at the Cars and Coffee and in 6 months nobody will say "I only paid 40k for mine!" I can only figure that the dealer just wants to keep it on the showroom floor to get you in there where they will then order you one for later delivery at a sane price.
  • Art Vandelay Report: TTAC Dead in 2022