The new facelifted BMW 3 Series was launched recently in its 6th generation after being first introduced 40 years ago. The iconic Beemer is still one of BMW’s most successful baby despite close competition from the likes of Mercedes and Audi. With prices ranging from RM209k to RM309k for the 318i Luxury line and 330i M-Sport respectively with three more models in between, BMW is hoping to remain the leader in its segment.
On the outside, it looks pretty similar to the last model with newly designed front and rear light clusters, the rest I’ll let you find it out yourself. On the inside, there are slight improvements but no big changes. The original recipe worked so well, there’s little reason to mess with it.
However, as the cliché goes, one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, same goes to the new 3er. The ‘Big Thing’ of the new 3 series is the local debut of ConnectedDrive, something we believe that would soon be standard across all BMW models offered in Malaysia. ConnectedDrive might sound like another manufacturer gimmick or fancy name for some bluetooth technology but it is so much more than you think.
Our first experience with the ConnectedDrive system was in Germany, when Benjamin and I rented a 435i Cabriolet from BMW World in Munich and drove it all the way to the borders of Austria. One feature that first caught my eye was the improved, high resolution, full colour heads-up-display which could project current speed, speed limit and even map directions. This changes one’s driving experience as it feeds enough information to the driver without having to switch gaze from the road to the instrument clusters.
Another feature that we enjoyed was its intelligent services which could help you to find points of interest such as restaurants or petrol stations nearby using recommendations from BMW Online, this is especially useful when you’re in an unfamiliar place. If the systems detects that you spent long hours driving, it would even come up with café suggestions nearby. However, we are not sure how well this feature would perform in Malaysian.
Another thing which BMW’s ConnectedDrive excel in is its navigation system. Having used navigation systems of other premium makes, BMW still provides the most user-friendly experience.
Unfortunately, we only got to spend a day with the car and don’t have the opportunity to make full use of ConnectedDrive.
Another major feature that debuted in the new 3 Series’ ConnectedDrive is the Intelligent Emergency Call. Something we hope nobody will ever use. When the car detects airbag deployment, it would automatically contact a BMW Call Centre via an accident-proof telephone unit permanently installed in the vehicle. That will provide BMW your location in order to send over emergency services and even stay in contact with the driver if desired. This feature also allows the driver to manually trigger an emergency call to summon assistance for other road users.
Other notable features of ConnectedDrive includes Remote services, which allows one to transform a smartphone into a remote control using My Remote App to lock or unlock the vehicle, sounding the horn as well as keying in the destination to the car navigation system before one even steps into the vehicle.
Concierge Service on the other hand allows the driver to contact the BMW Call Centre to provide points-of-interest such as hotels and even make reservations for the driver. While these cool features are getting increasingly common in Europe, it is still a relatively new service in Malaysia and I’m curious to see how it is received by the public in the near future.
Big thanks to my colleague Jessie for the great photos of the 3 Series launch event you see here!