Whatever your opinion of modern BMW is, a new 3-series is always a big deal. This is BMW’s halo car, their bread-and-butter, and their mass production model all in one. Think of BMW and you’re thinking of a 3-series. Think of a sporty BMW and you’re thinking of an M3. BMW has to get it just right.
The issue is that the last few generations of the 3-series seemed to have lost their touch a bit. Competition from its domestic German rivals has become tighter. Even Japanese, and soon Korean, brands are offering a serious alternatives. BMW themselves have promised that the new G20 3-series a step toward what the E36 and E46 were. Will they succeed?
Just look at the interior. It is a super clean design. The iDrive screen is neatly integrated into the dash and isn’t a tablet perched on top of the dash. There seem to be a volume knob, and a big iDriver controller. The iDrive system is sure to have one of the best interfaces available. And then there is the shifter. Or rather… there is no shifter.
THERE IS NO SHIFTER!
That’s right, this is a BMW 3-series, the ultimate driving machine, and it doesn’t have a shifter. You know else doesn’t have a shifter? The Lincoln Continental. There is nothing wrong with not having a shifter but please don’t pretend that your sports sedan does not need one. This is basically a confirmation that the 3-series will not be available with a manual transmission. The stick, the enthusiasts’ basic control, even a promise of it, is gone out of the 3-series.
My gut feeling is that on some models there will be an automatic shifter. And there will be a manual transmission. I just wouldn’t expect it in North America.
If you expect the new 3-series to be anything than a shorter version of what the 5-series and the 7-series is, go back to watching The Price is Right. If anything, the visual differences between those three models are even less visible now, kind of like the Mercedes – at a quick glace no one can tell the difference between a C-class and the S-class. Typical bimmer styling cues remain; the kink, wide taillights, double headlights, kidney grills.
Expect all the not-so-juicy details soon, in Greg’s Friday news piece. In the meantime head over to BMW Blog for more information.