Exciting New Features Coming in BMW’s 2019 Summer Refresh

Even with a brand-new 3 series just released and the plastic wrapping just coming off of the new X5 and halo-car 8 series, there’s no rest for the wicked.

When your top competition is one of the world’s oldest automakers and you’re playing catch-up against a lineup with 14 distinct classes to fill every little market niche, you have to be a little obsessive.

Queue the mid-season refresh. For 2019, the refresh is a thing in a big way. We’re getting new engine options, enhanced technologies and additional colors, just to name a few of the seasonal updates. So if you just bought a BMW, pat yourself on the back because pining for a new one can start today!

The 3er Gets new Powertrains

BMW 340i GT M Sport Estorilblau

Even with the hot new 8 series turning heads in the media, BMW’s reputation is fully invested in the 3-series.

The new G20 car has only been out for half a year, but it’s getting expanded powertrain options such as the coupling of the new 374hp turbo six-cylinder and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system.

This model will wear the name M340i xDrive, and will be the must feature-laden 3er short of the full-on M car, which is currently without AWD.

For bimmerphile environmental enthusiasts, the lineup expansion also includes the 320i xDrive, the 330e hybrid model, which combines the 320’s four-cylinder powertrain with an electric motor for extra grunt and efficiency, and a version of the 330d diesel-powered car that includes the xDrive system.

Topping things off are new M Sport suspension upgrades available through BMW dealers and a gaggle of new paint and interior options. Not bad.

A Baby M5 for Your Driving Pleasure

The last few iterations of the 550i have held sleeper super-sedan status thanks to impressive power and none of the harshness that comes with the M car’s sporting intentions.

A newly developed V8 makes its way into the current 550 and narrows the gap with it’s M sibling to just 77 horsepower, producing 523hp and 553lbs-ft. of torque. This might cause a lot of potential M buyers to consider whether at nearly $400 per pony and with no difference in torque output, 523 is enough Bavarian horses.

Other BMW Things

There’s also a minor refresh in M land with the M4 coupe and convertible now offering the competition package as standard. That means increased output from the S55 six-cylinder of 450hp, a sports exhaust, upgraded seats to hold you in while you hoon your M car as one does using the Active M differential included in the package and breathed-on Adaptive M suspension with specially tuned dynamic stability control.

You also get BMW drive recorder on all models, so you can show your hoonage off on social media after downloading it from your car, or even submit evidence in the case of an accident using the feature that auto-saves 20 seconds before and after a collision.

If you’re the type that’s more excited about batteries than rip-snorting German horsepower, you should be happy to know that electrified BMWs will now make a sound to alert pedestrians that you’re approaching. So you can no longer sneak up on unwitting Mercedes drivers, for that you’ll need to join the Prius Illuminati. But now then, who would lower themselves to the ranks of driving a Toyota?

BMW M3 to Sport Rear-Wheel-Drive

BThe CEO of Mercedes-AMG, Tobias Moers, recently announced his company would no longer consider RWD cars for Mercedes’ go-faster division. All performance vehicles from Affalterbach will have a 4Matic setup. While this may seem like a progressive choice, BMW’s Markus Flasch sees the subject differently.

As the Chairman of the Board of Management for BMW’s M division, Flasch has taken a distinctly separate approach to the issue than Moers. Flasch argues that rear-wheel drive is still relevant for some segments of the market, and the BMW M3 will sport the feature. His logic is relatively easy to follow.

An AWD layout is more suitable for medium and larger cars, which customers tend to drive throughout the entirety of the year. Smaller and cheaper M cars — like the M2, M3 and M4 — usually remain in an owner’s garage in inclement conditions. They’ll often take them out when the weather is good, less so when it’s not.

Because of this, Flasch is determined to keep RWD alive as he continues to pursue xDrive, and in doing so, remain faithful to the spirit of the M division. Though he won’t please everyone, Flasch believes he’ll satisfy most BMW enthusiasts. Regardless, he has other exciting developments in line for the coming decade.

Progress and Innovation

Beyond the BMW M3’s rear-wheel drive, Flasch has also announced plans for new CS models. They won’t necessarily take the form of a coupe, and you may even see that CS suffix attached to an SUV sometime in the far future. Of course, these comments strongly suggest that BMW may bring back the CSL.

Flasch didn’t provide any model names, but the M2 is the likeliest candidate to benefit from this treatment if the Coupe Sport Leichtbau makes a comeback. However Flasch chooses to proceed, BMW enthusiasts can feel secure knowing the company’s highly regarded performance division is in capable hands.

With Flasch behind the wheel, it’s safe to say that BMW is on the right track. His ambition for a hypercar in the M division is one of the prime examples of his innovative mindset. Though his predecessor, Frankus Van Meel, ruled out the possibility of a hypercar in 2017, Flasch is taking things in another direction.

In the past, BMW has shown a reluctance to broach the subject of supercars and hypercars. However, Flasch feels that a low-emissions supercar is feasible with help from BMW’s i division. He’s shown an interest in collaboration between the M and i divisions, and the product of their teamwork will likely turn heads.

Looking Toward the Future

Flasch has a clear vision for the future of BMW’s M division. In addition to the rear-wheel drive for the BMW M3, enthusiasts should remain on the lookout for more exciting developments in the months and years ahead. The potential release of a low-emissions supercar is only a taste of what’s to come.

As Flasch moves forward with his plans for BMW, it’s reasonable to speculate his division will see a significant transformation. As it evolves and takes shape, enthusiasts will likely view the changes as positive, if not well-intentioned.

Differences and Similarities Between The BMW 328i and BMW 320i

BMW’s three series has been the gold standard in the sports sedan class for decades. The latest G20 variant of this nimble four-door features a revamped set of powertrain options, fresh new sporty styling and a healthy dose of technology to bring BMW interiors up to snuff with the competition from Audi, Mercedes and Lexus.

Prices can climb quickly as you move through the three series hierarchy, so it’s important to know how one model compares to another.

The base-model 320i has only recently become available as a US-market offering, however with the efficient new line of turbo four-cylinders providing all the power many buyers need, you have to ask whether it’s worth spending the extra money to upgrade.

Motivation

BMW 330i GT Luxury Arktikgrau

The 328 is eight more than the 320. In BMW language, that’s good for a boost of 60 horsepower and lb. ft. of torque thanks to a higher state of tune for the 328i’s 2.0-liter engine.

So do you need the extra shove? With 180 horsepower and 200 lb. ft. of torque, the 320i makes the 0-60mph run in under seven seconds. That was proper performance-car quick a few decades ago, and it’s plenty of power to get you up to highway speed and making passes without fearing for your life. It’s nothing BMW should be ashamed of.

The 328, then, is a good option for the buyer who appreciates a more effortless feeling car. While the 320i’s lower boost settings make it more efficient, and not under-powered, you’ll probably find yourself putting your foot into it a little more often. So if that kind of thing stresses you out, choose the still-efficient 328i model and enjoy the extra ponies.

Technology

Interior trim and bodywork are largely shared between the sister 3ers, and it’s the technology where the 328i really sets itself apart. If you appreciate modern driver aids, you might be inclined to drop the extra coin and spring for the more tech-laden 328i.

The 328 gets upgrades to a touchpad GPS navigation system and upgrades your audio equipment from the 205-watt base stereo to BMW’s more premium Harmon-Kardon system.

If you’ve never experienced a premium BMW sound system, you’re in for a treat with the Harmon-Kardon, which we can guarantee is putting out well in excess of 205-watts.

The fancy stereo is a nice touch if you’re an audiophile and might come in handy on long road trips. Then again, if you just need a way to hear your favorite radio station and aren’t interested in the HD radio and other perks of the upgraded system, you can probably live without it.

Bottom Line

You’ll have to pay a $6000 premium to step into the 328i from the 320i. That’s a significant price bump, but not entirely unreasonable considering that you’re getting enhanced engine output. Still, if you’re just dead-set on the performance, you could probably find a tuner chip that would increase the 320i’s output for considerably less.

Realistically, budget-conscious BMW buyers should stick to the 320i unless there is something very specific they like about the 328i.

If you’re going to spend more money anyway, it makes sense to step up to the much more handsomely-adorned 330i or even higher models which feature 6-cylinder power and a gamut of additional upgrades. But that does cost money!

The Ultimate BMW Forum