BMW has addressed a few annoying quirks on the new 3 Series, ones which we noticed during our three-month loan of the slightly older-generation 4 Series.
The first is the speed of engagement of the automatic transmission. Flicking from forward drive to reverse is much quicker to connect – it is almost instantaneous, whereas the 4 Series took the best part of a second (maybe more), an age when you are trying to perform a swift manoeuvre.
In addition, both cars offer the option of selecting a preferred driving mode - Eco Pro, Comfort or Sport - but the 4 Series insisted on reverting to comfort each time the ignition was switched off. However, once the 3 Series was put into eco mode, for example, it stayed in eco mode.
So far I have stuck with Eco Pro and, according to the on-board computer, it is paying dividends. In Eco Pro, pedal recognition, gear recognition and the best point at which to change gear are all optimised, and the heating and air-con are adapted accordingly to minimise energy consumption.
The panel display also changes to show brake energy regeneration while the on-board computers shows the bonus range display highlighting how much further it was possible to travel thanks to utilising EcoPro.
In the 4 Series, the best I got was around 10 additional miles; the 3 Series has already claimed an additional 36 miles from a full tank by being in economy mode – a 5% gain over the full range.
With the car averaging around 52mpg, that equates to a saving of around £3.50 on the full tank (which is costing just under £60 to fill up).