The spectacle of all-new 3 Series saloons leaving your local BMW showroom can mean only one thing: a mountain of trade-ins, many of them the model’s predecessor, the F30-generation model of 2012 to 2018.
Handling, composure, performance, efficiency, quality, image – the F30 has it all in abundance. Even the interior, on earlier models a weak spot for its bulky transmission tunnel, is roomy in the back. The boot’s a handy 480 litres, or larger if you find a car with optional folding back seats.
You want more grip? There’s four-wheel drive in the shape of xDrive. You want to join the hybrid revolution? Early on, there was the ActiveHybrid 3, followed later by the 330e iPerformance, a plug-in hybrid capable of up to 25 miles of pure-electric motoring.
During its first year on sale, the F30 accumulated an impressive selection of engines, standouts being the smooth and lusty 320d, the snarly 330d, the creamy but potent 328i and its more frugal 1.6 turbo relation, the 320i EfficientDynamics. The 320d and 330d were EU6-compliant from launch. Buyers could choose between a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic, both superb.
In 2015, the then three-year-old F30 received a shot in the arm courtesy of restyled front and rear ends, LED headlights and a refreshed interior. At the same time, new engines – such as the three-cylinder 318i, the 99g/km CO2 320d ED and the seriously quick 340i – joined the range. The chassis and gearboxes were improved and more advanced infotainment features arrived.