Can Munich’s seventh-generation three Collection reclaim compact govt class honours? Even BMW most likely didn’t anticipate simply how radically the three Collection would change its fortunes.Within the 44 years because the unique ‘E21’ changed the dainty 02 Collection, greater than 15 million Threes have been offered throughout seven mannequin generations. Even in a worldwide market more and more populated by SUVs and crossovers, solely the bigger 5 Collection accounted for extra of BMW’s gross sales in 2018 – and by a mere Zero.eight% at that. Since its 1975 introduction, the three Collection has not solely develop into the Munich-based producer’s meat and potatoes but in addition the benchmark by which all different contenders within the compact govt class are measured in so some ways.Such immense, genre-defining success inevitably means the load of expectation lays heavy on the brand new technology’s shoulders. Not solely does this three Collection must be demonstrably higher than its rivals, there should even be a qualitative dynamic enchancment over the requirements of its quick predecessor – thought of ‘gentle’ by a fantastic many BMW devotees.This new ‘G20’ mannequin definitely has its work lower out, then: when this journal highway examined the ‘F30’ three Collection again in 2012, the consequence was a full five-star score. It goes with out saying that we don’t award such endorsements casually, but it surely was the F30’s class-leading mix of economic system and efficiency, spectacular dealing with and classy, sensible inside that noticed it earn its stripes.So, does this new G20 mannequin higher its rivals in fairly the identical style? Our £36,515 320d M Sport’s rivals have by no means been extra aggressive. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is sharper to drive and extra luxurious than it’s ever been; and a lately refreshed Jaguar XE has staked its declare to the title of standout driver’s automotive inside the phase, after the Alfa Romeo Giulia shook issues up a couple of years in the past.Worth £38,205 Energy 188bhp Torque 295lb ft Zero-60mph 6.9sec 30-70mph in fourth 7.5sec Gas economic system 47.4mpg CO2 emissions 112g/km 70-0mph 46.2mThe BMW three Collection vary at a glanceAlthough it’s prone to unfold each upwards and downwards at a later date, BMW’s three Collection vary begins for the second with 320i and 318d priced inside a tenner of each other. Trim ranges open up at SE and progress by Sport and M Sport strata, with BMW having elected to drop the Luxurious trim degree it supplied beforehand.If you wish to keep away from run-flat tyres, in the meantime, it is best to both persist with a low-end SE or a high-end 330i or 330d M Sport with non-obligatory high-performance rubber.