This is the new BMW 3 Series. And we think it’s rather good-looking.

Sure, it’s an obvious evolution over the previous 3-er. And like the previous one, the new BMW 3 Series certainly takes many of its visual cues from the bigger 5 Series.

But there’s a sportiness to the new 3 BMW Series that wasn’t present before. The outer body looks taut, like it’s stretched over a metal skeleton. Slightly flared wheel arches hint at more than a bit of athleticism, while grooves and vents create the illusion of movement when the car’s standing still.

The face is improved, too. The old 3 Series looked like it was permanently scowling, while this new one looks more measuredly serious. Like a big cat pondering something.

Anyway, there’s much more to the new BMW Series than its new skin. Dimension-wise, the new car is 85 mm longer and 16 mm wider than the old car. It’s comfortably bigger than the E39 5 Series. Helpfully, a lot of the new length comes from making the wheelbase longer, which means more space in the cabin.

But while it’s grown in size, the new BMW 3 Series has shrunk in weight. It uses a lot of aluminum in its construction, including some of the panels and the suspension components, meaning it’s actually 55 kg lighter than the previous-gen model.

At launch, you can have a 320i, 330i or an M340i xDrive. That 320i comes with a 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder that delivers 184 bhp. It’ll do 0-100 km/h in 7.2 seconds and go on to a top speed of 238 km/h. Not that bad for a base model at all.

At the other end of the scale, the M340i xDrive is powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six chucking out 374 bhp and 500 Nm of torque. With four-wheel-drive, it’ll devour 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds.

Obviously there’ll be an M3 in due course.

Inside, the new BMW 3 Series really takes the fight to the likes of the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. There’s a big, 12.3-inch instrument display that spills out onto the big touchscreen on the centre console. It’s similar in concept to the latest Mercedes cabins, but somehow more elegant.

There’s also a new voice assistant. You only need to say “Hey BMW”, and the car will listen for your commands. It’ll also recognise your voice and configure the car how you like it – from driving position to AC settings.

Elsewhere there’s remote driverless parking, and you can unlock the car with your phone if you own the latest Samsung Galaxy phone. We’re not sure if the Samsung exclusivity is such a hot idea – we’d expect there to be a lot of overlap in the Venn diagram of BMW drivers and iPhone lovers.

Middle East prices for the new BMW 3 Series haven’t been announced yet. But based on the pricing in other markets, we’d reckon on a starting price of around AED 160,000.

What do you reckon? A worthy update?