Review: BMW 3-Series

By Winding Road Staff

October 14, 2011

This is the Master Landing Page for the BMW 3-Series. From now on, as we further review this car, we will be updating this page with whatever fresh content we create. Future drive reviews, updated specifications, videos, and other relevant information will all be found right here, in one convenient spot.
2012 BMW 3-Series Sedan
BMW has just taken the wraps off of the sixth-generation 3-Series. The new car is longer in terms of wheelbase and total length, has a wider front and rear track, but is 88 pounds lighter than the car it replaces.
The big changes in the powertrain department start with the new 3-Series’ new base engine. Replacing the 3.0-liter naturally aspirated six-cylinder is the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot that Tom Martin tested in the Z4 sDrive28i. We’re sad to see the end of the old 3.0-liter as it was such a characterful engine, but considering just how good the 2.0-liter is, we think things will be okay. In terms of shifting, six-speed manuals will be standard, with eight-speed automatics being the optional transmission. Start-stop technology will also be standard.
The new 3-Series will come in a standard trim, but will also offer three unique trim levels (Sport, Luxury, Modern), as well as an M Sport Package. The Sport Line trim includes blacked-out exterior elements, eighteen-inch wheels, and sport seats in two different trims. The Luxury Line features chrome trim elements on the exterior, wood trim on the interior, unique eighteen-inch wheels, and other unique styling elements. Finally, the Modern trim ditches the chrome, and opts for brushed aluminum. As with the other trims, eighteen-inch wheels come standard, as well as unique interior trims and upholsteries.
BMW expects the sixth-generation 3-Series to hit US dealers in February 2012, with a North American debut likely at the Los Angeles or Detroit auto shows.
Please scroll down for the official press release from BMW.
Introducing The All-New 6th Generation BMW 3 Series Sedan
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 14, 2011 11:15 am EDT …With the announcement of the sixth generation BMW 3 Series Sedan, the benchmark by which all sport sedans are measured just got raised. The pioneering history of the 3 Series serves as inspiration for the new sports sedan, whose powerful styling represents a fresh interpretation and conscientious development of traditional BMW design cues. It will not only set new standards for performance and handling but also for luxury, technology and efficiency as well.
The all-new BMW 3 Series Sedan arrives in US showrooms in February 2012 as a 2012 model.
The new BMW face, with elongated headlights reaching along as far as the BMW kidney grille, emphasizes the new BMW 3 Series’ sense of width and strengthens its athletic overall profile. The sixth generation of the 3 Series has grown moderately in size compared to its predecessor, with its wide track (front + 37 mm/1.46 in., rear + 47 mm/1.85 in.) particularly prominent, and the car’s length (+ 93 mm/3.66 in.) and wheelbase (+ 50 mm/1.96 in.) also accentuates its sporting allure. Inside the new BMW 3 Series Sedan, the rear passengers will appreciate the noticeable increase in space made possible by the larger dimensions. And the BMW 3 Series range is now also available in a trio of trim and equipment variants – the Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line. Each presents its own individual take on the character of the sports sedan, with exclusive, high-quality material combinations and unbeatable build quality underlining the premium ambience of the new range.
Drive and chassis technology have always been key areas of expertise for the brand, and agility and driving dynamics remain outstanding attributes of the new
BMW 3 Series Sedan. The new car belies its larger dimensions with an equipment equalized curb weight 88 lb (40 kilograms) below that of its predecessor.
A choice of two muscular, refined and efficient engines – which both feature new BMW TwinPower Turbo technology – will be available for the new
BMW 3 Series Sedan in the US market. In addition to the already successful
6-cylinder N55 engine powering the 335i, customers can also opt for the new turbocharged 4-cylinder (N20) variant in the BMW 328i. This latest-generation engine, initially introduced in the 2012 Z4 sDrive28i, rewards the driver with both a dynamic driving experience and significantly reduced fuel consumption.
The innovative 8-speed automatic gearbox – which is a first in the segment – opens up a whole new level of driving experience. It can be specified in combination with either the 328i or the 335i and includes the new Auto Start-Stop function. Compact and exceptionally efficient, it allows the new BMW 3 Series to match or outperform models fitted with the standard six-speed manual gearbox in terms of fuel economy. The new 8-speed automatic brings together shift comfort, dynamic performance and efficiency of the highest order, making it the perfect partner for the new sedan’s dynamic potential.
As components of the BMW EfficientDynamics technology line-up, the
Auto Start-Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration, and need-based operation of ancillary components (including an on-demand air conditioning compressor) also play their part in reducing fuel consumption. Added to which, the new Driving Dynamics Control switch, which allows the driver to choose between Comfort, Sport, Sport + and ECO PRO mode, gives both models the potential to further improve these figures. This ECOPRO mode helps drivers maximize fuel economy through their driving style, thereby enabling them to increase the distance they can travel between visits to the pumps. BMW will add another cutting-edge engine to the line-up in 2012, when the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 will premiere.
BMW ConnectedDrive offers an unmatched combination of available driver assistance technology and mobility systems for the new BMW 3 Series range. A new arrival in the premium mid-size segment is the latest-generation full-color Head-Up Display, which projects key information – in sharp resolution – onto the windshield so it appears directly in the driver’s field of view. Also available is Surround View with Side View and Top View, which gives a bird’s-eye perspective of the vehicle and the area around it. In addition, an available Parking Assistant system helps the driver to parallel park. Among the other assistance technology available under the BMW ConnectedDrive banner are the Active Blind Spot Detection System and Lane Departure Warning System with camera-based Collision Warning system, which are offered for the first time in a BMW 3 Series. A Navigation System with Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) and an innovative comfort access function allowing hands-free opening of the trunk lid are all included on the options list.
All in all, the innovative body structure and intelligent lightweight design concept of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan ensure that it is now larger and safer, but – depending on the engine specified – also lighter. The dynamic proportions and athletic overall impression of the new 3 Series bring the sporting character of this hugely successful model into even sharper focus.
The BMW 3 Series Sedan is an iconic figure in the sports sedan segment and over the years has come to symbolize the aesthetic appeal, dynamics and sporting capability of BMW. With its dynamic lines and athletic overall presence, the sixth generation of the world’s best-selling premium vehicle highlights the sporting character of the brand’s mid-size model. Although the new BMW 3 Series has grown moderately in all dimensions compared to its predecessor, it retains a perfect balance of sportiness and elegance. As in previous generations, the sedan’s dynamic proportions are shaped by the sweeping hood, short front overhang, long wheelbase and set-back greenhouse typical of BMW.
Striking face with precise contours and multi-faceted surfaces.
The wedge shape of the new 3 Series’ silhouette and its wider track
 underline the sporting appearance of the new BMW. By clearly accentuating the width of the car, the multi-faceted surfaces of the expressive front fascia give the BMW 3 Series a more athletic face than ever. A wide, squat interpretation of the upright, slightly forward-slanting BMW kidney grille emphasizes the assured presence of the new BMW 3 Series. LED accent lights positioned like eyebrows above the striking twin headlights with corona rings (if xenon headlights are specified) lend an extra intensity to the classic BMW focused look. Clearly defined headlight surrounds now extend up to the frame of the kidney grille, merging the headlights and grille of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan into a single stylistic unit and adding further emphasis to the car’s broad-set stance. The BMW 3 Series replaces the central air intake of its predecessor with two larger intakes, which are positioned underneath the headlights to the outer edges of the front fascia and add extra depth to the car’s sporty styling. On the far left and right of the main ducts are small vertical intakes which help create the “Air Curtain”. This new technology improves air flow around the front wheels, enhancing aerodynamic efficiency and reducing fuel consumption at higher speeds.
The closely spaced, squat openings of the kidney grille, with their eye-catching surrounds, form the most prominent element of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan’s front design. This is also where the precise lines of the heavily contoured hood, spawned by the roof pillars and flowing over the full length of the hood, come together on the their journey towards the road. The result is a front that appears lower-slung, giving the BMW 3 Series a clear sporting edge when viewed head-on.
Precise lines produce a stretched silhouette and enhance the car’s dynamic impact.
Powerfully taut surfaces with sweeping lines dominate the side view of the BMW
3 Series Sedan, stretching the car visually and lending extra verve to its dynamic stance. The flanks of the car are shaped by an eye-catching double character line running alongside each other. The higher character line emerges out of the low-slung nose and flows over the front wheel with an understated sweep, in a nod to the sedan’s fleetness of foot. The second character line develops lower down behind the front wheel and follows a delicately arching path towards the rear. Together, they reinforce the dynamic wedge shape of the car’s flanks. As well as providing a discreet increase in muscularity in the rear section below the character line, these styling cues also create vivid light and shade effects, which draw further attention to the car’s wide track.
The striking interpretation of the hallmark BMW Hofmeister kink at the base of the C-pillar injects the silhouette of the new 3 Series with even greater élan. Alongside it runs a fine contour line from the roof pillars into the rear deck lid, giving the roof an even lower appearance from the side. The resultant sense of sporty yet elegant lightness spreads all the way down the sedan’s sides, with the slightly rising shade line low down on the heavily contoured side skirt adding further emphasis. The large light surfaces above the side skirt serve to enhance the lightness of the car’s flank lines.
Contrasting light surfaces imbue the rear with brio and energy.
The strong horizontal lines of the rear – including rear lights in customary
BMW L-shaped design positioned at the outer edges of the rear – accentuate the broad face of the wheels and wide track of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The low-set reflectors guide the vertical lines flowing out of the greenhouse over the rear lights to the wheels, lending visual emphasis to the car’s consummate road presence. Traditional BMW 3 Series design traits include the two lines below the rear spoiler and above the bumper, which frame the rear stylistically. Richly contrasting light surfaces give the rear end of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan a fresh dynamic flair, while the interchanges between smoothly flowing surfaces, precise lines and defined edges inject brio and energy.
The interplay of surfaces and lines fills the interior with life.
The interior of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan is straight out of the BMW design handbook. The driver-focused cockpit wraps around the driver and puts all the important controls within easy reach. The cockpit is angled towards the driver by seven degrees. The ingenious layout of the front cabin incorporates the driver-focused cockpit as part of its natural design – i.e. without excluding the front passenger. The surfaces and lines flow over the instrument panel towards the front passenger side of the cabin, where they form a smooth, protective border. In the driver’s area all the lines converge on a single point behind the steering wheel and guide the eye towards the road.
The cockpit’s four circular dials (fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer and oil temperature gauge) come with a black panel display. Positioned on the horizontally-structured instrument panel, the freestanding iDrive monitor with slim, transreflective, high-resolution display recalls the latest flatscreen televisions normally found in living rooms rather than cars.
On the driver’s side of the deliberately asymmetric center tunnel, a different trim surface and graining mark out the active driving elements of the interior, while the trim surface on the front passenger side exudes a pleasingly elegant air. Positioned centrally on the center console within easy reach of both the driver and the front passenger is the standard iDrive Controller.
More space, wide variety of storage compartments, even greater practicality.
Passengers in the rear of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan will enjoy significantly more space than in the outgoing model. The car’s larger dimensions ensure rear passengers are welcomed by 0.71 in. /18 mm of extra legroom inside the doors as they climb aboard. Behind the fully contoured front seats, 0.6 in / 15 mm of additional knee room and 0.31in. / 8 mm of extra headroom further enhance the passengers’ comfort on the road. Backrest nets offer additional accommodation for small items, reflective vests and road maps. Larger pockets in the front doors, whose lines and surfaces open up towards the instrument panel, now have space for drink bottles up to one liter in size. Added to which, two large drink holders are now integrated into the center console ahead of the gearshift lever. If desired, the cupholders can be swapped for an oddments tray, which is stored in a special area of the glove compartment when not in use. The new sedan offers 480 liters of luggage capacity, 20 liters more than the outgoing model in DIN measurement protocol. And an innovative and practical solution allows extremely convenient access inside. If the optional Comfort Access is specified, the trunk can be opened hands-free and without needing to use a key. For example, if the driver approaches his new 3 Series with both hands full, all he/she needs to do is move his/her foot around underneath the bumper to trigger the opening mechanism for the trunk lid (see also BMW ConnectedDrive). The luggage compartment can hold as much as three golfbags, or a pram and chassis inserted over a remarkably low trunk sill that is a mere 26 inches high (66 cm). Standard securing hooks hold the items firmly in place, while a storage tray under the load compartment floor and a deep storage compartment on the left-hand side accommodate small oddments. For bulky items, the optional Through-Load includes a folding rear seat bench to allow flexible transport solutions. The 40:20:40 split rear backrests offer unbeatable versatility when you need to carry passengers and long items, such as several pairs of skis or snowboards, at the same time.
Three equipment lines shine the spotlight on the car’s distinct character traits.
High-quality material combinations and unbeatable build quality underline the premium ambience of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The materials and color concept of standard model accentuate the sporting character of the car, but a large selection of colors and upholstery variants also offer scope for various other options. From the basic matt satin silver surface treatment to the warm look of fine burr walnut wood, all trim surface options can be combined with either the leatherette or one of two leather upholstery colors.
In addition to the standard trim level, the new BMW 3 Series Sedan can now also be specified with any of three equipment lines or an M Sport Package. Customers can therefore adapt the appearance of their car to their personal lifestyle and preferences – in their own way and with eye-catching results. The Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line each emphasize the different sides to the new BMW 3 Series Sedan’s character in their own individual way. The exclusive, carefully coordinated equipment features embrace both exterior design elements and the selection of materials and colors for each model. In terms of value, design coherence and expressiveness, the new BMW Lines go far beyond existing packages in the segment.
Sport Line:With eye-catching exterior features in high-gloss black, this new line accentuates the dynamic appearance of the BMW 3 Series Sedan. Eight heavily contoured high-gloss black kidney grille slats in a chrome-colored surround give the front end of the car a particularly sporty and alert look. The black inserts in the front apron make the air intakes appear larger and lend extra emphasis to the muscular wheel arches. Bi-color, double-spoke design 18-inch light-alloy wheels provide the athletic looks to match. Meanwhile, high-gloss black painted exterior mirrors and the standard high-gloss black B-pillar and window trim add an extra sporting flavor to the flanks. A black trim strip on the lower crease underlines the width-enhancing effect of the rear styling, while the black chrome exhaust tips rounds off the exterior’s sporty appearance. The sporty and exclusive ambience of the interior is expressed by contrasting black and red accents. Red trim rings, red scales in the circular dials, red stitching on the sports steering wheel and a base trim strip in high-gloss black with coral red accent strips all underline the sporting ambience of the cockpit. The standard sports seats can be specified in a choice of two upholstery styles and three colors. The ignition key for Sport Line versions of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan is identified by its black finish and red detailing.
Luxury Line: The discreet high-gloss chrome elements of this line lend the exterior of the BMW 3 Series Sedan a particularly elegant and exclusive appeal. The BMW kidney grille with 11 fine chrome slats, two slightly offset chrome trim strips in the front apron air intakes, and a high-gloss chrome trim strip running horizontally above the air scoop give the front a striking appearance. As with the Sport Line, the B-pillar and window guide come in high-gloss black, and the window frame and weather strip are in chrome. Special 18-inch light-alloy wheels in multi-spoke design accentuate the stylishness of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan when viewed side-on. From the rear, the new Luxury Line is easily identified by its exquisite, high-gloss chrome trim strip – which extends across the full width of the rear apron – and its chrome exhaust tips. Chrome elements also catch the eye inside the Luxury Line variant. This is the only line which gives the radio and air conditioning units a chrome surround. High-gloss wood trim (with stylish inlays also available) and seats with distinctive stitching and leather upholstery in three classically elegant colors highlight an inviting, exclusive ambience. The ignition key for Luxury Line versions of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan can be identified by its black finish and chrome detailing.
Modern Line: In contrast to Luxury Line models, the avant-garde trim elements included in Modern Line versions of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan are all in satin aluminum, underlining the contemporary character of this line. The BMW kidney grille, with 11 satin aluminum slats, and double trim strips for the air intakes in the same color give the front end of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan a particularly contemporary, classy touch. The high-gloss black B-pillar and window trim of the Modern Line blend smoothly with the satin aluminum trim elements at the front and rear. 18-inch turbine-style light-alloy wheels strengthen the future-focused concept of this equipment line. The harmonious lightness of the interior dispenses with strong contrasts. Instead, with a light upper side to the dashboard and a steering wheel in dark oyster, it generates an all-new ambience. Leather upholstery in oyster or black, and a choice of three trim surfaces with accent strips in pearl-effect chrome, further enhance the appealing interplay between materials. A trim element with three-dimensional structure and open-pored wood lays on a whole new feast for the fingertips. Modern Line versions of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan are marked out by the oyster-colored ignition key with matt silver detailing.
M Sport package: The M Sport package brings the ultimate in sporting makeovers to the new BMW 3 Series. An all-new aerodynamic package for the exterior clearly sets cars specified with this package apart from the base model and the three lines. 18 and 19 -inch light-alloy wheels in hallmark M design, M Sport suspension, a black kidney grille and BMW Individual High-gloss Shadowline trim give the car that typical M look. The theme continues inside the car with sports seats boasting distinctive upholstery choices, trim elements with blue accent strips, an M Short-shifter (in models with manual gearbox), M door sill covers, an M driver’s footrest and the new M leather steering wheel.
New dimensions in driving pleasure and dynamic performance: Sporty power delivery, outstanding efficiency and enhanced ride comfort.
The sixth generation BMW 3 Series sports sedan offers top-level agility and driving dynamics, and they combine all this with new levels of comfort. At the same time, there is no change to the proven basic concept comprising high-performance engines, a sporty chassis and a rigid, lightweight body. After all, over the past 35 or more years, drivers have come to expect dynamic, sporty driving enjoyment as a matter of course in a BMW 3 Series model, while powertrain and chassis technology rank as a core strength of the brand. A longitudinally mounted engine, rear-wheel drive and a balanced (50:50) weight distribution are a formula that makes the BMW 3 Series the sportiest sedan in its segment.
At launch, the new BMW 3 Series Sedan will be offered with two high-torque, refined and fuel-efficient engines, both feature the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. They comprise the familiar 6-cylinder inline engine and a new-generation 4-cylinder engine. Both engines offer impressive driving dynamics coupled with substantially reduced fuel consumption and emissions. At first sight contradictory and conflicting technical objectives have been ingeniously resolved by BMW. For example, the dynamism goes hand in hand with outstanding performance on the cost and environmental front, since emissions for both the engines are well within the US ULEV II limits. And the new Driving Experience Control switch with ECO PLUS mode, which is available for all engine versions, provides the opportunity to extend these savings even further.
Power is delivered to the rear wheels either via a standard 6-speed manual transmission or, optionally, via an 8-speed automatic – currently the only such unit in this segment. The automatic, which can be combined with either engine, is so efficient that it is able achieve lower fuel consumption and emissions than with the manual transmission on the EU test cycle (EPA test figures will be announced closer to the US on-sale date). Both the manual and the automatic models are equipped with the Auto Start-Stop function for further savings.
Advanced suspension technology, featuring a large number of light-alloy components and new tuning, along with Servotronic speed sensitive power steering, low vehicle weight and a balanced weight distribution top off a dynamic package, making the new BMW 3 Series Sedan an exemplar of sporty handling combined with increased comfort.
BMW 328i: new 4-cylinder gasoline engine with TwinPower Turbo technology sets a new benchmark for driving dynamics and efficiency.
With the launch of the new sports sedan, an ultra-modern 4-cylinder engine will make its debut in the BMW 3 Series. In keeping with the dynamic overall theme of the new BMW sports sedan, this new-generation turbocharged engine offers plenty of power and performance, responsive acceleration, powerful torque, a high rpm ceiling and low weight. The new 4-cylinder engine, which provide noticeably livelier power for maximum driving enjoyment, also come with lower fuel consumption than its predecessor.
The state-of-the-art, lively 2.0-litre engine marks a return to the popular sports sedan’s roots – it was with lightweight, high-performance 4-cylinder engines in a similar vein that the BMW 3 Series made its debut back in 1975, with the first
6-cylinder engines for this series making their appearance at the 1977 Frankfurt Motor Show. A 6-cylinder continues to top the engine line-up in the new BMW 3 Series.
The significant upgrade in power and efficiency is chiefly down to the use of BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, which combines High Precision Direct Petrol Injection, Double-Vanos variable camshaft timing and VALVETRONIC variable valve timing along with twin-scroll turbocharging. On the new-generation 4-cylinder engine, this world-exclusive technology package from BMW again provides a very efficient way to extract more power from the engine, rather than taking the route of a much larger displacement and, in the process, adding to the weight and therefore to fuel consumption. This explains why the more dynamic performance and driving enjoyment does not come at the expense of higher fuel consumption and emissions.
The new BMW TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder’s displacement of 1,997 cc delivers maximum power of 180 kW/ 240 hp at 5,000 rpm while, thanks to twin-scroll turbocharging, the maximum torque of 260 lb-ft is developed at just 1,250 rpm and remains constant up to 4,800 rpm. These statistics translate to commensurately dynamic performance: the new BMW 328i accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds, on its way to an electronically governed top speed of 130 mph, 155 mph with Sport Line. The engine responds instantly when the driver demands more throttle, and the vigorous and almost linear power delivery from only slightly above idle, which continues all the way into the higher rpm range, is duly impressive.
BMW TwinPower Turbo technology in the new 4-cylinder engine.
This new engine is the most powerful in a new generation of 4-cylinder engines designed in accordance with the BMW EfficientDynamics strategy, which aims to combine increased driving enjoyment with reduced fuel consumption and emissions. In technical terms, this new 4-cylinder engine is modeled on the current multi-award-winning 6-cylinder inline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology (N55), which is the benchmark in its class for dynamic power delivery and impressive efficiency. This world-exclusive technology combines High Precision Direct Petrol Injection, Double-Vanos variable camshaft timing and VALVETRONIC variable valve timing with twin-scroll turbocharging.
These features give the new BMW 328i the sort of power which with a naturally aspirated engine would require more cylinders and larger displacement. At the same time, with its all-aluminum crankcase, this engine is lighter and more compact than a 6-cylinder engine of equivalent power. This has obvious benefits for driving dynamics: the reduced load on the front axle gives this
BMW sports sedan greater agility and further improved steering and cornering characteristics.
Twin-scroll turbocharging.
The new 4-cylinder engines also feature twin-scroll turbocharging. This means that the exhaust stream from cylinders 1 and 4, and the exhaust stream from cylinders 2 and 3, follow separate spiral-shaped paths to the turbine wheel. This reduces exhaust back-pressure at low engine rpm, allowing the energy of the exhaust gas pulses to be utilized as efficiently as possible. The result is instant throttle response and fast-revving performance which BMW drivers can instantly translate into driving pleasure.
VALVETRONIC, Double-Vanos and High Precision Direct Injection.
The combination of a high power output and a simultaneous reduction in emissions is achieved by VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and Double-Vanos variable camshaft timing. The latest generation of the VALVETRONIC system features a faster-acting, optimized stepper motor with integrated sensor. Seamlessly variable control of intake valve lift dispenses with the need for a throttle butterfly. Instead, the air mass is controlled inside the engine, resulting in faster response. At the same time, pumping losses have been reduced to a minimum.
The excellent efficiency is also down to the High Precision Direct Injection system. Centrally positioned between the valves, solenoid injectors precisely control the supply of fuel. The fuel is injected very close to the spark plug, with a maximum injection pressure of 200 bar (2900 psi), resulting in clean and homogeneous combustion. The cooling effect of the directly injected fuel also results in a higher compression ratio than on port injection engines, bringing further efficiency improvements.
Exceptional performance assisted by innovative design features.
The exceptional performance of the new engine is also due to various innovative features of the core engine. For example, twin balancer shafts positioned at different heights result in optimized vibration absorption, while a centrifugal pendulum absorber integrated in the dual-mass flywheel brings a noticeable reduction in irregular running at low engine rpm. The driver can therefore make full use of the strong low-end torque without sacrificing smoothness. These factors all help to explain why the new 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine achieves refinement, noise and vibration of a kind that was previously confined to BMW 6-cylinder engines.
BMW 335i: Inline 6-cylinder engine with beefy power delivery, strong torque and superb refinement.
Fans of large 6-cylinder engines have a treat in store too. The inline 6-cylinder engine (N55) in the new BMW 335i will impress performance-minded drivers with its effortless power, exceptionally fast-revving temperament and outstanding refinement. The N55 has been setting standards from the start, as the pioneer of a new generation of engines in which BMW TwinPower Turbo technology with High Precision Direct Injection and VALVETRONIC variable valve timing plus a twin scroll turbo made its debut.
Thanks to intensive fine-tuning of the engine, BMW’s engineers have now further reduced the fuel consumption and emissions of the predecessor, while at the same time maintaining its high performance. With a maximum power rating of 225 kW/ 300 hp at 5,800 rpm, the 3.0-litre 6-cylinder unit reflects the sporty personality of the BMW 3 Series and helps this sedan deliver brilliant performance. And the high peak torque of 300 lb-ft, on stream between 1,200 and 5,000 rpm, ensures that the power is effortlessly and instantly delivered.
As a result, the new BMW 335i can show off its prowess with a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of just 5.4 seconds,. The automatic version is on par, reaching 60 mph a full 0.2 seconds faster than the outgoing model. Top speed remains the same, at an electronically governed 130 mph (210 km/h) and 155 mph (250 km/h) with Sport Line.
All this extra performance comes with exceptional fuel economy and low emission figures. Fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is rated at 7.9 liters per 100 kilometers (29.8 mpg). Fitted with the new eight-speed automatic transmission, the BMW 335i is even more frugal, with combined fuel consumption of just 7.2 liters per 100 kilometers (32.6 mpg). The improvement in emissions for the manual and automatic versions works out at 6 and 16 per cent respectively. EPA rating will be announced closer to the on-sale date in the USA.
Sporty 6-speed manual transmission as standard; state-of-the-art eight-speed automatic optionally available for both engine versions.
The BMW 3 Series owes its characteristic driving experience not just to its high-torque, fast-revving engines, but also to its transmissions. For performance-minded drivers the transmission, as the interface where the power from the engine is relayed to the rear wheels, is pivotal to a dynamic driving experience. It is just as important for it to offer precise, short-throw shifting as to provide the right ratios. Smooth shifting, low noise and efficient design are further qualities demanded in the premium segment. For drivers who value a hands-on approach, the new BMW sports sedan is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard, while those who prefer to leave the shifting to the transmission will find an ideal alternative in the innovative 8-speed automatic. Finally, customers can also opt for a sports automatic version of this transmission, with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts as an upgrade with the Sport Line and M Sport package.
6-speed manual transmission as standard.
The sporty 6-speed manual transmission in the new BMW 3 Series boasts an easy and precise shifting action and optimal ratio spacing. The lightweight, compact format and innovative, low-friction design help to further enhance shift feel and efficiency. The transmission used on the BMW 335i, is equipped with dry sump lubrication for significantly improved efficiency and shifting quality, due to reduced drag losses. At the same time, noticeably more comfortable shifting is achieved by the use of innovative carbon friction linings in the synchromesh units. The new BMW 328i likewise features an optimized transmission with ratios precisely matched to the performance characteristics of the new engine. The optimal ratio spacing makes for powerful sprinting performance and fast mid-range acceleration, all combined with a reduction in fuel consumption.
Innovative 8-speed automatic transmission: efficient power transmission and optimal ratios.
The new BMW 3 Series can be equipped with an optional high-performance
8-speed automatic transmission, which can be combined with any of the engines being presented. The additional ratios allow this state-of-the-art transmission – which is an option not currently offered by any competitors in the premium compact sports sedan segment – to combine unprecedented standards of comfortable shifting, sporty performance and efficiency. With all this going for it, the automatic transmission is fully in keeping with the overall sporty temperament of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan.
In terms of size and weight, this 8-speed unit is comparable with the 6-speed automatic transmission used in the past. A range of innovative technical features and exceptionally high internal efficiency allow this higher-performance unit, too, to combine powerful acceleration, strong mid-range sprinting and further reduced fuel consumption. For performance-minded drivers this transmission also has lots to offer, particularly since the driver can choose to play a more active role by changing gear manually, thereby releasing even more of this sporty sedan’s potential.
With its optimized control technology, the 8-speed transmission boasts extremely fast shift and reaction times and direct downshift capability. The electronic transmission controller can also alter the shift characteristics as required, to cater either for a sportier or for a more relaxed, fuel-saving driving style. Despite a larger overall spread, eight ratios mean that the spacing between them is smaller, so that the optimal ratio is available in virtually all situations. The close ratios deliver turbine-like power combined with smooth and fuel-efficient low-rpm operation. Altogether, then, as well as providing dynamic acceleration and smooth shifting, the new 8-speed automatic also allows drivers to maintain a very economical driving style. This all helps to explain why, when fitted with the 8-speed automatic transmission, the new BMW 3 Series even lower fuel consumption than models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission.
A sports version of the new 8-speed automatic transmission is available as an option for cars equipped with the Sport Line and M Sport package. This unit offers even sportier shift characteristics (e.g. faster shift times), and the option of changing gear manually using the paddle shifts on the steering wheel. Alternatively, it is also possible to use the electronic Quickshift selector lever on the center console. The Normal and Sport modes are chosen using the Driving Dynamics Control switch. This allows the sports automatic to deliver both dynamic driving enjoyment and top-level comfort.
Precision chassis engineering sets new standards:
sporty handling, high agility and increased comfort.
In the sixth model generation, too, dynamism and performance are among the stand-out features of the BMW sports sedan. These qualities are underpinned by a precision-engineered chassis with four-wheel independent suspension that perfectly complements a winning formula: a longitudinally mounted engine, rear-wheel drive, balanced weight distribution and torsionally stiff body. In the new
BMW 3 Series the engineers have further improved the already outstanding handling qualities of the predecessor and its excellent agility and directional stability, while at the same time noticeably improving comfort. To achieve this, they have made extensive use of extra-lightweight chassis components, sophisticated and perfectly tailored axle kinematics and a high-precision steering system. State-of-the-art electronic control systems on the new BMW 3 Series Sedan help manage the vehicle dynamics and ensure that the combination of outstanding sporty performance and increased comfort can be enjoyed to the full and with complete peace of mind.
With friction-reduced wheel bearings and ball joints, aerodynamic improvements at the rear axle and reduced rolling-resistance tires, the whole chassis plays its part in reducing fuel consumption and thus emissions.
A wheelbase of 110.6 inches / 2,810 mm (+ 1.96in/50 mm) and a front and rear track width of 60.3 / 1,543 (+ 1.46 in / 37 mm) and 61.9 / 1,583 millimeters (+ 1.85 in/ 48 mm) respectively give the new BMW 3 Series Sedan a more road-hugging stance than its predecessor, while the weight-optimized powertrain and lightweight body design result in a perfectly balanced 50:50 weight distribution.
Double-pivot front axle with spring struts and anti-roll bar.
The new BMW sports sedan adopts an innovative but proven front axle design which provides an optimal fusion of driving dynamics and comfort. The suspension components combine maximum stiffness with minimum weight. Aluminum torque struts, wishbones and swivel bearings bring a substantial reduction in unsprung masses. At the same time, the absence of torque steer makes it easier to gear the kinematics of the double-joint axle to agility and dynamism.
Advanced axle design further refined:
five-link rear axle improves driving dynamics and comfort.
Incorporating various significant improvements and refinements, the rear axle of the new BMW 3 Series makes an important contribution to the new model’s improved driving dynamics and comfort. Its space-saving design is based on the tried-and-tested five-link design used on the predecessor model, with elastokinematics which have been specially tailored to the new sports sedan, featuring long spring travel and precise and confident wheel location in all situations.
Extra-wide mounts and supports on the wheel carriers for track and camber, extremely stiff control arms, the stiff axle subframe and thrust arms connecting the suspension and body provide an excellent basis for the agile and, at the same time, comfortable overall suspension qualities of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The large mounts and supports at the rear axle not only affect handling, they are also important for ensuring good acoustic insulation between the powertrain and suspension, particularly on vehicles with a powerful, high-torque engine. Thanks to the effective insulation of the powertrain from road excitations, the new rear axle also provides first-class noise and vibration damping.
The classic BMW 3 Series rear-wheel-drive set-up and a balanced weight distribution also provide the ideal basis for resolving the conflict between ride and handling. As a result, the new BMW 3 Series impresses with extremely sporty handling combined with highest standards of stability and comfort. Last but not least, the reduced-friction wheel bearings, robust powertrain isolation and carefully targeted aerodynamics modifications at the rear axle also contribute to improved driving dynamics and efficiency.
Optional Variable Sports Steering.
Optionally a new variable-ratio steering system can be ordered. Variable Sports Steering provides different steering gear ratios depending on the turning situation, so that the new BMW 3 Series responds either more directly or more softly to the driver’s steering inputs. This reduces the number of steering wheel rotations required for bigger turns by up to 25 percent and makes for easier, more convenient parking and turning since less effort is required from the driver. Also, the handling is sharper in general, for example when very sudden evasive action is called for. At smaller steering angles between zero and 100 degrees, on the other hand, the Sedan provides high standards of track-holding and straightline stability, and offers satisfyingly precise response to steering changes. The variable-ratio steering is a purely mechanical system based on a variable-ratio steering rack.
High-performance lightweight brake system.
The dynamic performance of the sports sedan calls for an equally powerful brake system. The new BMW 328i uses lightweight floating caliper brakes at all corners with large vented discs while the 335i uses 4-piston fixed calipers at the front and floating calipers at the rear. The aluminum front fixed calipers bring a further reduction in unsprung masses. This extremely high-performance system also features outstanding heat tolerance, excellent wet braking performance, easy operation and precise control. Together with the large wheels and high-grip wide tires, it provides the sports sedan with highly effective deceleration.
The brake system is further supported by various state-of-the-art electronic safety systems, which are integrated into the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system for improved driving dynamics and safety. The DSC system incorporates the following functions: Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC), along with start-off assist, brake drying and an electronic limited slip function for the rear differential, which can be activated using the “DSC Off” button.
Driving Dynamics Control switch with ECO PRO mode:
extra-sporty, more relaxed or more fuel-efficient driving modes – at the press of a button.
The new BMW 3 Series offers impressive driving dynamics combined with new standards of comfort in the segment. This is a result of superbly tuned suspension which achieves an astonishing balance between dynamics and comfort. On top of this, drivers are also able to vary the overall character of the sedan depending on the driving situation or to suit their personal preferences. As well as sportier or more comfortable drive settings, they can also opt for extra fuel efficiency. The different modes are selected using the new Driving Dynamics Control function including ECO PRO mode, which is standard on all 3 Series models.
Using the Driving Dynamics Control switch, the driver is able to customize accelerator response characteristics, engine response, the power steering characteristics and the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) thresholds. The Servotronic function, the automatic transmission and Dynamic Damper Control are integrated into the system too. Using the simple-to-operate rocker switch on the center console, drivers can choose between ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes. Each of these predefined setups activates different settings for the relevant powertrain and suspension components.
In SPORT mode, for example, throttle response is very sharp and the steering becomes even more direct. On vehicles with automatic transmission, the shift points are altered to provide a significantly sportier drive.
A further button allows the driver to change the DSC settings. Selecting Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) mode, for example, makes it much easier to start off on loose surfaces or in deep snow. In this mode as well as in SPORT+ mode, the Dynamic Stability Control thresholds are raised and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) is activated. It is also possible to shut off DSC altogether. The electronic limited-slip function for the rear differential can then provide extra-sporty acceleration out of corners or hairpins.
The new ECO PRO mode, meanwhile, supports an extra-efficient and economy-conscious driving style. It does this by changing the accelerator mapping so that the same pedal travel delivers less power than in the standard mode. Also in this mode, the automatic transmission control strategy is modified so as to upshift sooner and to delay downshifts, while intelligent energy and climate management reduces the mechanical power consumption and also the consumption of electrical systems such as heated mirrors and seats. But the biggest potential for improving fuel economy comes from the driver’s own personal driving habits. Special displays in the instrument cluster let the driver know by how much the driving range is being extended, show fuel consumption history, or, with reference to the specific driving situation, provide tips and incentives on how to develop a more economy-conscious driving style. ECO PRO mode allows average fuel consumption to be reduced by up to 20%, with a corresponding increase in driving range.
Dynamic options: M Sport package, Adaptive M Sport suspension, sports automatic transmission and BMW 3 Series xDrive.
For out-and-out enthusiasts, further features are available to enhance the dynamic driving qualities of the new BMW 3 Series and give them a distinctive visual dimension as well. The M Sport package, which will become available after launch, is designed for this very purpose and has been developed specifically for this model series. It includes the lowered M Sport suspension, featuring a 10 millimeter (0.4 in.) drop in ride height, firmer suspension and damping, and larger anti-roll bars. Also featured are 18 or 19-inch M alloy wheels. The package is completed by an M aerodynamics package featuring special body parts, and by chrome tailpipes, exclusive exterior paintwork and interior trim to match. An Adaptive M Sport suspension with electronically controlled damping is also optionally available for the new BMW 3 Series. Based on incoming information about body and wheel acceleration, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, vehicle speed and steering wheel position, an electronic control unit adapts the damper mapping to the road surface and driving situation. At the same time the driver can use the Driving Dynamics Control switch to vary the basic suspension characteristics between more comfortable or sportier settings. An 8-speed sports automatic transmission with faster shift times and sporty steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts is also available as an option.
The new BMW 3 Series will soon provide even more variety and become even more attractive with the introduction of BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. In addition to the typical benefits of all-wheel drive, the electronically controlled BMW xDrive system – which can fully vary the driver power split between the front and rear wheels with split-second speed – ensures top-class traction, safety and handling, and optimal power management whatever the weather and road conditions. The system has been recalibrated for greater agility and precision, with benefits also for cornering. In this new version it offers an ideal combination of dynamism and comfort, and is the ideal basis for maximum driving enjoyment. The BMW 335i xDrive and BMW 328i xDrive, all-wheel-drive models will go on sale in summer 2012.
BMW EfficientDynamics: More power, less fuel consumption.
With high-performance engines, superior suspension technology and an extremely torsion-resistant body, the new BMW 3 Series is building on its position as the sportiest sedan in its segment. It is also advancing even further on the comfort front. Agility and dynamic performance continue to be the sports sedan’s stand-out features, and are key to its high standards of driving enjoyment. To cap this off, the 3 Series also boasts an exceptionally good balance between performance and fuel consumption. This reassuring knowledge is a further incentive for drivers to make full use of the dynamic potential of the new BMW 3 Series.
To a large extent, these typical BMW qualities are due to the BMW EfficientDynamics strategy that is extensively used on the new sports sedan. New, more fuel-efficient engines, extra-efficient transmissions, on-demand control of ancillary units, intelligent lightweight design, Auto Start-Stop function, and low drag aerodynamics including “Air Curtain” and underside fairing all help to consolidate the leadership position of the new BMW 3 Series on fuel consumption and emissions.
Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, ECO PRO mode.
The new BMW 3 Series Sedan is equipped with an Auto Start-Stop function, which automatically switches off the engine during short stops at traffic lights or in stationary traffic, so as not to waste fuel. For the first time, and uniquely in this class, this system can be combined with the new 8-speed automatic transmission as well as the manual gearbox. The new BMW 3 Series is also equipped with BMW’s now familiar Brake Energy Regeneration system. With Brake Energy Regeneration, power for the vehicle electrical system is generated only during braking and overrun. When the engine is under load, the alternator can often be disengaged. This not only means that electricity can be generated with little or no effect on fuel consumption, it also grants the sports sedan livelier acceleration. Finally, the new Driving Experience Control switch gives drivers the option of selecting ECO PRO mode which, by modifying the powertrain management and re-programming the heating and air conditioning, the heated seats and the exterior mirrors to operate at optimum efficiency, reduces fuel consumption by as much as 20%.
On-demand control of ancillary units saves energy.
Intelligent energy management in the new BMW 3 Series is further enhanced by the ancillary units, which consume significantly less energy compared with conventional systems. Examples include the on-demand coolant pump, the electronically controlled oil pump and the electromechanical steering system, which only consumes electric power when steering assistance is actually required. The special air conditioning compressor featured on many of the sports sedan models works on the same principle. As soon as the driver switches the air conditioning off, the belt drive to the compressor is disconnected by a magnetic clutch, to minimize power drain.
Intelligent lightweight design brings further reduction in fuel consumption.
Use of lightweight materials has played a significant role in reducing vehicle weight and in delivering high passenger cell safety standards, combined with a significant increase in strength. At the same time, these measures also help to ensure superior driving dynamics. Intelligent lightweight design is integrated into all areas of BMW vehicle development work and into all components, from the body and engine to the suspension. Materials used include high and ultra-high tensile steels, a hot-stamped B-pillar, plastics and state-of the-art composites. Increased use of aluminum components in the engine and suspension systems has also further reduced the weight of the relevant assemblies.
Aerodynamic optimization of underside paneling.
It is common knowledge that fuel consumption can also be cut by reducing aerodynamic drag. As the excellent drag coefficient (cd = 0.26) would suggest, the aerodynamics of the new BMW 3 Series have been intensively honed in BMW’s state-of-the-art full scale rolling road wind tunnel. The optimized aerodynamics also have benefits for noise reduction and roadholding. In particular, streamlined design of the underside plays a big part in minimizing lift forces. The aerodynamically optimized underside with extended streamlined panels at the sides, under the engine compartment shield and at the front part of the exhaust tunnel provides unprecedented standards of sealing. Additional aerodynamic covers, which create a diffuser effect at the rear axle, further reduce drag and lift forces, while at the same time improving stone chip protection. Also, the front aprons are designed to incorporate the “air curtain” effect which reduces turbulence in the wheel arch area – again reducing drag. This system was first introduced on the 1 Series M Coupe in 2011. The aerodynamically designed wheel arches, and the air deflectors in front of them, likewise help to reduce fuel consumption.
Dynamic, efficient and innovative: the new BMW ActiveHybrid 3.
In autumn 2012 a sensational new model will join the BMW 3 Series. In the new ActiveHybrid 3 – the world’s first hybrid at the premium end of the sports sedan class – the innovative BMW ActiveHybrid powertrain technology and the sporty personality of the BMW 3 Series meet and merge with highly dynamic and efficient results. The combination of the 6-cylinder engine and electric drive produce unrivalled driving enjoyment, combined with even better fuel consumption and emissions figures, and further intensify the sporty yet fuel-efficient driving experience that lies at the heart of the new BMW 3 Series. The gains in both performance and efficiency are a textbook example of the
BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy in action. Following the
BMW ActiveHybrid 7, BMW ActiveHybrid X6 and BMW ActiveHybrid 5, the new BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is the fourth production model in which a model-specific intelligent combination of internal combustion engine and electric drive provides extra performance while at the same time significantly slashing fuel consumption and emissions. In the BMW ActiveHybrid 3, ActiveHybrid technology has for the first time been integrated into the vehicle architecture right from the start. Amongst other things, this meant that a lot of space was saved.
The powertrain of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is closely tailored to the sporty personality of the new BMW 3 Series. It features the 225 kW/ 300 hp inline 6-cylinder engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology (N55) and a hybrid-specific eight-speed automatic transmission with integrated electric motor which for limited periods can increase power by up to 40 kW/ 55 hp. Maximum combined output is 250 kW/ 335 hp, with a maximum combined torque of 330 lb-ft. This high-powered, high-performance combination nevertheless returns extremely low fuel consumption. Average consumption in the EU test cycle is less than 6.4 liters per 100 kilometers (36.7 mpg). That means the ActiveHybrid technology in the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 offers fuel savings of more than 12.5 percent compared with equally powerful conventionally driven BMW sports sedans.
The electric motor supplies the 6-cylinder engine with supplementary driving power and can provide a boost function when extra-dynamic performance is required. This adds a further edge to the driving experience in the BMW ActiveHybrid 3. BMW ActiveHybrid technology also allows the vehicle to run solely on electric power. In this zero-emission, virtually soundless driving mode, the vehicle can cover a distance of between 2 to 2.5 miles (around three to four kilometers). Top speeds in all-electric mode range from 37 mph (60 km/h) under load to 100 mph (160 km/h) on overrun (coasting). When the driver applies more throttle, the internal combustion engine is engaged automatically, then disengaged on overrun. During overrun and braking, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy, which is used to charge the battery. This is the same principle as the Brake Energy Regeneration function on the regular models, although on the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 the amount of energy recuperated by the electric motor is many times greater.
Efficient and seamless integration between the internal combustion engine and electric motor is ensured by the central power electronics, which provide intelligent, proactive energy management to further improve overall system efficiency. In terms of utility and interior adaptability, the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 shows no significant differences from the other models in the series, since its high-voltage battery is integrated under the floor of the trunk. With trunk space of 390 liters (DIN) and unrestricted through-loading functionality, there are no concessions on the car’s high standards of comfort and convenience. Drivability too is on a par with that of a BMW 335i.
BMW ConnectedDrive: Intelligent integration provides greater comfort, safety and infotainment.
The BMW ConnectedDrive range of technology includes a portfolio of innovative functions – unique worldwide – which serve to ensure maximum comfort, infotainment and safety. BMW ConnectedDrive uses the intelligent link-up of the driver, car and outside world to provide useful information for the situation at hand. The technical pre-eminence and progressive character of the new BMW 3 Series is underpinned by an unmatched combination of driver assistance systems and mobility systems from BMW ConnectedDrive.
Among the most prominent technologies developed under the banner of
BMW ConnectedDrive are the comfort-enhancing systems BMW Parking Assistant and Surround View. They are joined in the new BMW 3 Series Sedan by features which further increase levels of passenger comfort – such as office services, calendar and Facebook as examples.
High-functionality interface technology providing a prime example of state-of-the-art infotainment capability enables the driver and passengers to make extensive use of external mobile phones and music players inside the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. With new Bluetooth office functions from BMW ConnectedDrive, internet-based services such as weather, news etc., as well as calendar entries and text-based messages (SMS and e-mail), can be viewed in the Control Display of the iDrive operating system and read out via the Text to Speech function. In addition, passengers can access their personal music library on their smartphone or music player inside the car. Their playlists, stored song titles and relevant album cover artwork are then displayed on the on-board monitor. The BMW Connected app allows full in-car use of web radio and calendar functions in combination with the Apple iPhone. In addition to web radio music streaming serves such as Pandora and MOG can be accessed safely and conveniently through the iDrive controller and screen. 
The constantly expanding number of driver assistance systems from
BMW ConnectedDrive provide added safety and assurance on the road. In a new development in this premium class, the new BMW 3 Series Sedan will be available with the new-generation full-color Head-Up Display. Key driving information is projected – in sharp resolution – onto the windshield so it appears directly in the driver’s field of view. Safety is given a further boost by the availability of the Active Blind Spot Detection System and Lane Departure Warning System including Collision Warning. This technology warns the driver of a possible collision during a lane change maneuver or if the car strays unintentionally out of its lane. Meanwhile, the Advanced Collision Notification function help occupants to limit the consequences of an crash, should the worst come to the worst.
Head-Up Display with full-color capability.
The new-generation Head-Up Display now delivers even greater display quality, functionality and flexibility. The symbols projected onto the windshield are displayed in sharp resolution in the driver’s direct field of vision. All of which allows drivers to view all of the information in this ergonomically excellent position without having to divert their gaze from the road ahead. A full range of colors are used to reproduce common road sign symbols as accurately as possible through the display graphics. Depending on vehicle specification, the car’s speed, cruise control setting, navigation instructions and alerts from the Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning systems will be displayed on the display. Even direction indicators and Check/Control messages can now be displayed, as well as a wide range of information selected personally by the driver. The intensity of the projections adapts automatically to the light conditions, and therefore follows the illumination of the cockpit dials. Added to which, the precise positioning of the projections on the windshield can be adjusted easily using the iDrive Controller. The variety of driver assistance systems available for the BMW 3 Series Sedan increases the amount of information that can be shown in the Head-Up Display to a whole new level.
Active Blind Spot Detection System monitors vehicles following behind.
Inattentiveness or misjudgment of the distance and speed of a vehicle approaching from behind can lead the driver into a critical situation when changing lanes. The optional Active Blind Spot Detection System warns BMW 3 Series Sedan drivers of the potential danger of such an overtaking maneuver. The system uses a pair of rear-mounted radar sensors to monitor traffic in the adjacent lanes, from the blind spot to a distance of approximately 60 meters (200 ft.) behind the car. This information, indicated to the driver before he actually changes lanes, allows him to prepare for a lane change maneuver with confidence and to avoid critical situations from the outset. If other road users are approaching the car in an adjacent lane or moving through the driver’s blind spot behind and to the side of the car, a yellow triangle symbol in the housing of the driver’s side exterior mirror gives a discreet warning of possible danger. If the driver then still goes ahead and activates the direction indicator, announcing an intention to pull in or out, the LED symbol starts to flash. A further warning is provided in the form of a discreet but unmistakable vibration of the steering wheel rim.
Camera monitoring: Lane Departure Warning System and Collision Warning.
The Lane Departure Warning System available for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan is activated at speeds above 70 km/h (43 mph) and warns the driver if he unintentionally strays out of his lane. The system comprises a windshield-mounted camera in the rear-view mirror area, a data comparison unit and a signal generator which – as with the Active Blind Spot Detection System – causes the steering wheel to vibrate. The Lane Departure Warning System is speed-sensitive. At high speeds, the system reacts at a suitably early stage if the car is getting close to the lane markings. The camera tracks the lane markings on at least one side of the car, and the control unit uses image processing to calculate the position of the car in relation to the markings. The camera focuses some 50 meters (164 ft.) ahead of the car and is also active through corners and on narrow roads. Indeed, the system even works in the dark as soon as the headlights have been switched on. The driver can therefore count on its services in a wide range of everyday driving scenarios. The system does not give a warning if the driver has signaled an intention to change lanes or turn off by switching on the direction indicator. BMW ConnectedDrive uses a high-tech multifunctional camera, mounted on the rear-view mirror, to initiate a number of different driver assistance systems. With the new BMW 3 Series Sedan, BMW will become the first premium manufacturer to use such a camera for monitoring traffic on the road ahead. The image processing system continuously scans the scene on the road and gives an audible warning if it identifies a potential collision risk. If the driver draws too close to the vehicle in front, the system produces an acute audible warning and a visual signal appears in the instrument cluster or the optional Head-Up Display, if specified. At speeds upwards of 50 km/h (30 mph), the brake system is primed and the activation threshold of the hydraulic Brake Assist system is lowered. These measures, which are activated simultaneously with the visual and audible warnings, are designed to help the driver react effectively in an emergency. There is no automatic braking intervention. The sensitivity of the automatic Collision Warning system can be individually configured by the driver through several stages.
If the worst comes to the worst: BMW Assist enhanced Automatic Collision Notification with automatic vehicle location.
In the event of an accident in the new BMW 3 Series, the enhanced Automatic Collision Notification system from BMW ConnectedDrive allows the emergency services to receive detailed information on the type of collision and the likelihood trauma level injuries before arriving at the scene of the accident. That allows first responders to prepare the appropriate medical care in advance for those involved in the crash. The precise position of the car and vehicle type are specified, and all the data gathered by sensors in the car is forwarded. The information provides indications as to the nature and severity of the collision, while the deployment of the car’s restraint systems gives the emergency services an idea of the number of injured people and allows frontal, rear, side or multiple collisions to be identified and differentiated. This is possible thanks to an advanced algorithm developed in partnership with the William Lehmann Trauma Center in Miami, Florida that used transmitted vehicle data to estimate the likelihood of severe injuries as a result of a crash. As well as automatic activation, the system also allows the driver or front passenger to trigger the Emergency Call manually and to be connected with the BMW call center without delay.
Intelligent use of advanced light technology.
The optional High-Beam Assistant for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan provides enhanced safety at night. The system automatically switches high beam on and off, as conditions require, ensuring that the driver always has optimal visibility without having to switch manually between high and low beam. Images recorded by the camera integrated into the rear-view mirror allow the system to identify vehicles travelling up to around 400 meters (approx. ¼ mile) in front. Oncoming traffic is picked up when it is still around 1,000 meters (just under
¾ mile) away, and the system also switches to low beam if ambient lighting is bright enough.
The optional Adaptive Xenon headlights provide illumination follows the curves of the road, turn with the steering angle and the speed of the car. The cornering light function integrated into the foglamps is triggered when the driver switches on the indicator and turns the steering wheel (at up to 65 km/h /40 mph). Every time the driver turns, an additional beam of light provides significantly improved visibility in the area immediately around the car.
Rear view camera and Surround View deliver a perfect overview.
A rear view camera is also available for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan as an extension of the Park Distance Control (PDC) system. PDC uses sensors in the bumpers to detect the distance to obstacles in front of and behind the car. The camera is located in a protected position in the license plate recess of the trunk lid and sends images with optimized color and perspective to the cockpit monitor. Interactive lane markings signal the room available for the parking maneuver and the smallest possible turning circle.
Making its debut in the BMW 3 Series Sedan, the Top View system provides an even more extensive overview of the car. This system complements the rear view camera and PDC sensors, and works using two cameras in the exterior mirrors. The data collected on the car and its surrounding area is processed by a central computer, which generates an overall image. This is then displayed on the on-board monitor, presenting a bird’s-eye view of the car and the area around it, and enabling the driver to carry out precise maneuvers in tight spaces.
If the car is moving at under 20 km/h (12 mph), the driver can – at the touch of a button – also choose to activate only the Side View function of Top View. Side View uses two cameras integrated in the sides of the front bumper to monitor traffic crossing in front of the vehicle. These images are also relayed to the cockpit, where they not only act as a maneuvering aid but, above all, give the driver an early idea of what is happening on the road to the left and right of the car when pulling out from narrow and concealed exits or junctions.
BMW Parking Assistant takes charge of maneuvering into parking spaces.
The BMW Parking Assistant is another comfort-enhancing driver assistance system from BMW ConnectedDrive to be included in the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The new system helps the driver to maneuver safely and comfortably into parking spaces positioned parallel to the direction of travel. BMW Parking Assistant uses ultrasound sensors integrated into the side indicator surrounds to help the driver search for suitable parking spaces. With the car travelling at no more than 36 km/h (22 mph), these sensors permanently measure the length and breadth of parking spaces at the edge of the road and on roadside verges. BMW Parking Assistant searches for spaces at least 1.20 meters (around 4 ft.) longer than the car itself. With the system activated, the driver is alerted to suitable spaces as he passes them. When the system is switched off, this measuring process takes place in the background; only when the driver draws to a halt and engages reverse gear is the parking space flagged up on the on-board monitor using a suitable symbol. In both cases, drivers can confirm they want to use BMW Parking Assistant with a push of the iDrive Controller. During the parking process all they have to do is operate the accelerator and brake pedal and keep an eye on the area around the car; the Parking Assistant takes care of the steering wheel movements required to carry out a precise reverse parking maneuver. Drivers are given instructions to guide them through the parking process. Audible and visual alerts from PDC, the rear view camera or the newly introduced Surround View system help to maintain the required distance to other vehicles or obstacles in the chosen parking space.
Innovative trunk access makes life a little easier.
BMW ConnectedDrive has come up with another new and intelligent solution that makes BMW cars even easier to use. The hands-free trunk lid opening function – available for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan in conjunction with Comfort Access – is a first in the premium class. Standing behind the car, customers can prompt the trunk to open with just a short movement of their foot under the center of the rear bumper, i.e. without using their hands. The trunk then automatically unlocks and swings open by spring force. The vehicle is fitted with sensors placed at different heights in the rear bumper trim, which are able to identify a person standing behind the vehicle. The sensors can identify the foot “command” by monitoring the area of the leg between the shin and the tip of the foot. They then send a signal containing special algorithms to the on-board computer. Access is only authorized, however, if the system simultaneously identifies the Comfort Access control unit (the key), which the person must be carrying with them. The trunk lid is then unlocked and raised automatically, without hand contact. Key authorization provides the safeguard ensuring correct operation at all times.
Body and safety: The safest BMW 3 Series yet .
The new BMW 3 Series offers its passengers exceptional active and passive safety. Judicious selection of materials, a high-strength structure and an intelligent lightweight design concept allow the body to meet the most exacting standards, and it teams up with highly efficient restraint systems to provide maximum occupant protection. At the same time, the lightweight construction of the new BMW 3 Series makes a significant contribution to the efficiency and agility of the new sports sedan. In addition, an extensive package of active safety components help the driver to avoid accidents or, if a collision is unavoidable, to minimize its consequences. The same goes for the optimized pedestrian protection systems. All in all, the flawlessly assembled overall concept of the new BMW 3 Series makes it an incredibly impressive proposition – not least in terms of safety.
High-strength body structure with extremely stiff passenger cell.
The body of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan meets the highest standards across the board. Large and extremely durable supporting structures and the intelligent use of high and ultra-high-tensile multi-phase steels maximize the strength of the safety passenger cell, while keeping weight low. Precisely calculated load paths ensure that impact energy is spread around the passenger cell to other areas of the body such as the floor structure, side members, front bulkhead and roof, and absorbed by defined deformation zones of the front and rear. In the event of a side-on collision, reinforced structures in the B-pillar and sills, high-strength side impact members in the doors and sturdy seat cross-members protect the occupants from injury. With its strengthened pillars and roof members, the passenger cell also provides a secure survival area for the occupants if the car rolls over. The body of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan is over 10% more rigid than its predecessor – good news for drivers who like to see vibrations suppressed and steering precision nurtured.
Individual protection at every seat.
The exemplary crash responses of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan body also provide the best possible basis for the optimum design and set-up of the car’s restraint systems. The sports sedan is equipped as standard with front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, plus head airbags for both rows of seats. Responding to the nature and severity of the impact, the integrated safety electronics ensure that only those airbags that are able to provide effective protection are deployed at the optimum time. Those airbags that are not required remain unused – and therefore ready to spring into action should there be a second collision. All seats are fitted with three-point inertia-reel seat belts, and the driver and front passenger also have belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters. Also part of standard specification are ISOFIX child seat attachment points for the rear seats.
Improved pedestrian protection.
The front of the new BMW 3 Series features various pedestrian protection systems. An impact absorber is located between the bumper supports and bumper trim, reducing leg injuries, while the hood is built to include deformation elements, which absorb impact energy. These optimized measures help to reduce the risk of injury and mitigate the consequences of an accident.
A host of active safety systems reduce the risk of accidents.
A selection of electronic assistance systems make an active contribution to driving safety in the new BMW 3 Series, helping drivers to avoid collisions in the first place. The functions of the main assistance systems have already been described in the “BMW ConnectedDrive” chapter, but the stand-out features include the, daytime running lights, Adaptive Headlights with variable light distribution and anti-dazzle High-Beam Assistant, dynamic brake lights, a rear view camera, the Lane Departure Warning System including Collision Warning, the Lane Change Warning System and Speed Limit Info.
The all-new BMW 3 Series Sedan will arrive at US BMW centers in February 2012 as a 2012 model. Images and video can be downloaded from .
2012 BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon
Three cheers for another new wagon in the US market! BMW has announced that the long-roof version of the new 3-Series is absolutely, positively, 100-percent coming to the US, and it’ll be here in the Spring of 2013.
BMW specifically states that powertrain, pricing, and specification details will be announced later, but we’d expect the 3-Series Sports Wagon to be very similar to the sedan. This allows us to make educated guesses on a few things.
If BMW follows the precedent set by the last 3-Series, the only version of this Sports Wagon will be the 328i, in this case using the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder found in the 328i sedan. That means 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
We’re holding out hope for a 335i Sports Wagon, but the lack of a last-generation model makes it seem unlikely. BMW’s new eight-speed automatic and six-speed manual are likely to be the sole transmission choices.
Like the 3-Series sedan, the Sports Wagon will be available in Sport, Luxury, and Modern Lines, and will offer the same level of equipment as the four-door.
We’ll have pricing and powertrain information as it becomes available.
Please scroll down for the official press release from BMW.
All-New BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon
The favorite wagon of enthusiasts will again be available in the US
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – May 12, 2012 6:00pm EDT… BMW today released the first images and information on the next generation BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon and announced that, as with the two previous generations, this model will be offered in the US. Unlike anything else on the market, the all-new 3 Series Sports Wagon will again offer the flexibility and utility one would expect from a premium wagon combined with the driving dynamics of the quintessential sport sedan, the BMW 3 Series. The new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon will launch in Europe later this year and is set to arrive in US showrooms in Spring 2013. Powertrain details for the US as well as pricing, specifications and standard/optional equipment will be announced at a later date.
Like its Sedan sibling, the new 3 Series Sports Wagon is slightly larger than its predecessor, most notably its wider track (front + 37 mm/1.46 in., rear + 48 mm/1.85 in.). The car’s length (+ 97 mm/3.66 in.) and wheelbase (+ 50 mm/1.96 in.) also accentuate its sporting promise. Inside the new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon, rear passengers will appreciate the noticeable increase in space made possible by the larger dimensions. These larger dimensions also pay dividends in utility with nearly ten percent more cargo volume both with the rear seats up and when folded.
The new 3 Series Sports Wagon will be the next model to offer BMW Lines as a way to tailor the car to individual tastes, just as with the Sedan, by choosing from a trio of trim and equipment variants – the Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line. Each presents its own individual take on the character of the Sports wagon, with exclusive, high-quality trim and material combinations. For the enthusiast who wants to go beyond even the Sport Line, the M Sport Line will also be offered because it is, after all, a BMW 3 Series at its heart.
Striking face with precise contours and multi-faceted surfaces.
Characteristically, the sporting nature of the new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon is made apparent to the eye by its wide track. By accentuating the width of the car, the multi-faceted surfaces of the expressive front fascia give the 3 Series Sports Wagon a more athletic face than ever.
A three-dimensional interpretation of the upright, slightly forward-slanting BMW kidney grille emphasizes an assured presence. LED accent lights positioned like eyebrows above the traditional four round headlights with corona rings (if Adaptive Xenon headlights are specified) lend an extra intensity to the classic BMW focused look. Clearly defined headlight surrounds now extend up to the frame of the kidney grille, merging the headlights and grille into a single stylistic element and adding further emphasis to the car’s broad-set stance. The 3 Series Sports Wagon replaces the central air intake of its predecessor with two larger intakes, which are positioned underneath the headlights to the outer edges of the front fascia and add extra depth to the car’s sporty look. On the left and right edges of the main ducts are small vertical intakes which help create the “Air Curtain”. This new technology improves air flow around the front wheels, enhancing aerodynamic efficiency and reducing fuel consumption at higher speeds.
The closely spaced, squat openings of the kidney grille, with their eye-catching surrounds, form the most prominent element of the new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon’s front design. It is also where the precise lines of the dynamically contoured hood begin at the base of the A pillars and flow over the full length of the hood. The result is a front that appears lower-slung, giving 3 Series Sports Wagon a clear sporting edge when viewed head-on.
Precise lines produce a silhouette that enhances the car’s dynamic impact.
Powerfully taut surfaces with sweeping lines dominate the side view of the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon, stretching the car visually and lending extra verve to its dynamic stance. The flanks of the car are shaped by an eye-catching double character line running alongside each other. The higher character line emerges out of the low-slung nose and flows over the front wheel with an understated sweep, in a nod to the wagon’s fleetness of foot. The second character line develops lower down behind the front wheel and follows a delicately arching path towards the rear. Together, they reinforce the dynamic wedge shape of the car’s flanks. As well as providing a discreet increase in muscularity in the rear section below the character line, these styling cues also create vivid light and shade effects, which draw further attention to the car’s wide track.
The car’s athletic overall impression is emphasized by the steeply raked D-pillars, the angle of the rear window and the subtly wedge-shaped geometry of the window surfaces. The roofline – which slopes downwards slightly to the rear and is extended visually by a spoiler – and the “Hofmeister kink” at the foot of the D-pillar also generate a sense of dynamic tension. The finely balance between the greenhouse and the body lends the new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon a sporty, elegant and nimble look, while the rear lights extend well into the sides of the body and combine with its flowing lines to create a harmonious transition between the flanks and rear section.
The rear of the new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon also boasts a blend of sporting elegance and modern practicality. The horizontal lines and L-shaped lights set far to the outer edges accentuate the subtly flared fenders and the wider track. Two integrated bars of LEDs allow a slim light design and ensure they maintain an appearance that is instantly recognizable as a BMW both day and night. The positioning of the lights at the outer edges of the rear underline the car’s hunkered-down stance on the road. The large tailgate opening and low sill make loading and unloading bulky items that much easier.
The new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon again features a rear window that opens separately from the tailgate. The window is unlocked electrically via a button on the rear window wiper arm and opened by hand. This practical function makes it easier to load and unload smaller items – especially when space is tight, as the rear window opens up rather than out.
In order to make access to its generous cargo area easier, a power tailgate will be offered for the first time on a 3 Series Sports Wagon. Getting into the cargo area can be done at the touch of a button, either on the remote key or from inside the interior. Access is made even easier when Comfort Access is ordered, which will include the Hands Free Opening Tailgate. If one approaches the new 3 Series Sports Wagon with hands full, one need only stick a foot under the rear bumper and the tailgate automatically swings open.
Practicality and versatility: Hallmarks for the new 3 Series Sports Wagon
The new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon offers remarkable flexibility.
A net as well as an additional strap along the right side panel can be used to help secure cargo. Four tie-downs are integrated into the cargo floor. A net along the left-hand panel will also be available. A pair of coat hooks and an addition 12-volt outlet add an extra measure of flexibility. A storage tray under the load compartment floor and a deep stowage compartment on the left-hand side of the cargo area can accommodate smaller items. Another neat twist, the luggage compartment cover can be stowed away under the load compartment floor, allowing it to be kept in the car even when not in use. Also standard is a separate partition net, which can be employed in a variety of ways even when the rear seat backrests are folded down. The rear seats can be folded down in three sections in a 40:20:40 split. The large through-loading facility allows the new 3 Series Sports Wagon to carry four adults and longer items, such as skis or snowboards, at the same time.
In addition to the flexibility and utility offered by the interior of the new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon, other features unique to this model includes roof-rails to accommodate all manner of storage racks for everything from bicycles and skis to cargo boxes. It will also be available with a full glass panoramic sunroof.
BMW ConnectedDrive: The latest in safety and infotainment
With its broad range of driver assistance systems and mobility services, all offered as part of BMW ConnectedDrive, the new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon sets a new benchmark when it comes to safety, convenience and infotainment. To ensure that the available features deliver the maximum benefit, the exchange of information between the passengers, the vehicle and the outside world is managed by BMW ConnectedDrive.
The new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon is available with a full-color Head-Up Display. It projects key information in sharp resolution onto the windshield in the driver’s direct field of vision. Depending on the vehicle specification the speed limit is noted in addition to the car’s speed. The driver can also see navigation instructions and various alerts in the Head-Up Display. Thanks to the wide variety of driver assistance systems available in the new BMW 3 Series range, more information can be placed in the driver’s direct line-of-sight while their eyes remain squarely on the road.
State-of-the-art camera technology provides the potential for new levels of safety and convenience. Active Safety options include Lane Departure Warning as well as Blind Spot Detection. Backing up and parking both are made easier with the available Rear-view Camera with Top View which provides a bird’s-eye view of the car. Another convenience-enhancing assistance system is the BMW Parking Assistant, which takes charge of maneuvering into parking spaces making parallel-parking a breeze.
BMW Assist, a globally unique mobility service, comprises among other features a telephone information service and BMW’s industry-leading enhanced Automatic Collision Notification function with automatic detection of the vehicle location. BMW Assist also includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity.
Other innovative technologies allow the integration of the Apple iPhone and other smartphones as well as music players, including the use of Internet-based services. The Apps option enables iPhone users, among other things, to receive Internet radio stations and to display Facebook and Twitter posts on the onboard monitor. With BMW Apps, iPhone users can access and listen to music streaming services like Pandora and MOG today with Stitcher coming soon.
The all-new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon again brings the versatility of a wagon with the driving dynamics of the quintessential sport sedan. The new 3 Series Sports wagon will be arriving in US showrooms in spring 2013. Powertrain details for the US as well as pricing, specifications and standard/optional equipment will be announced at a later date.
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 113 MINI passenger car dealers, and 32 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
2014 BMW 3-Series GT
It wasn’t meant to arrive until the 2013 Geneva Motor Show next month. Whoops! This is the 2014 BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo. It’s the second such BMW to wear the GT badge, following in the footsteps of the 5-Series Gran Turismo. Let’s hope the 3GT avoids the 5’s lukewarm reception.
In our eyes, we don’t see that being a problem. As we highlighted yesterday, the proportions and overall aesthetic of the 3GT is cleaner and far less polarizing than the overly tall, five-door 5-Series. The roofline plunges neatly at the back, terminating in BMW’s first production use of active aerodynamics. The small, pop-up spoiler adds character and sportiness to what isn’t an inherently sporty looking vehicle.
The 3GT will come to market with the 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-pot found in the 335i, along with two different versions of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. Diesel offerings consist of a pair of 2.0-liter, turbodiesel four-pots. There’s no exact information on power figures, but we’d strongly assume power will be identical to 3-Series Sedan levels for each respective engine. Like the sedan, a six-speed manual is standard, while an eight-speed automatic is an optional goodie.
Now the big question, and the one we raised yesterday, is luggage space. Well, the 3GT is some 200 millimeters (7.84 inches) longer than the long-roof, 3-Series wagon. The result is slightly more cargo space than the 3-Series Touring (25 liters, or .88 cubic feet). Compared to the sedan, the GT’s 18.3 cubic feet of cargo volume is a nice improvement on the 17-cubic-foot trunk found on the four-door. Moreover, access to the back of the GT will be far easier, thanks to the high-opening of the rear hatch.
There’s no mention of pricing or availability quite yet. We’ll be sure to update you as soon as that info becomes available.
Please scroll down for the official press release from BMW.
The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo
The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo adds an innovative new concept to the successful BMW 3 Series line-up. The third body variant in the current model family combines the Sedan’s dynamic, sporting genes with the practicality and versatility of the Touring, qualities which are backed up by a palpable increase in space and driving comfort. The Gran Turismo exudes aesthetic and emotional appeal, boasts a distinctive presence on the road and offers similarly pronounced driving pleasure. All of which allows the new Gran Turismo to make a compelling case for itself as both an elegant business carriage and a dynamic, comfortable tourer.
Typical BMW proportions, four doors with frameless windows, a coupe-style, gently downward-sloping roofline and a large, automatically opening and closing tailgate define the distinctive exterior character of the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. An active rear spoiler – the first of its type on a BMW – provides visual lightness and reduces lift at touring speeds. The new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is 200 millimetres longer in total than the BMW 3 Series Touring, comes with a 110-millimetre longer wheelbase and stands 81 millimetres taller. However,
the clever use of proportions, surfaces and lines ensures that the
BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is immediately recognisable as a member
of the new BMW 3 Series range.
Impressive long-distance comfort in a unique ambience.
Generous interior dimensions allow the passengers in every seat of the
BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo to sit back and enjoy an impressive feeling of space and unbeatable freedom of movement. The front and rear passengers all benefit from a seating position raised by 59 millimetres, which provides an outstanding view out and makes entry and exit significantly more comfortable. Plus, the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo also offers extra headroom. The increase in space will be particularly noticeable in the rear compartment, where a full 70 millimetres of additional legroom over the Sedan and Touring – giving luxury-car levels of spaciousness – is there to be enjoyed. The cocooning nature of the interior, complemented by its design forms, colour scheme and materials, creates a lounge-style ambience which allows passengers to enjoy short trips and long journeys alike in relaxed comfort.
Intelligent load area management.
The load area also reflects the car’s increased dimensions, its 520 litres of boot capacity even outstripping that of the BMW 3 Series Touring by 25 litres. The large load aperture and high-opening tailgate make access easier. Practical standard features – such as the 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat bench with folding head restraints and tilt-adjustable backrests (cargo function), and the two-piece parcel shelf – underscore the impressive functionality of the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. The large load area can be utilised in many different ways, allowing intelligent space management. Practical features such as lashing points, multifunction hooks and an underfloor storage compartment make it even more convenient to use, while the LED strips that illuminate the cargo area emphasise the premium quality of the 3 Series Gran Turismo.
Quintessential BMW 3 Series: functional elegance, three equipment lines.
High-end material combinations and fit and finish of the highest quality underline the premium ambience on board the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. The latest addition to the 3 Series family can be ordered in an entry-level version, with the Sport Line, Luxury Line or Modern Line equipment packages, or with the optional M Sport package, which will already be available from July 2013.
Three petrol and two diesel engines power the GT off the start line.
Customers can choose from a selection of five powerful, refined and economical engines – covering an output range from 105 kW/143 hp to 225 kW/306 hp– from the launch of the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. All the powerplants use BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The range-topping six-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet of the BMW 335i Gran Turismo is joined by the four-cylinder petrol units in the BMW 328i Gran Turismo and BMW 320i Gran Turismo. The two 2.0-litre diesel engines powering the BMW 320d Gran Turismo and BMW 318d Gran Turismo round off the line-up at launch.
Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox as
standard, although BMW also offers an eight-speed automatic as an option for all engine variants. Both gearboxes link up with the fuel-saving Auto Start-Stop function.
Advanced suspension technology, featuring a large number of light-alloy components, the torque steer-free Electric Power Steering, finely-balanced axle load distribution (50:50) and a torsionally stiff lightweight body ensure outstanding handling attributes and a high degree of agility and precision.
The longer wheelbase (+ 110 mm), greater wheel diameter and baseline specification of the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo– which includes 17-inch wheels – result in a car offering excellent directional stability and long-distance comfort.
BMW EfficientDynamics.
In addition to its enviable practicality and sporting dynamics, the outstanding fuel economy of the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo also serves the cause of driving pleasure. The key here is the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy, whose influence can be seen in virtually every area of the new model. Building on the good work of the ultra-frugal petrol and diesel engines, the intelligent lightweight construction concept of the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismoand its optimised aerodynamics (including Air Curtains, Air Breathers and the active rear spoiler) do their bit to maximise efficiency and dynamics. And other measures, such as the Auto Start-Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration, Optimum Shift Indicator and on-demand operation of ancillary components join the campaign to ensure the powerful BMW 3 Series Gran Turismoboasts impressively low fuel consumption and emissions. The economy drive doesn’t stop there, either; the car still has the potential to cut fuel use by as much as another 20 per cent using ECO PRO mode and the new ECO PRO Route function.
BMW ConnectedDrive.
An extensive selection of driver assistance systems and mobility solutions, offered  under the BMW ConnectedDrive programme, allows the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo to set the benchmark in its segment in terms of safety, convenience and infotainment. One highlight of the range is the latest-generation full-colour Head-Up Display, which projects key information onto the windscreen in sharp resolution. Included alongside an array of other convenience and safety-enhancing assistance systems is highly effective interface technology that allows extensive use of external mobile phones and numerous Bluetooth office functions for internet-based services.
The Apps option and free BMW Connected application provide access to services such as social networks, web radio and iPhone calendar functions. Last but not least, information and office services, and travel and leisure planners using the Google Maps and Panoramio services, further increase levels of passenger comfort in the new BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo.
2012 BMW 328i 8AT
Engine: Turbocharged inline-4, 2.0 liters, 16v    
Output: 240 hp/260 lb-ft
0-60 MPH: 5.9 sec
Weight: 3461 lb
Base Price: $35,795
On Sale: February 2012
2012 BMW 335i Sedan
Engine: Turbocharged inline-6, 3.0 liters, 24v
Output: 300 hp/300 lb-ft
0-60 MPH: 5.4 sec
Weight: 3571 lb
Fuel Economy, City/Hwy: 23/33 mpg
Base Price: $42,400
Driven: 2012 BMW 328i Sedan
There’s no getting around it; it’s awfully hard to build the next generation of an iconic car. For drivers of sporting sedans, few models hold as much allure, on a fundamental level, as BMW’s 3-Series—the car that pretty much invented the sports sedan genre. Conversely, with a reputation so thoroughly well earned by its predecessors, and with legions of fans and former 3-Series drivers caught up in the greatness of models past, few cars have as much to live up to as this sixth-generation “F30” car. Constant excellence has its price; a lesson BMW knows very well.
One could reasonably argue that the base model 328i has got an even tougher row to hoe, too, compared to its more powerful 335i stablemate. The 28i car not only has to deal with the strange penalty associated with new versions of familiar things—car enthusiasts especially seem to dote on models past, while tearing down present offerings—but it must also carry a burden of omission. Gone is the much loved, and supremely characterful 3.0-liter inline-six motor of Bimmer lore, replaced by a turbocharged four-cylinder that, while effective enough on paper, doesn’t promise the magic of high revs and song that we loved to wring out of the outgoing mill.
As we set out upon the high-speed autoways and breathtaking back roads that made up our lengthy tour around Catalonia, our fears about the new 2.0-liter turbo not being up to snuff were quickly set aside. As we found when we first sampled this motor in the new Z4, the new 28i engine is both completely unlike its naturally aspirated forbearer, and perfectly suited to carry on in its place. The total sonic package, engine note and exhaust, doesn’t climb to upper octaves like the old six, but rather bursts forward with a low, mean growl that lacks for neither volume (a pleasant surprise), nor aggressive demeanor. In fact, the one thing that this new engine does have in common with the old one, is that it will make you want to drive your 328i harder and harder as the speed ramps up and the song gets louder.
So, the new engine sounds good. Better yet, it packs a serious punch and makes owning the most modest 3er a faster-than-ever proposition. In 328i trim, the new 2.0T makes 240 horsepower and a stout 260 pound-feet of torque. Those figures represent a gain of 10 horsepower, and a phenomenal 60 more pound-feet. Fed by a single, twin-scroll turbocharger (TwinPower Turbo in BMW-speak), all that twist is available across a broad swath of revs, too. Neither road nor track work in the car found us bothered with any bit of turbo lag. (The broad, flat torque curve did make us less inclined to rev the hell out of the motor on the racetrack, but it also allowed us to access power quickly and efficiently when coming out of a corner.)
Cars equipped with the new eight-speed automatic transmission (all we drove were thusly spec’d) carry a BMW-vetted 0-60 time of 5.9-seconds, which is a full second faster than the outgoing 328. The seats of our pants told us that low-speed acceleration certainly felt more brutal than we’d become used to with the last car, though certainly not so face-deforming as is experienced in the 335i.
Sad as we were to miss out on the six-speed manual experience, especially given the amazing Spanish roads we had to play with, it was hard to find fault with BMW’s fancy new 8AT. The ratios felt well spaced and well suited to both back-road and highway driving, with seamless transitions between gears in full auto mode, and reasonably quick shifts when we paddle-shifted for ourselves.
The eight-speed is also, of course, a critical component in the company’s multi-headed approach to significantly improving fuel economy in this generation. We don’t have any EPA fuel economy figures to report (and BMW wasn’t about to estimate for us), but with standard stop/start technology, brake energy regeneration, a new Eco Pro mode (cuts back on power to accessories, and dampens throttle response until you floor it), better aero, and a lower curb weight, expect to see consumption drop meaningfully. Of those fuel-saving technologies, only the Eco Pro mode bummed us out to use—pedal feel simply gets really mushy and non-linear—but it’s easy enough to switch off, and plenty of 328i buyers will appreciate being able to save gas when they choose to do so.
The powertrain is more than up to snuff, then, but love for the 3-Series has always depended far more on the car’s historic handling prowess than for its engine. The good news here is that, despite being a larger car than ever before (though lighter, as we mentioned), this 328i gives no ground in terms of handling joy. Well, basically no ground, anyway.
BMW was good enough to secure the Circuit de Catalunya for us to test out its new bread-and-butter sedan. The Spanish circuit is a Formula 1 mainstay, and proved well suited to finding the dynamic limits of the BMW. The whole of the circuit, save the long start/finish straight, was ours to play with.
We started our track experience with both traction control and stability control activated. With all the nannies on high alert, the car was, predictably, prone to understeer in when all but full grip was available to the tires, and was therefore a lot more wooden when piloted in and out of the corners. The good news is that the body structure still exhibited a great deal of rigidity when moving through a hard corner, and there was no kind of sponginess or wobbling in evidence from the suspension, either.
As our confidence with the racetrack increased (something that didn’t take long, as Catalunya is massively wide in most places, with tons of runoff room) we switched off the electronic aids to glorious effect. When left to its own devices, the 328i proved to be a truly fluid-handing, easy-to-control machine, that was a riot even in the challenging motorsports venue. The suspension telegraphed plenty of information about balance and grip through the bottom of the vehicle, and we had little trouble inducing, and controlling, a bit of lift-off oversteer when we were so inclined. Just really good, basically neutral, rear-drive handling characteristics that are totally inline with what we expect from this model.
Every bit of good behavior found on the track was carried over to the road drive, too. What’s more, the positive filtering of bad/broken road surfaces, without compromising at-limit handing, became evident as we traveled through Spain, as well. Don’t expect to sacrifice much ride comfort at the expense of athletic ability, if you’re considering a 3-Series purchase.
On the downside, we found the steering experience largely lacking in flavor for something styled as the Ultimate Driving Machine. There is a vagueness and a wooly quality to the steering rack, that undermines all the information being given through the underpinnings, and doesn’t do a good job of completing the otherwise brilliant sports sedan package. It’s fair to say that we noticed the uncommunicative steering more at track speeds than on regular roads—where we are generally less concerned with missing an apex and/or hitting a pylon—but there was never a high level of feedback on offer. The tiller here was a lot like what we’ve come to know well in the current 5-Series, though not nearly as light or wobbly as is found in the 5-Series GT, and is a strange bit of work for a company that generally works to enthrall enthusiast drivers.
Quibbles with steering mentioned, we have to say that most of the rest of what’s new about the 328 is stuff that we like. We drove mostly high-spec cars, with leather surfaces and bushel-baskets full of advanced technology. The interior treatment is well-executed and feels rich, even in the colorways that we’d don’t personally care for (just give us all black, thanks), with soft touch points, real cup holders (the flimsy pop-out items of the old car have been banished), cool new accent metal and wood finishes, and seats that support, cradle, and generally pamper the driver. Oh yeah, the backseat area, long a bitched-about portion of the 3-Series world, is decidedly more accommodating now, thanks to the bump in wheelbase. 
The newest iteration of BMW’s heads-up display is beautifully colored and great to use; certainly it helped us navigate the highway system of a foreign country with remarkable ease. The once-dreaded iDrive system has become one of our favorite such infotainment controllers on the market, as it combines deep, comprehensive system access with an interface that is simple to grasp.
Perhaps one of the most unheralded (before now, anyway) points of luxury for the new 3-Series, is BMW’s stop-your-worrying Ultimate Service plan. The plan offers, of course, a new vehicle warranty (4 years/50,000 miles), but the service that you receive as part of the purchase of the car, goes above and beyond. BMW’s safety/assist plan will allow your 328i to call the garage when it knows it needs service; roadside assistance is 365/24 and unlimited for the first 4 years of ownership; the comprehensive maintenance program covers BMW-recommended maintenance, and a large host of consumable items (brake pads/discs, wiper blades, drive belts, and more). Drivers like to drive, we find, not worry about calling the tow truck.
As is our wont, we’ll mostly leave you alone to figure out if you like the new, evolutionary styling of this F30, or not. We will comment that the sharper nose seemed like the biggest, most obvious difference from the outgoing car, and proved more beautiful to our eyes in real life than it seemed when we looked at pictures. The headlights and lower valence, especially, seemed kind of technical, and cool, and German in a positive way.
As ever with much-hyped, much-discussed, and much-loved models, this new 328i will have its share of irrational detractors, and ardent devotees, right from the start. We think that it’s a capable, luxurious, quick, good-looking machine that speaks to its heritage while embracing the fast-moving future. BMW should be as proud of this F30 as it is of its long-standing tradition of excellent sports sedans. We quite enjoyed driving the 328i in Spain, and see it as a fantastic base with which to build the even more compelling 3-Series line of the near future.
Driven: 2012 BMW 335i Sedan
“Yes” and “no.” Those are the two answers to the basic questions about the new F30 generation of the BMW 335i Sedan (the coupe is at least another year away). We have no intention of playing Jeopardy with you, so we’ll supply the questions to go along with our carefully considered, and may we say poetically efficient, answers.
But first we want to point out that the BMW 3-Series is one of the three toughest cars to review on the planet, the others being the Porsche 911 and whatever Marenello decides to call its latest V-8 powered, mid-engine Ferrari (i.e. 308, 328, 348, 355, 360, F430, 458). The challenge in all three review scenarios is the massive amount of baggage/beliefs/experiences/memes/wishes that come along with each car because of its long-term iconic position in the car world. It is a challenge for both reviewer and reader to wipe the slate clean and just look at “what is” and forget about all that other stuff.
If you are approaching the 335i fresh from preconceptions, we think the first question you’ll want to ask goes something like, “Is the 335i a very good car?” Note that if you brought your mental baggage along, you wouldn’t be asking this question because you already know that the answer is “yes.” And, in truth the answer is, indeed, “yes,” the BMW 335i is, once again, a very good car, though perhaps it is worth understanding why.
For enthusiasts, one explanation comes very early in our testing. We’re flying through Turn Nine at Laguna Seca, and the 335i is impressive. Turn Nine comes right after the famous Corkscrew and is a fast left-hander. When you’re first getting used to a car, the toughest situations are these fast corners where you need to carry fairly high speed, but if you get it wrong you may end up in deep, shall we say, yogurt. The beauty of the 335i is that the chassis is so nicely balanced that the car is very progressive and you sense quite quickly that the car can be placed on the track accurately and then modulated with relative ease. It is a wonderful thing to have this composure and control and level of communication. This is not a new element of the 3-Series package, of course, and in fact we’ve been driving an E30 M3 (from 1988) recently, and it had some of the same qualities. But the fact that this on-limit behavior continues to be a BMW specialty shouldn’t take away from the fact that it is a very good, and rather rare, thing.
The engine, which carries over from the E90 version of the car, remains a sweetheart. Torque is solid from low in the rev range and there is ample top end oomph. The car is heavy enough that the 300 horsepower here never feels scary fast, but it can certainly get out of its own way. BMW continues, saints be praised, to offer both manual and automatic transmissions with this engine (and with the 328i). We will say that the automatic, with its very nice paddles, works quite well on the track, an observation independently seconded by Bill Auberlen, a factory BMW race driver who was on hand to share insights with us. And while the manual will probably be your choice for entertainment in suburban driving, if conditions demand an automatic, this one is quite good when operated from the console as well as from the wheel.
The other basic element of 3-Series goodness that is in evidence is the luxurious composure of the car when running around town or driving on twisty highways. The suspension is relatively soft, by sports sedan standards, and the ride quality on broken pavement is a nice mix of isolated without being remote. You clearly know when you hit a bump, but it is smoothed out enough to make it a non-event. We drove both the standard- and sport-suspended cars, and we would actually suggest that the sport version has a better ride. That’s a matter of primary ride quality (behavior over big swales and dips), where we thought the standard car had a little too much vertical motion to ensure that our lunches stayed completely still. But buyers living in the pothole-infested north might well vote the other way, preferring the standard suspension, because the sport suspension makes a slightly bigger issue of pavement edges.
The 335i sedan is also quiet enough. There are quieter cars, certainly, but the mild sounds that come into the cabin from the road or the engine bay are never intrusive and would hardly get in the way of conversation or listening to the quite competent stereo.
To go along with these ride and acoustic considerations, BMW has issued seats that are similar to past offerings, which is to say quite comfy. BMW doesn’t hew to the hard surfaces that Audi insists upon, and yet manages to deliver a firm and supportive foundation for the 3er. We spent hours at a stretch in the car with nary a sore spot to be found on our trim backsides. Seats are important, but one also wants a good driving position (check) and a spacious rear compartment. The latter is newly expanded and finally gets the 3-Series past the, “Oh, well, it is a small car after all” excuse. BMW claims the rear area is as large as the 5-Series from the early 2000s (E39) but we’d say it feels at least as big as the last-gen 5er (E60). Folks around six-feet or so should be happy in the rear, even over long distances. The only issue will be the softness of the suspension under a high load (again, sport suspension to the rescue).
Also on the list of good stuff that BMW has brought to the table, the 3-Series can be had with a host of fancy comfort and convenience features. You have, perhaps, come to expect this, though the German OEMs have often been a bit stingy with the lux options on their entry models. With the Asians and Americans spreading microprocessors willy-nilly throughout the cabin, BMW has had to trickle down the gizmos.
The list of such things is long, but we should mention a few standouts. The 3-Series can now be had with a color heads-up display. This does a nice job of presenting information closer to your eye’s natural focusing point while looking down the road. BMW is also trying hard to bridge the app world of the smartphone with the car. This isn’t as easy as it might sound, because the user interface in a car is different (more touch, less visual). In any event, BMW offers a range of apps that integrate with iPhones, and probably will offer Android versions in the near future. This means that the application set of your car can be upgraded over its lifetime, something that really has never been true before.
The F30 335i offers many options that are becoming mundane, but may be important to the prospective buyer. Among these are a full set of safety capabilities, including traction control, stability control and front and rear airbags. Beyond that, the 335i has Automatic Collision Notification system from BMW ConnectedDrive that allows emergency services responders to receive detailed information on the type of collision and the likelihood of trauma level injuries before arriving at the scene of the accident. It also offers standard xenon headlights with adaptive light control to aim the headlights in the direction the car is turning.
For convenience, the 335i offers a rear-view camera, park distance control, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and side-view and top-view cameras. Of course, navigation, Bluetooth, keyless entry, auto dimming mirrors, and real time traffic information are available. As a reminder, this is a BMW, so these items are not free.
Such options are becoming the norm, as is improved fuel economy. That, however, shouldn’t diminish your appreciation of BMW’s effort on fuel economy. If anything represents the engineering focus of the F30 cars, it is the series of small steps the company has taken toward better efficiency.
The starting point is a turbocharged, direct-injected engine. The familiar N55 3.0-liter six (300 horsepower, 300 pound-feet of torque) is coupled to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, which allows the car to run in an efficient rev range more of the time. BMW has trimmed weight from the basic chassis, so that with all the added features, the new 335i weighs about what the outgoing car did (3571 pounds for the new versus 3607 for the old). To top it off, BMW offers a stop/start system (so you aren’t burning as much fuel in stop-and-go traffic). We found this system mildly annoying, but we think we’d adjust after about a week in Los Angeles or New York traffic.
BMW also offers an EcoPro mode. By switch selection from the console, EcoPro dials back the throttle response of the car, essentially enforcing a smoother driving pattern. We didn’t hate EcoPro, but honestly, we’d have a hard time using it except on long, boring drives. When you add all of this gizmology up, the 335i should deliver about 23 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined in the EPA cycle. Considering the luxury and performance features on tap here, that is pretty good.
While on the topic of efficiency, a comment is in order about the F30 328i sedan that we tested earlier. That car offers a turbo four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower that we think is more than adequate for many drivers. It doesn’t feel underpowered, it handles a smidge better than the 335i, and it delivers 2 to 3 mpg more, with the possibility of edging over 30 mpg combined if you are very careful. And if it isn’t good enough, BMW will offer a hybrid 3-Series later in the year.
Now we get to the second basic question we think some 3-Series prospective buyers will be asking: “Is the new F30 Series a special and distinctive car that stands out from the pack and justifies its somewhat lofty price?” And this is where we have to answer, “No.”
As we hope you have seen, the 335i is a very good car. But, honestly, we weren’t sure we could have distinguished the F30 335i from the outgoing E90 if there were a way to drive them with blindfolds on. BMW, perhaps unsurprisingly, didn’t have E90s on hand to allow the open-eyed version of this test. And, technology being what it is, we’re pretty sure various tweaks would allow the cars to be distinguished.
What we’re saying is that, qualitatively, the F30 isn’t a big step forward. The old car drove well and so does the new one. The old car only stepped over the line into the inspired realm when in 335is form or as an M3. The new base car, even in sport form, doesn’t join those two cars, and we’ll have to wait and see if similar new M versions make that same step.
BMW’s problem of course is that the 3-Series is a volume car, and enthusiasts represent a tiny fraction of buyers. BMW, thankfully, makes variants (or will make variants) for this audience. The first of these is the upcoming M Sport package, which includes a lowered M Sport suspension, featuring a 10-millimeter (0.4-inch) drop in ride height, firmer suspension and damping, and larger anti-roll bars. Also featured are eighteen- or nineteen-inch M alloy wheels. The package comes with an attractive M aerodynamics kit featuring special body parts, chrome tailpipes, and exclusive exterior paintwork and interior trim to match.
The other way in which BMW has tried to make the new 3-Series feel special is via design. BMW has moved away from an à la carte approach to a design based on themes. Four themes are available: base, Luxury, Modern, and Sport. Each of these has distinctive materials and colors on the interior, and also involves changes to some exterior parts, especially the front splitter and rear valance. We like this concept because it allows a wider range of design choices, though we can easily imagine some customers being frustrated by wanting some elements from different themes to be mixed. That is life with mass production, of course.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we will say that after a few days of looking at the new exterior and interior designs, we came away with the feeling that BMW was rather conservative in its approach. The new car doesn’t look significantly different from the old car, and where it is different it seems to be for the sake of difference, not for the sake of improvement.
None of this should detract from your view of the basic excellence on offer here. The 3-Series was a very good car, with almost no significant flaws, and it still is. Now it is a more efficient good car. Now it is a good car with more features. And, BMW being BMW, it will eventually be offered in a form that makes it a special driver’s car.
Quick Drive: 2012 BMW 335i Sedan
If you want a small, sporty BMW sedan, this is your only option (at least until the next M3 sedan arrives, or if you can live with the very-good-but-not-overwhelmingly-fast 328i). Of course, all things considered, this isn’t a big deal. The stats for the 335i are, for the most part, identical to the past several years: a 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder sends 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels by way of a six speed manual transmission (standard).
Not surprisingly, the result of this tried-and-true formula was a very good sports sedan. Adding to this recipe for 2013 is BMW’s new Sport Line trim. One of three new pre-packaged trims, the Sport Line added nineteen-inch wheels, an adaptive M suspension, a special Sport+ mode for the Driving Dynamics Control, sport seats, a special leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the regular bevy of trim tweaks (high-gloss black trim outside, and brushed aluminum inside).
The familiar BMW turbocharged six-cylinder delivered an abundant amount of power, easily catapulting the 335i forward. Acceleration was strong throughout the rev range, and the quick-spooling nature of the twin-scroll turbo meant that lag was virtually nonexistent. Planting our foot in any gear at nearly any speed resulted in us scooting forward on a pleasant surge of torque.
Aiding the whole venture was an extremely user-friendly six-speed manual. It feels more refined than the six-cog stick from the last-generation 335i, with less notchiness in each gate. The clutch uptake was smooth and progressive, with a predictable catchpoint. While the power may be difficult to get used to, we’d have no qualms about teaching someone to drive a manual transmission in this vehicle.
The steering can be looked at in two different ways. On the one hand, there was that delightful weight that BMW programs into its tillers. It made the car feel substantial, and gave us the sense that the wheel we were turning actually had something connected at the end of it. On the other hand, there wasn’t a lot of feedback coming from the leather-wrapped wheel. BMWs often force drivers to rely on seat-of-the-pants feedback, and this 335i was no different.
Speaking of that seat-of-the-pants feedback, there was a lot of it to interpret in this car. The supportive, well-bolstered sport seats ensured we maintained plenty of contact and could soak up every ounce of communication from the chassis.
Part of what’s responsible for all that feedback was the excellent M suspension that’s been fitted to the Sport Line trim. It could rapidly adjust to changing situations, and was managed by the mode of the Drive Dynamics Control. In Comfort, it mitigated bumps while avoiding the overly floaty feeling that accompanies some Comfort modes from other manufacturers. In Sport and Sport+, it firmed things up, and really improved the amount of feedback through the chassis. Roll was progressive and predictable, with just enough to inform the driver of lateral grip levels. Squat and dive were kept to a minimum as well, giving the 335i a very neutral, balanced feel front to back.
For fuel sipping, BMW’s excellent start-stop system and the Eco Pro mode were there for us. We’ve seen start/stop on plenty of vehicles before, but what surprised us about its behavior in the BMW as just how invisible it was. There was little in the way of shuttering or drama on start up and shut down. The Eco Pro mode (part of the Drive Dynamics Control) delivered an impressive amount of information on just how economical our driving was, going so far as to show a figure illustrating how many extra miles we’d earned in the instrument cluster. During our week of testing, we netted a respectable 24.2 miles per gallon. Considering that the 335i is rated for 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, and that we have quite the lead foot, our economy seemed rather respectable.
BMW has built another winner with this latest version of its legendary 3-Series, delivering an excellent blend of the driving dynamics and luxury we expect, along with a couple new items that make for an engaging gas-saver.
After downloading all of the pricing information about Ford’s Mustang GT in last week’s BVL, we thought we’d take on a popular German target with BMW’s 3-Series this week. Of course, when looked at from the 328i up through the M3 variants, there are an awful lot of legitimately different cars that wear the 3 for BMW, so, for this session, we narrowed the field down to simply the 335i sedan. As you’ll see, that limitation doesn’t mean that we didn’t find a wide gulf in price, from Base up to Loaded.
2012 BMW 328i