The new 3-Series is a car of contradictions; its larger and more spacious than the model it replaces, but lighter, quicker, more fuel efficient, and even more nimble, agile and safer than ever. It has also taken big steps forward in terms of styling, quality, comfort and specification for only a minimal price increase. BMW even offers you a chance to create your very own bespoke 3-Series with a wide choice of trim levels and an extensive personalisation programme.
Compact BMW’s have always appealed to the emotions of keen drivers because of their outstanding driving dynamics, but with the advent of the company’s EfficientDynamics technologies to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, the new 3-Series also presents a compelling case for potential owners – great driving dynamics at reduced cost of ownership.
All versions of the new 3-Series will feature Drive Performance Control as standard; this is a switch which allows the driver to swap between four driving modes varying from sporty to extremely economical. The four modes are – ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport + (only available on Sport models or with selected optional equipment).
An eight-speed automated gearbox provides a wider spread of ratios than the former six-speed unit and is available as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual. The new gearbox is available with every engine to significantly improve efficiency.
Speaking of engines, every new engine for the 3-Series will feature a combination of BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology, High-Precision Direct Injection, TwinScroll turbocharging, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing and VALVETRONIC variable valve opening technology.
These combination of technologies allows the new four-cylinder 2-liter petrol unit to develop 245hp and 350Nm of torque. This engine is found in the 328i and replaces the six-cylinder 3-liter engine. It’s lighter and more fuel efficient yet does the 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.9-seconds in manual form. Fuel consumption figures for the new 328i stand at 18.7km/l.
There’s also a new diesel engine in the form of an improved 2-liter unit that produces 184hp for the 320d. There’s also a 163hp unit for the 320d EfficientDynamics which features longer gear ratios, reduced friction components and revised electronics to produce an outstanding 29.3km/l.
BMW also plans to introduce three new engines for the new 3-Series. There will be a new 316d and 318d diesel units powered by 116hp and 143hp variants of the 2-liter diesel engine. There will also be another version of the 2-liter turbocharged petrol engine that will slot into the new 320i. This engine will deliver 184hp and 270Nm of torque with the same free-revving, supremely flexible character of BMW’s TwinPower Turbo petrol engines.
As for its size, the new 3-Seriesis longer and narrower than the outgoing model which clearly translates to more internal space. The doors open wider and the amount of luggage space has also increased. All in all, the new 3-Series is a bigger car without looking like it.
The dashboard has also taken on a driver oriented focus with a new elegant and dynamic new interior design. The dashboard is now angled at seven degress towards the driver. The controls and switches have also been redesigned to ease usability.
You can expect the new BMW 3-Series to reach Malaysian shores by the first half of 2012.