BMW’s sixth-generation 3 Series sedan features a host of design, mechanical and equipment updates aimed at making the vehicle more comfortable and efficient while maintaining the model’s reputation for agility and sporty driving dynamics.
Although the redesigned mid-size best-seller has grown, it’s lighter than its predecessor. The new car is wider and longer, and rides on a wheelbase that has been stretched nearly two inches, allowing more space for rear-seat passengers. Still, weight has been cut by 88 lbs. The new 3 Series gets BMW’s new corporate face, with flat headlights that stretch across to meet the signature kidney grille, further emphasizing the vehicle’s wider track.
Under the hood, buyers can specify one of four engines, all with BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology. A new 4-cylinder gas engine joins the lineup, while a six-cylinder gas engine and two diesels are also available. Any of these engine options can be paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission or a new eight-speed automatic that offers efficiency to match the standard gearbox.
Both transmissions feature Auto Start-Stop to optimize efficiency, part of the BMW EfficientDynamics system. Other components of the system include Brake Energy Regeneration and Optimum Shift Indicator. In addition to Comfort, Sport and Sport + settings, a new Driving Experience Control includes an ECO PRO mode, allowing drivers to maximize fuel economy through an efficient driving style.
Available in three trim and equipment lines – Sport Line, Luxury Line, and Modern Line – the new 3 Series offers a range of safety and convenience technologies, many new to the model. A full-color Head-Up display projects key information into the driver’s field of view. Parking assistance and Surround View, which gives the driver multiple bird’s-eye views of the area around the vehicle, help drivers navigate at low speeds. ConnectedDrive, which combines Active Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning System, and a camera-based Collision Warning System are new to the 3 Series Sedan.
BMW unveiled the new 3 Series in Munich with video of the event streaming live on Facebook. The video allows the public to get a closer look and learn more about the new sedan. The 2012 3 Series is expected to hit US dealers in February, but pricing has not yet been announced.