BMW Introduces Next Generation 2012 3 Series with 320d, 328i, 335i – 2 More Diesels and ActiveHybrid 3 to Follow

By Christian Stampfer on 14 October 2011
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Christian Stampfer reports live from Munich

With great fanfare, BMW introduced the sixth generation 3 Series at the BMW plant in Munich with a white 320d EfficientDynamics Edition sedan leading the way.

In quick succession, driven by apprentices at the BMW plant and paraded past thousands of cheering BMW employees, we saw seven cars in total including a grey 328i, a grey 320d, a black sapphire 320d, a blue 320d, a Melbourne red 328i, and a glacial silver 335i.

The new 3er features 50-50 weight distribution, a driver-oriented cockpit, and four versions will be available at launch, namely the 320d, 320d EfficientDynamics Edition, the 328i, and the 335i.

The 320d and 320d EDE are powered by an updated 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel engine and each develops 380 pound-feet of torque.  The 320d has 184 hp and the 320d EDE has 163 hp with longer gear ratios, reduced friction components and revised electronics allowing it to get 57 mpg (4.1 l/100 km) emitting just 109 g/km CO2.

In the fall of 2012, the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 will join the 3er lineup.  It uses the N55 six-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinTurbo technology and a specially-designed eight-speed automatic transmission with integrated electric motor.  The motor can, for limited periods of time, increase power by up to 55 hp (40 kW), making the maximum combined output 335 hp (250 kW) with 330 pound-feet of torque.  Average fuel consumption in the EU cycle is rated at 36.7 mpg (6.4 l/100 km).

Most models will be available in Sport, Modern, and Luxury versions, each with unique design details.

Three additional models will be available approximately one month later, namely the 316d and 318d diesels, powered by 116 hp and 143 hp variants of the 2.0-litre diesel engine respectively, plus the 320i, powered by another version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

All versions of the 3er will feature a variety of new technologies that make for more fuel-efficient driving.  It is 3.7” (93 mm) longer and .25” (6 mm) narrower than its predecessor and has more interior room for passengers and luggage.

Drive Performance Control will be standard.  DPC allows the driver to switch between four driving modes, namely Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport + (Sport + is included on Sport models only).  In Eco Pro, the throttle mapping is changed to encourage a more economical driving style by requiring the driver to push harder on the accelerator pedal than normal modes require.  Eco Pro also changes where the shift points occur as displayed by the car’s Optimum Shift Indicator.  On models with an automatic transmission, the shifting pattern is changed and Eco Power also adjusts power consumption of features such as air conditioning and heated seats and mirrors.

All cars get Auto Stop-Start, regardless of transmission or engine type, as well as Energy Regeneration, on-demand control of engine ancillary components, and tires with less rolling resistance.  Depending on the model, the car’s weight has been reduced by up to 110 pounds (50 kg ).

The new 3er features a drag coefficient (Cd) as low as 0.26 and a streamlined underside, Aero Curtain air channels up front, and covers that create a diffuser effect at the rear of the vehicle.

BMW kept electromechanical steering in the 3er but developed a system that consumes no energy when the car is being drive in a straight line or in steady-state cornering.

All of the latest safety and convenience features will be available as options on the new 3er, including the full-color head-up display, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, collision warning.  Comfort (keyless) access will also allow the driver (with key in pocket) to open the trunk with a simple foot movement when standing at the rear.

The new 3er will go on sale starting in February.