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BMW’s sixth-generation 3-series, code-named F30, has been unveiled. The new 3 auto is bigger, a little lighter, will accept a amalgam variant, and can esplanade itself. How things change.
Another Dimension, Another Dimension
Compared to the E90 3er, the 2012 3-series auto is about 3.7 inches longer, rides on a 2.0-inch-longer wheelbase, and has added advance advanced (1.5 inches) and rear (1.9). The advance pays assets to back-seat passengers; legroom increases by 0.7 inch, there’s 0.6-inch added knee room, and a atom added headroom. Despite the newfound bigness, BMW claims that the sedans will counterbalance 88 pounds beneath than analogously able last-gen cars. Imagine what they could accept done if it backward the aforementioned all-embracing size.
The beyond car still looks svelte, however, and wears an acquired adaptation of accepted 5-series styling. Its face is pulled tighter than before, with the headlights accession to accommodated the brand branch grilles. The distinct lower assimilation has been breach into two. Cars with the alternative xenon headlights are able with LED eyebrows. BMW describes the all-embracing contour as wedge-shaped, which, okay, it ability be, but it’s no Lamborghini Gallardo.
And in case you were apprehensive about the optimal bend of a driver-focused interior, it’s seven degrees. (It charge be optimal, or BMW wouldn’t accept mentioned it.)
Turbos for All, Two Added Gears for Some
Naturally, we’re best absorbed in the automated changes. Two turbocharged engines will be offered, a new turbo four in the 328i and BMW’s accustomed single-turbo six in the 335i. The N20 2.0-liter four-cylinder was aboriginal apparent in the Z4 sDrive28i (it additionally admiral the 2012 528i), and makes 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque as it does in the roadster. The 328i is claimed to hit 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, 0.2 quicker than we recorded with a manual-equipped E90 auto with the approachable artlessly aspirated 3.0-liter six. BMW’s N55 turbocharged six-cylinder carries over, and it produces accustomed achievement abstracts of 300 hp and 300 lb-ft it. The aggregation says it will column a 5.4-second 0-to-60-mph time, which is added than bisected a additional slower than a manual-equipped 335i we activated aftermost year. Chances are the estimates for both cars are conservative.
A six-speed chiral already afresh will be accepted with either engine, and an eight-speed automated replaces the antecedent six-speed unit. The aboriginal run of 2012 sedans will all be rear-wheel drive, and will accommodate an electronically actuated limited-slip cogwheel (activated by axis adherence ascendancy off); xDrive all-wheel drive will be fabricated accessible beginning, oddly, in summer of 2012.
There may be some acceptable account for those worrying—as we were—that the 3 would get electric council as aloof as that begin in the latest 5-series: While the abject bureaucracy is absolutely an all-electric system, a automated variable-ratio arbor is optional. That’s not to say that the electric arrangement is assertive to be terrible: VW and Audi, amid others, accept managed to tune endemic properly, and BMW has absolutely heard the complaints about its setup. Fingers crossed. (Of course, if the electric council does end up actuality a disappointment, we’d be added than a little affronted to be affected to pay for the evidently bigger setup.)
Up front, BMW retains its long-used strut abeyance setup. The rear gets the accepted geometry, damper- and spring-rate, and bushing tweaks. There additionally will be an accessible M Action adaptive suspension, article heretofore alone offered on the M3.
As in every added current-generation BMW, the 3-series will accept a Driving Dynamics Ascendancy button that tunes its assorted alternative and accepted steering, suspension, and driveline systems to one of a scattering of settings. In accession to Comfort, Sport, and Action , the 3’s adaptation of DDC introduces Eco Pro, which, to no one’s surprise, favors efficiency. Eco Pro upshifts the automated manual eventually and resists downshifts longer, reduces burke sensitivity, and incorporates able accent and climate-control management. It additionally puts abridgement and apprenticeship screens in the apparatus array to advice drivers “improve” their gas-using habits.
Further ability improvements accommodate the Air Curtain vents, aboriginal acclimated on the 1-series M Auto and 128i, which avenue air about the advanced auto to abate drag. Aero undertrays additionally are standard. All engine-and-transmission combos accommodate agent stop/start and a afraid alternator.
And you knew it was advancing (spy photos here): The 3-series hybrid. Borrowing its powertrain from the afresh appear ActiveHybrid 5, the ActiveHybrid 3 will be powerful. It pairs the N55 six-cylinder with a 55-hp electric motor sandwiched amid the agent and eight-speed transmission. Total arrangement achievement is 335 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. BMW claims an electric-only ambit of 2 to 2.5 miles, as able-bodied as operation at speeds of up to 37 mph beneath amount and up to 100 mph back coasting. The hybrid’s array is stored beneath the block floor. BMW will add the amalgam to the calendar in the abatement of 2012. We’ll accept to delay a bit best for fuel-economy numbers.
Trimmed with Care
In accession to the abject model, BMW will action the 3-series in three altered “lines,” the abutting the aggregation has anytime appear to alms trim levels: Sport, Luxury, and Modern. Anniversary gets its own autogenous and exoteric blush palette.
Sport Band cars are bedeviled by gloss-black exoteric trim, black-chrome bankrupt tips, and atramentous and red accents inside; they additionally accept the acceleration limiter aloft to 155 mph against added cars’ 130. The Luxury car gets chrome trim on the outside, bright copse with alternative inlays inside, and stitched covering seats in a array of colors. Modern has glassy aluminum trim, a light-colored dashboard, and atramentous or white covering seats. Anniversary band gets its own 18-inch caster architecture as standard. And for the detail-oriented, anniversary band has a agnate key-fob: Sport’s is atramentous with red details, the Luxury key is atramentous with chrome, and the Modern key is white with matte-silver detailing. Sounds like some artefact planners had a lot of time on their hands.
In accession to these adorned new blush bundles, BMW will already afresh action an M Action amalgamation for the 3. On the anatomic side, the accumulation includes a non-adaptive M Action abeyance that is 0.4 inch lower, adds beyond anti-roll bars, and firms up the shocks and dampers. Eighteen-inch M Action auto are standard, with 19s optional. Dress-up items accommodate the requisite advancing fascias, appropriate doorsills, action seats, dejected interior-trim accents, and an M council wheel. Manual-transmission cars additionally get an M short-throw shifter.
Other appearance of agenda accommodate alive blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, and automated aerial beams. An alternative parking abettor scans for accessible alongside spaces at speeds beneath 22 mph and afresh guides the car in if it’s got the electric ability steering. A Surround View camera arrangement additionally will be available, which stitches several camera angle calm to actualize an aerial attending at the car and its ambience for easier maneuvering. Cars able with Comfort Access get a hands-free trunk-opening function, which uses sensors beneath the rear bonanza to absolution the latch with the beachcomber of a foot; this affection was apparent afresh on the European Volkswagen Passat.
The auto will access actuality in February of 2012. BMW already afresh will alternate the rollout of new 3s, continuing to aftermath the accepted auto and convertible through backward 2012. Expect the new versions of those to bow then, followed by the 3-series wagon and a 3-series GT (you can apparently assumption which one of those we’ll get). The next-gen M3 has been spied testing, but acceptable is two years away. At atomic now you accept an abstraction of what it will attending like.
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