The BMW 3-Series began production back in 1975 and is one of the German automaker’s luxury sedans. The 2012 model year will mark the 3-Series’ sixth generation since its birth and will incorporate all of the current versions for the luxury car: 2-door coupe and convertible, 4-door saloon, 5-door touring, and 5 door liftback. The new 3-series is expected to be powered with new aluminum four-cylinder gasoline engines ranging from 135 to 220 horsepower.
The current model is powered by a choice of four different engine. The 3.0L I-6 produces 230hp and 200 lb-ft of torque, while the 3.0L twin turbo diesel gets 265hp and 425lb-ft of torque. Another option is the 3.0L twin turbo I-6 getting 300hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, and the final engine option is a 4.0L V8 producing 414hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Engines can be mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a six- or seven-speed automatic.
This year’s Super Bowl has been replete with auto commercials, and that’s a good thing because we’re not running out of things to talk about.
One of the most underrated ads we saw comes from BMW. We say its underrated because it doesn’t get the hoopla of Chrysler or the comedic shots of Hyundai, but it does drive home a pretty funny point in the 30-seconds it aired.
Of all the features that come with the new BMW 3-Series, one thing that should be of great use to drivers is the ability of BMW’s Connected Drive to read emails. Whether it’s for work or as a way to get away from the house when your mother-in-law is dropping by, being able read emails on your car is a luxury everybody should have.
Yeah, even if it means getting an earful from your wife as you subtly drive away from your house.
It’s not very often that a smaller vehicle is a company’s flagship, but we don’t care what BMW might tell you about the 7-Series, the 3-Series is the automaker’s top dog. Its styling has always worked and never been vulgar like some other models in the BMW lineup and it’s won more awards from the automotive press than the Los Angeles Lakers.
Believe it or not, the 3-Series has been around since 1975, but it really came into its own in 1992, when it won the first of 19 straight Car and Driver 10 Best awards. In 2006, it won the World Car of the Year and also the What Car? Car of the Year. Under the hood, the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six won the International Engine of the Year Awards for 2007.
To keep up with this impressive tradition, the sixth generation 3-Series unveiled at BMW’s plant in Munich has been built as a revolution and not as an evolution. The new model sets new benchmarks in terms of sporting prowess, elegance, and comfort, and has grown significantly in size compared to its predecessor: wide track - front + 37 mm; rear + 47 mm; length + 93 mm and wheelbase + 50 mm. And most importantly, next to the usual models, the new 3-Series will also be offered as a hybrid as of 2012.
UPDATE 10/17/2011: BMW has unveiled an online configurator for the new generation 3-Series. It will give you the possibility to play a bit with the exterior colors available and the wheels options, but you can also notice the differences between the three grades offered, plus the M-Sport Package. Enjoy!
UPDATE 02/03/12: BMW has just unveiled six very cool commercials for the new generation 3-Series. One of them - "The Big Grab" - will be shown during the Super Bowl. Enjoy!
UPDATE 07/06/12: BMW USA has unveiled a pretty cool configurator for the new 3-Series sedan that will give you the chance to learn about all the options BMW is offering for all the models in the line-up, including the M Sport package.
Hit the jump to read more on the BMW 3-Series. Full story
BMW is playing around with its lineup these days, providing a couple of models with different names, depending on their body styles. The first to get that differentiation was the 3-Series, with the sedan and station wagon versions keeping the 3-Series name and the coupe and convertible getting tagged as 4-Series models. The BMW 3-Series sedan has already debuted, but the coupe and convertible models are still undergoing testing proven by the new series of spy shots for the upcoming 4-Series Coupe.
The future BMW 4-Series Coupe will be a smaller version of the current 6-Series with design elements borrowed from its 3-Series sedan brother. But the fact that it is a coupe model will make it sportier and more aggressive. The model will be immediately recognized as a BMW thanks to the usual design features: new-style exposed, three-dimensional BMW double kidney grille and a larger rear window.
Under the hood of the 4-Series, BMW will place the same engines as in the sedan version - including two petrol and two diesel - with output going up to 306 HP for the most powerful version - the 435i.
Right before Christmas, German magazine Autobild gave themselves a little present: they took all of the current BMW M models and tested them on the circuit to see which one was the fastest. All of the tests were done on the Sachsenring circuit in Germany and, surprising or not, the fastest model turned out to be the M3 CRT (E90). In fact, according to Autobild, not only was it the fastest from all the models tested, it was also the fastest M Car they have ever tested on the Sachsenring.
The M3 CRT lapped the circuit in 1:38.87 , closely followed by the M5 with a lap time of 1:38.90 and the 1-Series M Coupe with a time of 1:40.18. The list continues with the M3 in coupe, sedan, and convertible forms and ends with the X6M and X5M. Both SUVs were faster than the old E60 M5.
And just for fun, Autobild also brought a Porsche Panamera Turbo S and a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG to the test. Hit the jump to see the official lap times. Full story
In the past few months, BMW has unveiled a number of "M3 Frozen" editions - the M3 Frozen Black Edition and the M3 "Frozen Silver" Competition Edition are the most recent - and now they’ve unveiled one more, this time for the German market. The BMW M3 Frozen Dark Blue will be priced at 95,555 euro, or about $125,000 at the current exchange rates. By comparison, the M3 "Frozen Silver" Competition Edition offered for the US market is priced at $81,060.
The M3 Frozen Dark Blue will be offered with a double-clutch transmission and Competition Package that adds a lowered suspension (ride height is reduced 10mm), light alloy wheels, a specially developed ’sport’ mode (part of the Electronic Damping Control), and a revised stability control program. The car has also received a new set of 19" wheels in styling 359M.
If anyone is interested in the cost of the Frozen Blue paint, that alone is priced at 3,050 euros ($3,984), while the other options add up to about 25,830 euro ($33,750).
The next generation BMW M3 sedan has been caught testing around the Nurburgring race track a couple of times, but the folks over at BMW have now moved on to public roads. These latest spy shots reveal even more details, including those wide fenders.
The future M3 may still be heavily camouflaged, but we already know that it will feature a new design language leaning more towards aggressiveness and sportiness. The wider fenders stand out, as do the big air intakes in the front bumper. BMW have also added bigger brakes and quad exhaust pipes in typical M fashion.
As far as power goes, we’ve heard a number of rumors surrounding the engine for the future M3. Four different engine were rumored, including both V6 and V8 variations, but the most interesting is the tri-turbo theory. BMW recently filed a new patent for electric-powered turbocharger technology, which suggests the future M3 will be powered by a fresh 3.3-liter six-cylinder engine equipped with three turbos – one powered by electricity, rather than the exhaust gases. This new engine could deliver up to 450 HP.
Noted BMW tuning company, Alpina, has come out with a pair of new programs for 2012 BMW models. One of the models is for the 2012 3-Series, which they’re dubbing as the ’B3 GT3.’ The comprehensive tuning program includes aerodynamic, suspension, and performance modifications, offering fans of the iconic 3-Series a smorgasbord of improvements on the sports coupe.
For the aerodynamic program, Alpina fitted the 3-Series with a carbon fiber front splitter that has been mounted under the car’s front spoiler, as well as new dive plates that were added on the side of the car’s front valence. The rear end of the 3-Series also got some improvements in the form of a carbon wing and a new rear diffuser, and the package is completed by a new wheel and tire setup consisting of a new set of 19" Alpina GT3 Classic lightweight alloys wheels wrapped in a choice of either Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup+ tires. Inside, the improvements were limited to a new black leather finish with matching Alcantara and Recaro sport seats.
As one of the most popular BMW tuners in the world, Alpina has made a name for itself for their outstanding engine upgrades. Their work on the 2012 B3 GT3 is no different, thanks to a modified exhaust system and a titanium new rear silencer that added juice to the car’s already modified 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine. The result is an output of 402 horsepower and 398 lb/ft of torque, numbers that are good enough to hit 0-62 mph in just 4.6 seconds.
The only downside to the 2012 B3 GT3 program is that Alpina will only build 99 units of it. The cost for one has been pegged at €90,000, which is around $121,300 based on current exchange rates.
As is typical with any new generation debut, the older model always gets one final hoorah before calling it quits. Now that the new generation 3-Series has shown its face, BMW will be unveiling a special Carbon Sport Edition for that last bit of cash. The new special edition BMW 3-Series will only be offered in the six-cylinder engine model with only 150 units to speak of.
The new BMW 3-Series Carbon Sport Edition will only be offered in Sapphire and Azurite Black Metallic paints and will be distinguished by an M Sport package, different BMW M Accessories, and a new set of 19" alloy wheels. It will also be offered with standard xenon lights, automatic climate control, a professional navigation system, leather seats, and an M sports steering wheel with shift paddles. Each unit will get a Harman Kardon hi-fi system.
The BMW 3-Series Carbon Sport Edition is now on sale and prices for the top model - the 335i Carbon Sport Edition - start from 61,995 euros or about $85,385 at the current exchange rates.
In order to grab Audi by the rings, BMW is expanding the number of variants for its already popular models, including the recently launched 3-Series. The newly minted sedan is getting its very own coupe version, but rumor has it that this new model will be dubbed the 4-Series and was recently captured by our spy photographers.
There’s not much to know about the 4-Series just yet, but it looks as though it will be a smaller version of the 6-Series with a design language inspired by the 3-Series with a sportier character. The vehicle will be a few inches longer than the sedan version and will feature a more aggressive front end with the new-style exposed, three-dimensional BMW double kidney grille and a larger rear window.
Under the hood, BMW will place a choice of four engines - two petrol and two diesel - including the new 245bhp 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol and the more powerful 435i engine with an output of 306 HP. As with all the other BMW models, all-wheel-drive xDrive versions will be available as well.
When the new BMW 4-Series goes on sale in 2013, it will be looking to take over the Audi A5 Sportback’s piece of the market.
Back in July 2011, BMW pulled the covers off of the BMW M3 DTM Concept Car, a vehicle that was to be the basis of the actual racer that will compete in the 2012 DTM season. Just a few short months later, the German automaker has officially revealed the actual M3 DTM in all its M Performance regalia.
During the official unveiling, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquadt talked about the process that went into building the race car. "The car’s aerodynamics were developed in close collaboration with the engineers from series production," he said. The BMW Group boasts impressive resources in this field and the wind tunnels are ultra-modern. This – and the Title Partner BMW M Performance Accessories – shows that the entire company is behind the 2012 DTM project and is working hard towards it."
As far as appearances go, the M3 DTM Race Car was inspired by the original M3 cars that raced in the ’old DTM,’ particularly the white finish with red and blue decals running all around the car. "The design is both traditional and modern in equal measures," Marquadt pointed out. "It shows our roots, but in a contemporary style."
The BMW M3 DTM is expected to carry a powerful V8 engine that has been equipped with an air restrictor to deliver 480 horsepower, hit 0-60 mph in just three seconds, and carry a top speed of 186 mph.
Despite already being unveiled, the M3 DTM Race Car will only begin its first full DTM season next year under the banner of three racing teams: BMW Team RBM, BMW Team RMG, and BMW Team Schnitzer.
UPDATE 04/28/12: The last time BMW participated in the German DTM series was 1987. In the 25 years since then, the German automaker was noticeably absent, which makes their return for the 2012 season that much of a big deal. Heck, BMW even decided to make a promo video out of it, which you can see by clicking on the photo above.