Since the all-new BMW 3 Series sedan was introduced to the US market in May of 2005, it has been honored as "Automobile of the Year " by AUTOMOBILE Magazine, named to Car And Driver’s "10Best" Cars list as "Best Luxury Sports Sedan" for an unprecedented 15 years in a row and proclaimed "World Car of the Year" by an international jury of 46 automotive journalists. With its legendary combination of power, performance and practicality, the successor to the world’s first sports sedan is, to many driving enthusiasts, still the best.
For 2007, the best sports sedans and sports wagons in the compact luxury segment receive new engines, improved performance, new colors and interior updates
Interior upgrades, new exterior colors
Galvanic silver trim matching the trim around the start/stop button has been applied to the climate control knobs adding a premium touch to the console. The sport steering wheel, available with the optional Sport Package, is now the same as that of the 3 Series Coupes’ with galvanic accents. Satellite radio preparation is standard. There are two changes to the 3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon exterior color palette: Crimson Red replaces Electric Red and Montego Blue metallic takes over for Mystic Blue metallic.
The fifth generation of the 3 Series
From their low, wind-slicing front end through an upswept silhouette to a high trunk lid or large-area tailgate that enhances aerodynamics and cargo space, the ’07 3 Series Sedans and Sports Wagons are a logical progression from their predecessors. Not only does the first glance tell you that these are BMWs; it also tells you clearly that they are 3 Series.
Compared to their predecessors, these models are larger in every dimension. Their wheelbase it is up by 1.4 in., length is 2.2 in. greater for the Sedans, 1.9 in. for the Sports Wagons. Width has increased a full 3.0 in. and the new models are 0.8 in. (Sedans) or 1.0 in. taller. These increases in exterior dimensions translate into greater safety capabilities, enhanced luxury and comfort equipment and greater passenger and cargo space: shoulder room, front head room, rear knee room and EPA-rated passenger and cargo volumes have all increased.
The exterior design:
3 Series tradition, freshly expressed
The current 3 Series consistently reflects the new direction set by BMW design with the 7 Series in 2002 and evolved with the new 5 Series in ’04. At the same time, it is true to its heritage, radiating the dynamic presence that has increasingly characterized this Series with each new generation.
At the front. In this face of strong character, distinctively formed four-beam headlight units wrap around and taper to a precise point, emphasizing in the front view the vehicle’s width and in profile its short front overhang. With the Xenon Adaptive lights (optional 328i/xi models, standard 335i model), BMW’s distinctive and popular luminous rings function as additional parking lights and also illuminate when the headlights are on.
In profile: Sedans. There is much “swing” in the side view: the hood cut line, sloping upward and then continuing to become the beltline and on past the C-pillar; a strong character line corresponds to that of the previous 3 Series, but sets up a stronger convex/concave intersection. Taillights that wrap well around into the body sides form an esthetic “punctuation” while enhancing visibility of the vehicle from the side – an active-safety factor. 328i/xi Sedans have all-black side-window framing; 335i Sedans have chrome and black.
Sports Wagons. Identical from the A-pillars forward and using the same front doors, the Sports Wagons take on their own (but consistent) character from the B-pillar rearward. The roofline and the side windows’ upper line taper downward while the beltline continues upward, creating an expressly sporty wagon profile. Standard roof rails add swing and function to the profile as well.
At the rear: Sedans. A graceful arc connecting the taillight edges through the integral spoiler’s lower edge is at the top; the top of the spoiler is the continuation of a line that begins in the C-pillar. Below the spoiler, the surface goes concave toward the license-plate recess. The trunk’s outer edges sweep down into the bumper, making a conveniently low loading height also a visual treat. Functional/esthetic shapes are sculpted into the lower bumper area to help organize airflow at the back of the vehicle.
Sports Wagons. The side beltline wraps around to become an across-the-tailgate character line just under the separately opening rear windows. At the top, an integrated roof spoiler forms a graceful conclusion to the roofline, helping smooth airflow and incorporating the 3rd brake light. Like the Sedan‘s trunklid, the tailgate reaches down into the bumper for a low loading height.
Aerodynamically, this is the smoothest 3 Series yet. At 0.30, the rear-wheel-drive Sedans are a “point” better than the previous models’ 0.31; at 0.31, the Sports Wagons are also a point better than their predecessor. The overall shape of either body style is calibrated to maintain low aerodynamic lift at higher speeds; a visually interesting and also functional sharp edge at the taillights’ corners helps ensure efficient airflow at the rear.
and paint processes
In preparing to produce the new 3 Series, BMW has further developed its rustproofing and paint processes. The refinements include:
• Body shell now virtually fully galvanized, for further enhanced corrosion resistance. Standing behind this claim is BMW’s 12-year/unlimited-mileage Rust-Perforation Warranty.br />• Pre-paint preparation further improved. Bodies for the 3 are cleaned and prepared for priming in a new 12-zone process.
• Rotation dipping for pre-paint preparation and primer application. This improves the cleaning process, and means that primers and corrosion-proofing coats reach even more fully into the body’s nooks and crannies.
Ergonomics and luxury: more space, enhanced functionality, new elegance
In addition to greater space, the 3 Series interior offers reduced noise levels, improved climate control and a host of new features – standard and optional – that enhance luxury and convenience. And the design of this new interior is just as fresh as the exterior.
As always in BMWs, the driver enjoys his or her experience at the wheel partly because BMW has designed the interior to optimize that experience. All operational and informational elements essential to driving are grouped on and around the steering wheel; although many aspects of the control layout are updated, the most central informational element remains the traditional pair of round analog instruments directly in front of the driver.
A sharp eye will note that the two front door panels differ: on the passenger side there’s a sloped vertical door pull; on the driver’s side, where the power-window controls are newly grouped on the armrest, the door pull is integrated into that armrest. Both front doors include large storage bins.
In a choice exclusive to the 3 Series, the instrument panel is offered in two forms: standard, with a single hood above the instrument cluster; and optional, with a double-wave theme creating a second hood over the optional Navigation/iDrive control display. With the latter configuration, there is also the iDrive controller between the front seats.
New automatic climate control
Though the previous 3 Series has excellent automatic climate control, the current models’ system offers an even higher level of performance, sophistication and features.
New features include –
- Separate left and right temperature controls vs. the predecessors’ single temperature control.
- Temperature- and volume-controlled rear air outlets that give rear passengers greater control over their environment.
- Climate-controlled center console compartment.
- Mist sensor. Via the windshield wipers’ rain sensor, misting of the windshield is sensed visually and system operation adjusted to clear it up.
- Heat at Rest. Allows heating the interior for a limited time with the engine off. Familiar from larger BMW models but new to the 3 Series; facilitated by the engine’s electric coolant pump.
- Maximum a/c setting for rapid cool-down at a single touch of a button.
- Increased blower power means not only increased maximum cooling or heating power, but also quieter operation at the normal blower speeds that are now a smaller proportion of maximum.
- Further optimized design of ducts and outlets, also cutting airflow noise.
- Automatic reduction of blower speed when the vehicle comes to a stop, for yet another reduction in noise.
- Indirect airflow via outlets atop the dash, for pleasant, draft-free climatization (not for defrosting or demisting).
- Recall of individual users’ settings via Key Memory:
- Manually selected air distribution (windshield, body-level, footwells)
Other thoughtful features continue from the previous system:
- Active-charcoal microfilter ventilation
- Bi-directional solar sensor for front compartment (takes into account the intensity and direction of solar heat in determining cooling of interior)
- Automatic recirculation control, with specific sensing capability for diesel exhaust.
Two audio systems, two subwoofers
As before, two audio systems are offered. One is the 10-speaker system that’s standard in 328i/xi models; the other is the acclaimed 13-speaker Logic7 system – optional in 328i/xi, standard in the 335i model and making its 3 Series debut. Both systems include two subwoofers in BMW’s patented positions, in cavities at the bases of the B-pillars (“under the front seats”).
To the 10 speakers of the 328i/xi standard system, Logic7 adds a center-fill speaker to the instrument panel and two midrange speakers in the rear doors; all speakers are upgraded. Logic7’s digital Surround Sound process provides uniquely realistic reproduction, generating a 360° sound field and accurately re-creating the acoustic intent of the original studio master.
Upholstery and trim: standard wood, optional leather
Leatherette upholstery is standard in all models; leather is available in four colors, two of them new. Dark Burl Walnut trim is standard; lighter-tone Poplar Natural and aluminum trim are available at no extra cost. Following a lead set by the 5, 6 and 7 Series, new “galvanic” trim appears on the instruments‘ and Start/Stop button‘s outer rings and several other interior detail elements; this elegant material has a plastic core, with a true metallic surface applied galvanically in several layers and a clear top coat to protect against corrosion.
Seating choices, including sport seats with adjustable backrest width
Height-adjustable, 6-way manual front seats are standard in 328i/xi models; 8-way power seats are optional in 328i/xi and standard in the 335i model. New are available sport seats with adjustable backrest width, a feature first seen in the M3 Coupe. Available in both Sedan models are split folding rear seats and an interior-to-trunk pass-through with ski bag.
Seating choices are only one amenity among the many enjoyed by drivers and passengers in the 3 Series.
Others include –
- Auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, the latter offered on this Series for the first time.
- A digital compass, set into the interior mirror.
- A standard 2-way power moonroof with more opening area than before on the Sedans; on the Sports Wagon, an even larger dual-panel moonroof.
- Voice Command, included in the Navigation/iDrive option.
- Available Bluetooth interface for cellphones.
- Front and rear overhead consoles, each with separate left/right reading lights, Ambiance Lighting and other features. Predecessor models had an overhead console and Ambiance Lighting only at the front.
- Footwell lighting
- A fold-up rear center armrest.
Increased cargo space, handy trunk features in Sedans
Elimination of the spare tire and jack, possible because run-flat tires are standard across the board, has helped create approximately 12% more cargo space than before. Moreover, the official EPA measurement on which this claim is based does not include a deep well under the trunk floor that encloses about 1.75 cubic feet and offers a place to store smaller objects without worry of their moving around when the vehicle is in motion.
Sports Wagons interior and cargo area
Up front, the Sports Wagons offer the same accommodations as the Sedans, except as affected by the Wagons’ Panorama moonroof. Front and rear leg room are identical for the two body styles; front and rear head room are almost identical. The Wagons’ standard split folding rear seats offer essentially the same functions and benefits as those that are optional in the Sedan.
The big difference, of course, is aft of the rear seats, where in terms of load-carrying ability and versatility the Sports Wagons offer advantages not only over the Sedans, but also over its predecessor. As always with a new BMW – especially new BMW Sports Wagons – the 328i/xi abound with rational design and thoughtful details:
- High-lift tailgate, electrically released from remote or interior switch.
- Separately opening rear window, for convenient loading without opening the tailgate.
- Fully lined cargo area – floor, sides, back sides of rear seats – with luxurious, yet long-wearing carpet.
- Wider than that in the previous Wagon, and with straight, essentially vertical sides, the cargo area presents various cargo possibilities:
- 16.2 cubic feet of volume with the seats upright and cargo loaded to the top of the seats
- 24.8 cubic feet with the seats upright and cargo loaded to the ceiling
- 60.9 cubic feet with the seats folded and cargo loaded to the ceiling
- Luggage straps on the right side
- Bag holder at either side
- 12-volt accessory power outlet on the left-hand wall.
- Cargo cover, concealing cargo when the seats are upright; user has option of having cover rise when rear window or tailgate is opened (by tapping the release twice) or remaining in place (by tapping once).
- If, once raised, a rear-seat backrest is not fully locked into place, a red tab appears to help call users’ attention to it.
- A cargo net, carried in a roller assembly with the cargo cover, that can be mounted with the rear seats either upright or folded
- Red light at left bottom of tailgate, for safety; visible when tailgate is open.
A Cargo Compartment package, which offers additional storage configurations, is available as a BMW center-installed accessory.
Dual-panel Panoramic Moonroof
With its large roof opening, this feature gives occupants almost the feeling of being in a convertible. The power glass roof consists of two panels, both of which can be tilted up at the rear. The forward, larger panel can also be slid open; together, their glass area is almost 6.5 square feet. Although the glass is effectively tinted, there is also a power-operated interior shade; 1-touch operation is provided for all motions, including that of the interior shade.
BMW On-board Navigation System.
With this option, the instrument panel gains a “second wave” that houses the iDrive monitor; the iDrive controller is on the center console. The comprehensive system includes –
• 8.8-in. Control Display (color monitor), high-resolution 640 x 240 pixels
• Controller with Force Feedback (incorporates tactile feedback into controller movements)
• GPS Navigation with DVD database and Real Time Traffic Information
• Voice Command system
The four main-menu choices are:
Communication – phone functions, BMW Assist and certain TeleService functions.
Entertainment – radio, Sirius Satellite Radio when present, and CD functions. If the optional Logic7 audio system is present, this menu also leads to its Surround Sound effect and Digital Sound Processing.
Climate – Functions beyond those provided via hard controls include automatic ventilation, for use when the vehicle is left parked.
Navigation – GPS Navigation, on-board information, trip computer, speed limit and stopwatch functions. Models equipped with navigation will have Real Time Traffic Information, including a 4-year subscription to the service.
Additionally, the i-menu (reached by pressing the controller while in the main menu) offers choices for vehicle display and control settings as well as vehicle service. Here, under the Condition-Based Service menu option, one can observe the remaining miles to selected service and maintenance procedures, as well as legally mandated inspections. (Examples: front and rear brake pads, brake fluid, sparkplugs, engine coolant.) Under TeleService, key vehicle data are transmitted automatically to the BMW center when the Condition-Based Service sensors detect an upcoming service need, or manually when the driver activates the Service Request button under BMW Assist in the control display. The BMW center then contacts the customer to set a service appointment. (Requires activated BMW Assist telematics.)
Sirius Satellite Radio. This appealing path to entertainment, news and information channels is available as a factory option. A subscription fee is required for Sirius service.
Logic7 sound system, with 13 premium speakers, Surround Sound, Digital Sound Processing; standard in the 335i, optional in 328i/xi models.
Power rear-window sunshade and manual rear door-window shades*, available for Sedans. The rear-window shade is controlled from a console switch; the side shades are easily raised or lowered by rear-seat passengers. Manual rear door-window shades are available for the Sports Wagons.
Expanded lineup, more power
The 325i and 325xi Sedans and 325xi Sports Wagon are now replaced by the rear-wheel drive 328i Sedan and 328i Sports Wagon and the all-wheel drive 328xi Sedan and Sports Wagon, powered by a new version of BMW’s 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder with aluminum/magnesium engine block, producing 230 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque; a + 15 hp and + 15 lb-ft of torque improvement over the previous models.
The 330i Sedan is replaced by the 335i, featuring the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine with a cast aluminum engine block producing 300 horsepower and 300lb-ft of torque. This is a + 45 hp and + 80 lb-ft of torque improvement over the 2006 model.
The increase in horsepower and torque on both of these engines is not offset by a decrease in fuel efficiency. The new engines have similar fuel economy as the already impressive 2006 3 Series Sedans and Sports Wagons.
Drivers may specify the standard-equipment 6-speed manual transmission or the optional 6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission. The328i gear ratios remain the same as the 2006 325i. The 335i gear ratios have been optimized to work with the new twin-turbocharged engine. The 335i Sedan also has steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters when ordered with the optional Sport Package and STEPTRONIC automatic transmission.
BMW twin-turbo 6-cylinder engine
It is the most powerful engine within BMW’s wide range of inline 6-cylinder engines that does not wear an "M" badge. The twin-turbo engine, designated N54, develops a maximum output of 300 horsepower in US specification from 3.0 liters displacement and generates peak torque of 300 lb-ft for powerful acceleration in any situation. And it achieves these results using technology that might surprise students of BMW history: turbocharging.
Although it is standard equipment on BMW’s highly acclaimed diesel engines, BMW has not used turbocharging with a road-going gasoline powerplant since the 1980’s. Until now, the BMW 745i Sedan, which debuted in 1981, and the iconic BMW 2002 Turbo, introduced at the 1973 Frankfurt auto show, were the only two standard-production, gasoline-powered BMWs to employ the technology.
Although the technology works as advertised, BMW engineers were not satisfied with the most-often cited downside to turbocharging: the frustrating lag between when the driver presses the accelerator pedal and when the turbocharger develops sufficient rotation to increase power. This lag is at its worst low engine speeds. Other drawbacks included relatively high fuel consumption and available materials that did not always fare well under the high-heat, high-rpm operation of the turbocharger, which gets its energy from hot exhaust gases and typically spins up to 5-figure rpm’s. For these and other reasons, BMW put turbocharged gasoline engines on the shelf or more than 20 years.
Two recent developments caused BMW to reconsider turbocharging: a trend among many luxury-performance carmakers to achieve power gains by building engines of ever-increasing displacement and technology transfer from turbocharged diesel engine development to their gasoline-fired counterparts.
Accordingly, BMW recently articulated its new approach to developing high-performance engines as part of its EfficientDynamics initiative. Beginning with the N52 normally aspirated engine and the N54 turbocharged unit, BMW will achieve its performance goals with smaller, lighter, more efficient and cleaner-running engines.
The N52 features twin, relatively small turbochargers to boost performance significantly, but, at the same time, minimize turbo lag. Thanks to their lower inertia, two small turbochargers build up pressure much faster than a single, large turbocharger, thus eliminating even the slightest lag.
The front turbocharger feeds cylinders 1 - 3; the rear unit delivers super-compressed to cylinders 4 - 6.
A further in advantage of turbocharging is that this is the most weight-effecient to boost engine power and performance. The N54 turbocharged inline engine weighs approximately 150 lbs. less than an equally powerful eight-cylinder engine displacing 4.0 liters. This lower weight means a significant advantage not only in fuel economy, but also in balancing the car’s weight distribution.
To enhance efficiency, the turbochargers are made of a particularly heat-resistant material which makes them immune to high exhaust gas temperatures in the interest of a fuel-efficient combustion process particularly under full load.
As a result, the twin turbo technology in the BMW 335i Sedan and 335i Coupe represents a significant achievement in terms of both performance and fuel economy. The advantages over a conventional turbocharged engine are not only clearly measurable, but easy to feel on the road.
This new high-performance engine develops its power and performance much more spontaneously than a turbocharged engine of conventional design. At the same time, the N54 engine offers all the smoothness and refinement which made BMW’s award-winning inline sixes so admired well. Last, but certainly not least, the impressive increase in power on the twin-turbo engine versus a normally aspirated six-cylinder engine comes without any significant increase in fuel consumption.
Turbocharging typically includes intercooling of the engine’s induction air, in other words, cooling the compressed air heated by the combustion process, from the turbocharger(s). Sometimes that’s accomplished with coolant; in the case of the N54 engine, it’s accomplished with outside air. Intercooling is desirable, often necessary to reduce the temperature of the incoming air to preclude detonation or "knocking" that can reduce power or, in the extreme, damage the engine. Of course, the N54, like the normally aspirated N52 and other current BMW engines, is equipped with knock control.
As effective as the magnesium/aluminum engine construction is for saving weight, the significantly increased loads and cylinder pressures of the N54 300-horsepower engine required the use of an aluminum engine structure with cast-iron cylinder sleeves. Some, but not all, of the N52’s magnesium/aluminum weight saving was lost in this process. All together, the N54 weighs 419 lb; the N52 357.
A new high-pressure direct fuel injection system utilizing so-called piezo injectors also enhances performance and fuel efficiency. A 2nd-generation evolution of the system found on the BMW 760’s V12 engine is a key factor in achieving BMW’s goals for the N54. The new system’s in advance over its predecessor is that it provides the engineers a greater degree of freedom in the calibration of fuel quantity and timing and the distribution of the fuel-air mixture in the combustion chambers.
A piezo injector, a recent advancement in fuel injector technology, uses an actuator that takes the place of the solenoid valve in a conventional injector. The actuator, which works significantly faster than the solenoid, reduces the injector’s response time. That results in, according to researchers who led the piezo injector’s development, a 2 - 3% fuel savings and 20% less emissions.
For the first time in a 3 Series Sedan, the exhaust pipes run under both sides of the vehicle from the engine compartment to under the rear bumper, creating a true dual exhaust system. At low loads, a flap channels most exhaust gases through one side to reduce low-frequency exhaust "rumble."
The new engines deliver impressive 0-60 mph acceleration performance improvements, specifically:
- 328i Sedan - 6.3 sec. (manual) 6.9 sec. (automatic) - 0.4 sec./0.3 sec. improvement
- 328xi Sedan - 6.9 sec. (manual) 7.1 sec. (automatic) - 0.2 sec./0.6 sec. improvement
- 335i Sedan - 5.4 sec. (manual) 5.6 sec. (automatic) - 0.7 sec./0.7 sec. improvement
- 328i Sports Wagon - 6.5 sec. (manual) 7.1 sec. (automatic) - New model
- 328xi Sports Wagon - 7.1 sec. (manual) 7.3 Sec. (automatic) - 0.2 sec./0.6 sec. improvement
Driving and chassis
Improving on tradition: all-new chassis engineering
In concert with the more powerful engines, the chassis now has the benefits of BMW’s double-pivot front suspension to the 3 Series for the first time. The 5-link rear suspension further perfects the 3 Series’ unique blend of agility and stability. Chassis/body rigidity has been further improved and run-flat tires are standard equipment. Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes have been refined extensively and a new-generation Dynamic Stability Control system adds an array of new functions.
Double-pivot front suspension. Though familiar from BMW’s larger models (5,6 and 7 Series as well as the X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles) the double-pivot front suspension concept is new to the 3 Series. It is a more elaborate system than that of the previous 3 Series models, featuring two lower arms (hence the name "double-pivot") that work in concert with the spring/shock absorber strut. The system provides:
- Small positive steering offset, for best steering feel and control under all road conditions. The two arms don’t actually intersect; if you visually extend their axes to a point where they do intersect, you find a "virtual pivot point" that is ideal for achieving this result. (Steering offset is the "lever arm when" through which road forces act on the suspension system.)
- Large steering caster, for outstanding stability in straight-line driving and excellent steering return action coming out of curves.
- Space for large brakes, by virtue of the two lower arms’ arrangement.
- Further advantages are found in the details:
- The trailing (forward) lower arm has a rubber/hydraulic cushion, which provides highly effective "compliance" for enhancing ride comfort.
- The transverse (rearward) lower arm is cushioned by a finely tuned rubber element that promotes direct and precise steering response in corners and curves.
- Extensive aluminum componentry in RWD models for low unsprung weight. This improves the suspension’s response to bumps and other road irregularities; it can markedly improve riding comfort and, on any irregular road surface, handling as well. In these models, aluminum components include: both lower arms, steering knuckle, brake calipers and the brake shields.
In addition, the subframe that carries the front suspension of RWD models is made of aluminum, as is the steering rack. These components are not unsprung but do contribute to overall weight reduction and, being up front, also to the typical BMW near 50/50 weight distribution. The new-design subframe adds rigidity, in enhances steering precision and is also an integral element in the vehicles management of energy in a frontal crash.
Because their front suspension handles drive forces as well as those of steering, cornering and braking, the AWD "xi" models have mostly steel components in this area.
5-link rear suspension
In its concept, the 3 Series’ new 5-link rear suspension be described as a double-A-arm with an additional lateral track rod; the upper and lower A-arms are actually two links each, their vertical positions differing. This is analogous to the front suspension’s dual lower arms.
The advantages of this rear suspension system are numerous:
- As at the front, there is a virtual pivot point for each pair of links, giving the engineers similar freedom in optimizing the system’s geometry for best handling. Also as at the front, the axis connecting these virtual points is configured to ensure that driving, braking and road forces all act effectively on short leverage. The result is very precise handling, especially insensitive to road disturbances.
- Under cornering forces the system controls geometry in such a way as to achieve contradictory qualities; the degree to which they are mutually achieved is a measure of a suspension’s excellence.
- Contributing to the outstanding geometry is the wide and rigid basis on which the rear tires are "planted" on the road. The lateral links are extremely rigid also, as is the subframe.
- All suspension links connect to the subframe; no longer does any link pivot directly from the body structure. This further reduces the effects of road irregularities on riding comfort, and improves handling precision as well.
- The large and elaborate subframe enhances energy management in a crash, including the more severe rear-end impact that the new models are designed to withstand.
As always with BMWs, the final drive (differential) it is also mounted to the sub frame through rubber, creating acoustic decoupling that minimizes the transmission of driveline noises into the body. Widely spread mounts to the body, in an area where the body structure is particularly rigid, further help optimize the combination of precision and ride comfort. The rear suspension system, sub frame and brake calipers are all of steel.
Steering: evolution standard; revolution optional
The 3 Series’ engine-speed-sensitive variable-assist power rack-and-pinion steering system has generated universal praise. An auto magazine once described it as "nearly telepathic." This standard steering system continues essentially unchanged, although with a somewhat less direct overall ratio of 16.0:1. Yet numbers don’t always tell the entire story, for the new suspension and sub frame have already sharpened the 3 Series models’ reaction to steering inputs.
The "revolution" here is the newly optional Active Steering for RWD 3 Series models, previously available on the 5 and 6 Series.
xDrive: BMW’s "intelligent" all-wheel drive system
The 328xi Sedan and the 328xi Sports Wagon incorporate BMW’s advanced xDrive AWD and traction. xDrive operates as follows:
- Driving torque is always transmitted to the rear wheels, and most of the time, to all 4 wheels.
- The portion of the torque transmitted to the front wheels is controlled by a multi-disc clutch that can be fully open, fully engaged or at any degree of partial engagement in between. The torque split between rear and front wheels is steplessly variable.
- Engagement pressure on the multi-disc clutch is directed by an electronic control system in response to actual road and driving conditions.
xDrive doesn’t just optimize traction; it can also enhance both agility and stability on grippy as well as slippery road surfaces. Via the same type of logic that Dynamic Stability Control employs to recognize and correct for excessive over-and understeer, xDrive adjust the front/rear torque split to avoid these tendencies. If undesirable oversteer is sensed, the multi-disc clutch is completely closed, sending the maximum possible torque to the front wheels. If excess understeer is detected, xDrive opens the clutch lines completely, sending no driving torque to the front wheels. In the BMW tradition, the driver enjoys optimum vehicle dynamics under a wide range of driving and road conditions.
Germany’s authoritative auto motor und sport (March 2, ’05) described and commented on xDrive in a new 5 Series Sedan this way: “Normally, the 530xi runs with the accent on rear-wheel drive: 60% of torque to the rear wheels, 40% to the front, but pure rear-wheel drive at speeds of 180 km/h [112 mph] or more. When traction is lacking or the vehicle tends toward instability, the torque split changes lightning-fast.
;The driver doesn’t notice any of this going on – but he or she does realize that on a slick road, the 530xi is very easy to drive. It has a high degree of stability."
Such comments would of course apply equally to a 3 Series model with this remarkable AWD system.
Safety engineering and features: improving on a star performer
The previous 3 Series’ safety performance has long been recognized by authoritative, independent observers:
- After conducting its own offset crash test of a 3 Series Sedan for the March 11, ’99 issue, Germany’s auto motor und sport magazine concluded, “Occupant protection by the new 3 Series is already at such a high level that only marginal improvements can be imagined.”
- And in the U.S., the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, after conducting its own crash test of the 3 Series Sedan, concluded simply, “A Best Pick.”
In developing the all-new vehicle structure, BMW’s safety engineers set out not just to match, but to improve on, the predecessors‘ excellent safety performance. Integrated into this overall goal were specific targets, including –
- Achieving 5 stars in the Euro-NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) offset frontal crash test
- Meeting the new U.S. FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) 301, which specifies a brutal 50-mph rear-end offset crash. The impact is taken by 70% of the test vehicle’s width; not only must stringent injury criteria be met, but the fuel system must remain free of leaks.
- Meeting the new IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) “SUV side-impact” test, in which an impact from a tall vehicle at 50 km/h (31.1 mph) is simulated.
Various engineering approaches toward the new 3’s even higher-performing structure included:
- Use of new high-strength steels in the large-section structural elements.
- Targeted application of further new types of steel, including multi-phase types, at various points to promote effective energy management.
- Developing and improving energy paths by which the immense forces of frontal crash impacts are led through the structure and dissipated. Here, the engineers concentrated on optimizing the interaction between front-end deformation and the ability of the passenger space to remain intact. For severe frontal collisions – especially offset, when one side of the vehicle takes the brunt – they found ways to transfer the forces into the other side, so that the more heavily impacted side doesn’t have to absorb all the forces. The resulting extremely high energy-absorption capability is the basis for keeping the passenger space intact – and for optimum calibration of passive-safety systems such as safety belts and airbags.
- In side impacts as well, the structure is similarly designed to transfer impact energy to the side away from the impact. Here the IIHS’s “SUV test” raised the bar for occupant safety in severe side collisions. Elements that manage this massive impact energy include the –
- floor structure
- doors, which retain BMW’s effective interlocking door anchoring system
- reinforced B-pillars
- dash structure, which functions as much more than just a carrier for instruments, climate control, etc.
- roof framing.
- In rear-end impacts, the deformable area consists of –
- two longitudinal structural members
- the trunk floor and lid (Sedans) or tailgate (Sports Wagons)
- trunk or cargo-area side walls, as integral elements of the overall body-side structures
- various additional reinforcements.
Here, the engineers worked to ensure that even in the radically severe offset rear-end crash specified by FMVSS 301, the passenger space would remain intact, the doors could be opened and the fuel system would still be sealed.
The structure is virtually fully galvanized, enhancing corrosion resistance and thus helping preserve its strength and energy management over the years.
Front-to-rear Head Protection System. Now all BMW Sedans and Sports Wagons have this feature. Compared to the 5 and 7 Series’ inflatable-tubular/sail system, the
3 Series‘ curtain-type system takes up less space in the headliner – an advantage for the compact 3 Series. Like the tubular system, BMW’s curtain-type HPS can remain inflated for several seconds after initial deployment, an important function in case of rollover.
Automatic safety-belt tensioners and force limiters front and rear. Long standard on BMW front safety belts, these features now enhance the outboard rear belts’ effectiveness as well.
New occupant-detection sensor. BMW has long employed a sophisticated electronic control strategy for managing the deployment of airbags and safety-belt tensioners. This approach now becomes even more precise, thanks to a new sensing mat in the front passenger seat. Called OC3, the mat is more highly sophisticated than its predecessor; it measures the weight and analyzes the pressure distribution of the occupant in order to distinguish between an adult and an infant in a child safety seat.
New features for protecting the driver’s feet and knees. Two measures reduce the likelihood of injuries to the driver’s feet and legs:
- The footrest is designed to crush under the force of the driver’s left foot, so that the full impact force is not transmitted to his or her foot and leg.
- Brake and clutch pedals move forward under impact force, also reducing force transfer to the driver’s feet and legs if they are on the pedals.
Performance with a conscience
BMW strives to produce its motor vehicles and other products with the utmost attention to environmental compatibility and protection. Integrated into the design and development of BMW automobiles are such criteria as resource efficiency and emission control in production; environmentally responsible selection of materials; recyclability during production and within the vehicle; elimination of CFCs and hazardous materials in production; and continuing research into environmentally friendly automotive power sources.
Tangible results of these efforts include the recycling of bumper cladding into other vehicle components; water-based paint color coats and powder clear coats; near-future availability of hydrogen-powered models; and various design and engineering elements that help make BMWs easier to dismantle at the end of their service life.
Options and prices
Options: an expanded range offers, new and appealing choices
The program of factory options is notable not only for its extent and variety, but also because many features formerly available only on or in the “higher” 5, 6 and 7 Series now become available in this more accessible Series.
Among these are a 6-speed automatic transmission, Active Steering, Active Cruise Control, Comfort Access, window sunshades for the rear and rear-door windows, Xenon Adaptive headlights, iDrive, Voice Command, Navigation with real Time Traffic Information, the Logic7 audio system and factory-installed Sirius Satellite Radio. Features new to the 3 Series are denoted with an asterisk.
- Premium Package. Adds familiar and new features to all models:
- Leather upholstery
- Auto-dimming exterior and interior mirrors
- Power-fold exterior mirrors
- Digital compass in the interior rearview mirror
- BMW Universal transceiver, a 3-function remote for garage doors and other external devices
- 4-way power lumbar support on the front seats
- BMW Assist, BMW’s comprehensive system of customer services and in-car telematics, including a Bluetooth cellphone interface (connects vehicle phone features with approved cellphone models) now with a four-year subscription instead of the previous one year
- For 328i/xi models, this Package adds features that are standard on the 335i model:
- Power front seats
- Auto tilt-down feature for the right-hand exterior mirror (mirror tilts down when reverse gear is engaged).
- Sport Package (328i and 335i models). Accents these vehicles‘ inherently sporty handling, esthetics and ergonomics:
- Sport suspension, consisting of firmer springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll (stabilizer) bars as well as a 15-mm (0.6-in.) lowering of the vehicle.
- Specific wheels and tires:
- 328i Sedan And Sports Wagon – 17 x 8.0 front/17 x 8.5 rear wheels with 225/45R-17 front/ 255/40R-17 rear V-rated run-flat performance tires
- 335i Sedan – 18 x 8.0 front/18 x 8.5 rear wheels with 225/40R-18 front/ 255/35R-18 rear W-rated run-flat performance tires
- Sport seats with power-adjustable backrest width*. Depending upon model and equipment choices, other seat adjustments can be manual or power.
- Sport steering wheel, with smaller diameter and thicker rim
- 150-mph top-speed limiter, instead of the standard 130.
- Sport Package (328xi models). The AWD chassis has its specific suspension calibration, the same with and without Sport Package, retains the 130-mph speed limiter, and includes –
- 17 x 8.0 wheels with 225/45R-17 H-rated all-season tires
- Sport seats and steering wheel as in 328i/335i Package.
- Cold Weather Package. For the 328i and 335i models, this Package includes:
- High-intensity headlight cleaning system with retracting jets
- Heated front seats, with expanded heating area
- Split folding rear seats
- Ski bag, for carrying skis and other long objects “indoors.”
- The headlight cleaning system is standard on the AWD 328xi model; split folding rear seats are standard in the 328i/xi Sports Wagons.
- 6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission. Previous generation 3 Series automatic transmissions have been 5-speed units.
- Active Cruise Control*. Employing a radar sensor unit at the front of the vehicle, ACC senses the speed of vehicles traveling ahead, adjusts the BMW driver’s speed to maintain following distance, and offers the driver additional control choices over the standard (and new) Dynamic Cruise Control.
- Active Steering. Acting on the 3 Series‘ legendary rack-and-pinion steering, this system (available on 328i and 335i models) provides impressive benefits:
- • Widely variable steering ratio; steering-wheel movements for parking maneuvers,
- U-turns and sharp corners are greatly reduced for amazing agility. With increasing vehicle speed, the steering ratio increases, favoring stability over agility.
- • Vehicle stabilization; in critical situations, can intervene to preserve stability. For example, if the driver applies the brakes while driving on a surface with uneven traction (one side of the road slick, the other grippy), Active Steering can recognize incipient instability and steer against it.
- Sport wheels and tires. The Sport Package wheel and tire equipment of the 328i models is available as a stand-alone option on 328xi models equipped with Sport Package.
- Park Distance Control employs ultrasonic sensors in the rear bumper to detect obstacles that may not be visible to the driver, and emits an acoustic warning. When combined with the Navigation/iDrive option, PDC includes a vehicle diagram in the iDrive display*, which graphically depicts obstacles’ locations.
- Xenon Adaptive headlights with auto-leveling. Stronger, daylight-like illumination; headlights “steer” to enhance the driver’s view around curves and corners. Standard on 335i, optional on 328i/xi models.
- Comfort Access. User enters vehicle merely by pulling a door handle; mere presence of the remote (say, in the user’s pocket or purse) confirms that entry is authorized. The driver starts the engine by pressing the Start/Stop button. Upon leaving the vehicle, merely pressing a door handle locks the vehicle.
- Leather upholstery is available as a stand-alone option, in addition to being part of the Premium Package. New, more luxurious Dakota* leather.
- Alternate interior trims at no extra cost: in place of the standard dark Burl Walnut*, buyers can choose lighter Poplar Natural* wood or aluminum trim with a brushed effect*.
- Power front seats and memory system. In addition to being part of the Premium Package, available as a stand-alone option for 328i/xi models. The option includes automatic tilt-down of the right exterior mirror for reversing.
- Heated front seats as a stand-alone option (also in Cold Weather Package).
- Split folding rear seats and ski bag as a stand-alone option for Sedans (also in Cold Weather Package).
- BMW On-board Navigation System. (Description in the <<interior>> capther)
Technology and features:
some new to 3 Series; some altogether new
A new BMW model platform always makes exciting new technology and innovative, meaningful features. Compared to its predecessor, the current 3 Series offers abundant new technology and features in these two categories:
- Engines with Valvetronic variable valve lift
- 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions
- Double-pivot front suspension with more extensive aluminum components in rear-wheel drive models
- Run-flat tires throughout the Series
- Exterior ground lighting
- Multi-function remote control with ID sender instead of conventional key
- Start/Stop button
- Galvanic interior trim
- Automatic climate control with:
- Separate left/right temperature settings and Heat-at-Rest feature
- Temperature and air flow-controlled air outlets for rear passengers
- Climate-controlled console storage compartment
- Subwoofers included in standard audio system; located under front seats
- Front and rear Head Protection System
- Automatic tensioners and force limiters on rear outboard safety belts
- Condition-Based Service scheduling
- Active Steering with Servotronic vehicle-speed-sensitive power assist
- 18-in. wheels and tires included in 335i Sport Package
- Xenon Adaptive headlights (previously Xenon but not Adaptive)
- Power-fold exterior mirrors
- Digital compass in interior rearview mirror
- Sports seats with adjustable backrest width
- iDrive, Voice Command and Real Time Traffic Information included with optional Navigation System
- Sirius Satellite Radio as factory option
- Heated front seats with expanded heating area
- Power rear-window sunshade and manual rear side-window sunshades
Making their first appearance in a BMW
- Magnesium/aluminum composite engine construction
- Electric coolant pump
- Volume-controlled oil pump
- 5-link rear suspension
- Dynamic Stability Control with expanded functions
- Dynamic Cruise Control (can apply brakes lightly to control speed)
- Automatic safety belt tensioners and force limiters at outboard rear seating positions as standard equipment (already standard on front seats)
- Decoupling of foot pedals in severe frontal crash
BMW Ultimate ServiceTM:
Providing owners with incredible value and peace of mind
For Model year 2007, BMW announces BMW Ultimate ServiceTM, a suite of services that includes the BMW Maintenance Program (formerly called Full Maintenance), Roadside Assistance, the New Vehicle Limited Warranty and BMW AssistTM with Teleservice.
BMW Ultimate ServiceTM includes:
The BMW Maintenance Program is the only no-cost maintenance program in the industry that covers wear and tear items like brake pads and rotors for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. BMW owners pay nothing for all scheduled inspections, oil changes, brake pads, wiper blade inserts and other wear-and-tear items.
BMW Roadside Assistance is one of the industry’s most comprehensive plans available. Not only is it no-charge for the first 4 years, but there is no mileage limit. BMW drivers enjoy the assurance of on-the-road help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. This includes everything from flat tire changes, emergency gasoline and lock-out assistance, to towing, alternative transportation and even trip-interruption benefits. This service also includes valuable trip routing advice.
BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty: All 2007 BMW passenger vehicles are covered by BMW’s excellent Limited Warranty, which includes:
- New-vehicle warranty – 4-year/50,000-mile coverage of the vehicle.
- Rust-perforation warranty – 12-year/unlimited-mileage coverage.
BMW AssistTM provides the driver with services that enhance on-the-road security and convenience, for added peace of mind. BMW AssistTM is available as a stand-alone option and is included in the Premium Package. Starting with MY 2007 vehicles, BMW i s the only manufacturer that will offer this service for 4 years. Most other services only cover 1 year of service.
The in-vehicle equipment for BMW Assist includes GPS technology and SOS/Assist functions in the front overhead console. Vehicle occupants may request emergency or other services simply by pressing a button; the BMW Assist system then transmits the location and vehicle information to the BMW Assist Response Center. A response specialist will then speak with the occupants to coordinate dispatch, notify emergency contacts on file, and link BMW Roadside Assistance or emergency services as needed and requested. Deployment of an airbag automatically activates BMW Assist as well.
A four-year subscription to the BMW Assist Safety Plan is included with the option. In addition to the safety-related benefits, subscribers to the BMW Assist Convenience Plan (available at extra cost) can call a toll-free 800 number to avail themselves of many BMW Assist Concierge services, from travel planning to dining reservations, shopping assistance and event tickets, as well as directions, and traffic and weather information. As before, included with BMW AssistTM is Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity which includes hands-free access to your phonebook.
TeleService automatically notifies the BMW center when a vehicle needs service. This feature allows the Service Advisor to proactively set up a customer appointment and have the needed parts ready. TeleService is Included with the BMW Assist Safety Plan.
The benchmark sports sedans set a new benchmark
Few cars have inspired as much competition as this family of perennial pacesetters," raved Car and Driver in its January ’05 10Best awards, "and fewer still resisted so successfully. What’s the 3 Series’ secret? Smooth, 6-cylinder power, exemplary ergonomics, silky-smooth shifting supple ride quality, eager responses, superb seats and proportions that never look out of date."
While all these attributes play an important part of defining the success of the BMW 3 Series its iconic status over the years is mostly derived from how it drives. Though many of BMW’s competitors have tried, and are still trying to, no one else quite knows how to match this winning
combination which is the quintessential driver’s car.
Base Price USA
- 328i Sedan $33,095
- 328xi Sedan $33,095
- 335i Sedan $39,395
- 328i Sports Wagon $34,895
- 328xi Sports Wagon $36,795
- STEPTRONIC 6-speed, Automatic Transmission 1,275
- Active Steering 1,250
- Comfort Access 500
- Power Rear Sunshade with Rear Manual Side Window Shades 575
- Power Front Seats with Driver Memory 995
- Fold-down rear seats with ski bag 475
- Heated front seats, 3-stage 500
- Xenon Adaptive Headlights 800
- Active Cruise Control 2,200
- On-board Navigation System with Real Time Traffic Information 2,100
- BMW Assist 750
- Satellite Radio 595
- Logic 7 Sound System 1,200
- Metallic Paint 475
- Dakota Leather Upholstery 1,450
- Cold Weather Package 600-3,150
- Sport Package 1200-1600
|No. of cylinders/arrangement||24-valve inline 6-cylinder|
|Bore x stroke||mm/in|
84 x 89.6/ 3.35x3.46
|Ratios||Final drive |
|Overall width||in||71.5 |
|Front suspension||Struts, double-pivot lower arms, coil springs, twin-tube gas-pressure;shock absorbers, tubular anti-roll bar, subframe;dual forged aluminum lower arms|
5-link system, coil springs, twin-tube gas-pressure shock absorbers,
17 x 8.0
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph||sec||Top speed|