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BMW's new 3-Series revealed (copyright image)

BMW 3 Series "M Sport" (copyright image)

BMW 3 Series "Modern Line" (copyright image)

BMW 3 Series ActiveHybrid (copyright image)

BMW 3 Series "Sport Line" (copyright image)

BMW 328i "Luxury Line"

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The new, sixth 'generation', BMW 3 Series will debut in January in USA at the Detroit Motor Show. It will be released globally soon afterwards. It is expected locally in February 2012. The 3 Series is the brand's best seller, responsible for approximately twenty per cent of the company’s global sales.

The new BMW 3 Series sedan is a car of contradictions: larger and more spacious than the model it replaces, but lighter; quicker in many cases, but more fuel-efficient; and more nimble and agile while even safer. There have been big steps forward in style, quality, comfort and specification. A wider choice of trim levels and an extensive personalisation programme will allow 3 Series sedan buyers a broad selection of variants.

The styling represents a fresh interpretation and conscientious development of traditional BMW design cues. The new front end, with flat headlights reaching along as far as the BMW kidney grille, emphasises the design of the new BMW 3 Series. The sixth generation of the 3 Series has grown in size compared to its predecessor, with its wide track (front + 37 mm, rear + 47 mm) particularly prominent, and the car’s increased length (+ 93 mm) and augmented wheelbase (+ 50 mm) also accentuate its sporting silhouette. Inside the new BMW 3 Series Sedan, the increase in space benefits the rear passengers.

And the BMW 3 Series range is now also available in a trio of trim and equipment variants – the Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line. Each presents its own individual take on the character of the sedan, with exclusive, high-quality material combinations and build quality underlining the ambience of the new range.

Drive and chassis technology have been key areas of expertise for the brand, and agility and driving dynamics remain attributes of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The new car belies its larger dimensions with a kerb weight 40 kilogrammes (88 lb) below that of its predecessor.

A choice of four engines – all of which feature new BMW TwinPower Turbo technology – will be available for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan from launch. In addition to two diesel powerplants and the six-cylinder petrol unit, customers can also choose the new turbocharged four-cylinder variant in the BMW 328i. This latest-generation petrol engine rewards the driver with a dynamic driving experience coupled with reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

BMW will offer an eight-speed automatic gearbox in the new model. It can be specified in combination with any of the petrol and diesel engines in the range and links up with the Auto Start-Stop function that comes as standard. Compact and exceptionally efficient, it allows the new BMW 3 Series to match or outperform 3 Series models fitted with the standard six-speed manual gearbox in terms of both fuel economy and emissions.

As components of the BMW EfficientDynamics technology line-up, the Auto Start-Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration, Optimum Shift Indicator and need-based operation of ancillary components (including a disengageable air conditioning compressor) also play their part in reducing fuel consumption. Added to which, the new Driving Experience Control switch not only offers Comfort, Sport and Sport + options, but also ECO PRO mode, which gives all the models in the range the potential to further improve these figures. This switch helps drivers maximise fuel economy through their driving style, thereby enabling them to increase the distance they can travel between visits to the fuel pumps. The same goes for the CO2-minimising BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Edition, whose peak output of 120 kW (163 hp) contrasts with average fuel consumption in the EU driving cycle of 4.1 l/100 km (68.9 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of 109 g/km. BMW will add further cutting-edge engines to the line-up later in 2012, when the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 will make its premiere.

Enhanced superiority, convenience and safety thanks to intelligent connectivity. BMW ConnectedDrive offers an unmatched combination of driver assistance technology and mobility systems for the new BMW 3 Series range. Another feature of the new 3 Series sedan is the full-colour Head-Up Display, which projects key information – in sharp resolution – onto the windscreen so it appears directly in the driver’s field of view. Also available is Surround View with Side View and Top View, which gives a bird’s-eye perspective of the vehicle and the area around it. In addition, a parking assistance system helps the driver to manoeuvre into parking spaces. Among the other assistance technology available under the BMW ConnectedDrive banner are Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function, the Lane Change Warning System and Lane Departure Warning System with camera-based Collision Warning system, which are offered for the first time in a BMW 3 Series Sedan. Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) and special apps such as “BMW Connected” for using social networks are also available. An innovative comfort access function allowing hands-free opening of the boot lid and the additional Active Protection occupant protection system are likewise included on the options list, as is Advanced eCall with automatic position finding from BMW Assist. In the event of an accident, this system gives the emergency services detailed information on the nature of the collision before they arrive at the scene of the accident.

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The road ahead for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan

BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system has been available on the 3 Series in some markets previously, and has now been engineered for right-hand-drive cars. It will be available with selected petrol and diesel engines in late 2012 throughout the UK.

The ActiveHybrid 3 will be available later in 2012, and will use the powertrain recently announced for the ActiveHybrid 5. This combines the 335i’s 306 hp six-cylinder engine with an up to 40 kW electric motor.

Australian availability

The new BMW 3 Series sedan will be released in Australia in February 2012. Model lines, specifications and prices will be announced closer to the launch date. There is no confirmation available, as yet, that the hybrid and all-wheel drive versions will come to Australia. Although, much further down the time line, it is expected that BMW Australia will look to expand the 3 Series line-up to gain sales as the local market continues to offer more and more choice in a market segment that continues to expand just as it continues to gain more and more competitors.


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