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BMW 3 Series - Image Copyright BMWBMW 3 Series Coupe and Convertible

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19th J
anuary 2010

BMW has announced a raft of improvements and changes to the 3 Series range that offer owners more power and torque with lower fuel consumption and emissions. The class-leading BMW 3 Series Coupé and Convertible receive design changes and interior enhancements intended to keep both models at the forefront of their respective sectors.

The specifications included in this article are UK specs.

The BMW 3 Series Coupé and Convertible Coupé and Convertible models have been an essential ingredient in BMW’s portfolio since the 1930s. It is a heritage based on contemporary style and elegance with defining features such as a long wheelbase, short front and rear overhangs, prominent wheel arches and an elongated, flowing silhouette. The current models, the third generation 3 Series Coupé and fourth generation Convertible (the first one to feature a retractable hardtop), build on this tradition. Together they account for around one third of BMW 3 Series volume.

BMW 3 Series - Image Copyright BMWThe revised Coupé and Convertible feature new front and rear lights, a revised kidney grille, a new front air dam, rear valance and side rocker panels. The face of both models has been subtlety restyled by adding a twisted chrome band around the kidneys, new lights with bright white LED corona rings, indicators and side repeaters and an illuminated ‘eyebrow’. A new front air dam with a single large air intake is embellished with matt aluminium fins to give the car a wider and lower frontal appearance and, thus, a more dynamic look.

At the rear all red light clusters feature LED light bars and the re-styled rear bumper visually reduces the perception of height, again giving a more dynamic stance. In profile the cars are slightly longer than the former model due to the new front and rear valances – by 29mm at the front and 3mm at the rear. Contrasting character lines on the side valances and rear bumper enhance the sporting stance of both cars, while new standard wheel designs (and a new optional 18-inch alloy) and three new exterior colours, Vermillion Red, Deep Sea Blue and Mineral White, put the finishing touches to the exterior. Inside, Dakota Leather is now standard on all Coupé and Convertible models while new Anthracite Bamboo trim offers a fresh, modern feel.

BMW 3 Series - Image Copyright BMWNew models get more powerful and efficient engines
The BMW 320d Coupé and Convertible models feature a new version of the familiar and parsimonious four-cylinder diesel engine – a unit that was already class-leading before this update. It now delivers 184hp (up 7hp) and 380Nm of torque (up 30Nm). In the case of the Coupé this has shortened the zero to 62mph sprint by 0.4 seconds to 7.5 seconds, while at the same time reducing consumption by 1.2mpg to 60.1mpg and lowering emissions by 3g/km to 125g/km. The values for the Convertible are zero to 62mph in 8.3 seconds, consumption is 55.4mpg and emissions 135g/km. The BMW Coupé is capable of reaching a top speed of 147mph with the Convertible attaining 142mph.

The six-cylinder 325d versions of both cars reveal similar all round improvements. Engine output is 7hp higher at 204hp, and torque is up from 400 to 430Nm enabling the Coupé to shave 0.4 seconds off its 2009 zero to 62 time, with it now arriving in just 6.9 seconds. While fuel consumption remains the same at 49.6mpg, CO2 emissions are lower by 2g/km at 151g/km. The equivalent Convertible values are zero to 62mph in 7.5 seconds, 46.3mpg and 160g/km.

Nor has the flagship 335i derivative been ignored: although power and torque remain the same at a hearty 306hp and 400Nm, consumption and emissions have been significantly reduced. This has been made possible on this award-winning engine by combining a single turbocharger with VALVETRONIC variable valve management and High Precision Direct Injection for the first time. For example, the Coupé’s fuel consumption is eight per cent lower at 33.6mpg while CO2 output drops by over ten per cent to 196g/km.

The BMW 335d Coupé has been refreshed resulting in an improved fuel consumption figure and lower CO2 emissions. It now records 42.8mpg on the combined cycle, an improvement of 0.6mpg, and 174g/km.

BMW 3 Series - Image Copyright BMWMost efficient BMW 3 Series ever goes on sale
The new BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon offers the strongest demonstration yet of the success of the company’s pioneering EfficientDynamics programme. This new model is, for the moment, the best example of the art of the possible, not by using hybrid technology or electric power but by refining still further the enduring internal combustion engine.

It is the cleanest, most efficient BMW ever. At 109g/km it is the first premium car with CO2 emissions under 110g/km and manages to eke out 68.9mpg from a single gallon of fuel on the combined cycle.

The revised engine produces 163hp and 380Nm of torque enabling the 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon to sprint to 62mph in 8.0 seconds, accelerate smoothly in fifth gear from 50 to 75 mph in 9.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 142mph. Peak torque is available from 1,900rpm ensuring flexibility where the driver needs it.

The remarkable range of abilities displayed by the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon is due not only to the full range of EfficientDynamics elements already described, but also to some new technologies that take the concept to a new level. It uses the same new all-aluminium 2.0-litre diesel engine announced above with developments to minimize friction and improve thermodynamics – resulting in more efficient motoring that is easy and comfortable to achieve.

Diesel engines are most efficient at lower engine speeds, but they suffer greater vibration at low revs. The challenge for BMW’s engineers was to minimize engine noise and restore comfort to allow drivers the use of lower revs. They achieved this by deploying centrifugal pendulum absorbers within the two mass flywheel to compensate for the rotational lack of balance at lower speeds. With this problem solved they could now choose a longer final drive ratio and a gearshift indicator that encourages earlier up-shifts. These technologies allow drivers to spend a greater proportion of time in a higher gear and at a lower engine speed, thereby lowering fuel consumption.

In addition, the chassis ride height has been lowered by 15mm, unique 16-inch ‘aero’ wheels are standard fitment and these are equipped with tyres with a lower rolling resistance, all measures to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag.

BMW 3 Series - Image Copyright BMWEfficientDynamics moves the game on
It is interesting to reflect on just how far diesel technology has come in a dozen years. Back in 1997 the zenith of the diesel art was the BMW 325td Saloon, a car with 25 per cent more capacity than today’s standard BMW 320d Saloon. The intervening years have made the 325td look sluggish and thirsty by comparison. Today’s standard 320d Saloon, not the 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon variant, has 58 per cent more power, 71 per cent more torque, 36 per cent lower emissions and consumes 58 per cent less diesel. At 7.5 seconds to 60mph it is also 4.5 seconds or 38 per cent quicker. That is progress.

The full palette of EfficientDynamics technology comprises Brake Energy Regeneration, Intelligent Alternator Control, Electric Power Steering, Auto Start-Stop, Active Aerodynamics, Optimum gearshift indicator, Low Rolling Resistance Tyres, low friction fluids and lightweight engineering. They are available, in full or part, across the entire range of BMW models and, unlike some manufacturers, they are included as standard.

The new BMW 3 Series variants go on sale throughout 2010, commencing in Europe this quarter. Australia will follow later in 2010 with pricing and Australian specifications released closer to the local launch date.


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