The latest BMW 3 Series builds on its already striking design to keep it as one of the most sporting and luxurious looking cars in its class. Compared to the outgoing ES and SE specification cars, the latest model now features two additional raised precision lines on the bonnet for a more muscular look. The iconic BMW kidney grille has been re-profiled, while the headlights feature twin corona side lights as standard. The front apron has been reshaped too for a more sporting look.
At the side, the valance now features a new crease line for a more sporting look and the wing mirrors have been increased in size for better visibility. The track of the car has been increased by 24mm for enhanced driving dynamics. The rear light cluster has been changed and is now monochrome in colour with LED technology as standard, while the rear valance and boot lid have been re-styled. In addition to these changes seven new styles of alloy wheel designs are offered, including a sports-oriented 17-inch V-spoke alloy wheel as standard on four-cylinder SE specification cars.
M Sport models also feature the new bonnet, front and rear lights and new M Aerodynamic body styling to further set the car apart.
Inside, and a revised centre console houses the all-new iDrive system (when specified). For added convenience and improved functionality, iDrive features a new on-screen layout with scroll across display for each chosen function for greater clarity. A ‘back’ button and shortcut keys mean it is even easier to navigate to a required function. The use of ‘favourite buttons’ below the iDrive screen add another element of practicality allowing you to call upon favourite destinations, music sources or phone book entries. Other interior changes for the 3 Series include improved ergonomics, such as the positioning of switchgear, and more luxurious materials.
The new operating system is only possible courtesy of the hard disc drive used for of the vehicle’s electronic data storage. 8Gb of this space is specifically set aside for the uploading of favourite music tracks. The car is capable of storing in excess of 100 albums. Elsewhere inside the car new trims are available.
All 3 Series Saloon and Touring models come as standard with six airbags, front and rear ISOFIX child seat mounts (including front airbag deactivation) and one of the most advanced stability control systems in the world to guard against accidents. For the first time on a 3 Series the model now comes as standard with active head restraints. In the event of a rear-end collision the front section of the head restraint moves forward by 60mm and up by 40mm to reduce the distance between head rest and the occupants’ heads thus reducing the risk of spinal injury.
The current generation of 3 Series was first seen in 2005 and since then an average of 28,000 Saloons and 9,000 Touring models are sold every year. The most popular engine variant is the 320d which accounts for 43 per cent of Saloon sales and 46 per cent of Touring sales. A third of all 3 Series sales in UK are M Sport, but this increases to nearly 70 per cent when taking only six-cylinder cars into consideration.The new BMW 3 Series Saloon and Touring go on sale on 20th September, 2008, with pricing announced at a later date. Published 16 July 2008