The New BMW 3 Series Saloon | Part Four

BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series

ACC Active Cruise Control: the sheer pleasure of being driven

ACC Active Cruise Control is far more than just a conventional cruise control system, since it is able to consistently monitor traffic conditions and respond accordingly: Featuring a radar distance sensor, ACC monitors the distance to the vehicle ahead and adjusts the car's speed as well as its distance in specific, pre-selected levels. This makes ACC simply ideal in traffic flowing along at a consistent speed with moderate vehicle density, ACC automatically accelerating the car to the driver's desired speed regardless of external factors and without requiring the driver to intervene. This speed is then consistently maintained and, when necessary, reduced accordingly.

To benefit from this superior comfort, all the driver has to do is set the speed he would like to have by pressing the appropriate control button. This saves and maintains the speed desired until the driver intervenes by giving gas or applying the brakes.

Distinctive design profiling the 3 Series as a dynamic and elegant saloon

In its design language, the 3 Series makes a powerful statement as a unique, self-confident, dynamic and elegant sports saloon. The new car comes right in the middle of BMW's modern design spectrum, matching the design language of the BMW Z4 or the BMW 1 Series, on the one hand, with the elegance of the 5 and 7 Series, on the other. Characteristic features are the short overhangs, the greenhouse moved far to the back, as well as the long engine compartment lid. Significantly larger both outside and inside, the interior is bright, spacious and generous, reflecting the lifestyle of its target group. In facts and figures, the overall length of the new 3 Series is 4,520 millimetres or 180.0´´ (+ 49 mm/1.9´´ over the former model), width is 1,817 millimetres or 71.5´´ (+ 78 mm/3.1´´) and height 1,421 millimetres/55.9´´ (+ 6 mm/0.2´´). Wheel base measures 2,760 millimetres/108.7´´ (+ 35 mm/1.4´´).

Shaping up the body: lighter, stiffer, safer

Even stiffer but at the same time lighter than before, the body of the new model makes a significant contribution to the perfect concept harmony of the BMW 3 Series. In this case, 'intelligent' lightweight construction means the specific use of enhanced steel and steel-forming technologies. The support bar concept for the car's load-bearing structure increases body stiffness by 25 per cent overall, without increasing the weight of the new model over that of its predecessor.

In collisions from the side: the safest 3 Series the world has ever seen

Through its design and configuration, the new BMW 3 Series is built for best results in the EuroNCAP crash test. And it is one of the first cars fully prepared for the extremely strict side-impact requirements in the USA as well as the US high-speed rear-end crash test.

Apart from the optimised belt systems, the occupant safety system comes as standard with no less than six airbags: the driver, front passenger, hip, thorax, and curtain head airbags.

Proven technology for extra safety
Apart from dual halogen headlights featured as standard, the customer also has the choice of bi-xenon headlights with or without the adaptive headlight function with the lights able to 'look round' a bend: Boasting this adaptive lights concept, the bi-xenon headlights ensure optimum illumination of the road ahead by consistently and dynamically adjusting the headlight beam to the course of the road and current driving conditions, offering the driver a significant improvement in visibility. This is a particular benefit in bends, with the headlights dynamically following the road and, quite literally, 'showing the driver the way', as if by magic.

Also featured as standard, the two-stage Brake Force Display enlarges the brake light area whenever the driver applies the brakes hard or when the ABS anti-lock brake function cuts in. Motorists following from behind will intuitively perceive this as an emergency braking manoeuvre, applying the brakes hard themselves and minimising their stopping distance in the process.

As a further highlight, the new BMW 3 Series comes as standard with runflat tyres enabling the driver to go on after a puncture for up to 250 kilometres or 155 miles at a speed of up to 80 km/h or 50 mph.

continues... | Part Five
Published 19 January 2005 Melanie Carter
 

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