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BMW hopes its sixth-gen 3 Series sports sedan will regain segment leadership

15 Feb 2012

BMW isn’t about to take the Mercedes-Benz C-class’ ongoing upper-medium segment domination lying down, as the all-new, sixth-generation 3 Series patently proves. Strides in refinement, comfort, dynamics, efficiency, value and personalisation choices mean that the perennial German sports sedan means business. In fact, after an all-too-brief drive, this may well be the best car of its type in the world.
Model release date: 1 February 2012 to 1 September 2015

Previous model

E90 3 Series

Released: May 2005
Ended: February 2012
Family Tree: 3 Series

BRANDISHING all-new ‘flame surfacing’ styling that defined BMWs in the 2000s, the fifth-generation 3 Series sedan grew in every department compared to its popular E46 predecessor. It also introduced the company’s controversial iDrive system to the long-lived range. Six-speed gearboxes prevailed, even in the base 320i (110kW/200Nm). There was the 160kW/250Nm 2.5-litre in-line six-cylinder 325i (joined later by a detuned 130kW/230Nm 323i version), as well as the 190kW/300Nm 330i – until a 225kW/400Nm 335i twin-turbo six-cylinder range-topper arrived. For the first time, a diesel 3 Series was released in 2006 (115kW/330Nm 320d). Along with a raft of changes, that was uprated to 125kW/340Nm during 2008, as was the 320i (to 115kW). A powerful 180kW/520Nm 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbo-diesel was added in 2009 (330d), but the performance flagship was the 309kW/400Nm 4.0-litre V8-powered M3 – the first in Australian in four-door sedan guise. There was also the E91 Touring wagon (from 2006) and E92/E93 Coupe/Convertible variants. Minor trim and visual changes were introduced during 2010 and 2011.

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