New models - BMW - 3 Series
Stop-start for BMW's maniacal M3 - for less
Near-$5000 price reduction for mad M3 Coupe as BMW upgrades 3 Series two-doors
18 May 2010
BMW has slashed $4600 from the price of its maniacal M3 Coupe, which also scores a fuel-saving idle-stop system as part of a midlife makeover for the 3 Series coupe and convertible range.
First revealed in January, the upgraded 3 Series two-door line-up goes on sale in Australia from June - soon after the release of the similarly revised 2010 3 Series sedan and wagon range – and also includes a $1900 price reduction for the entry-level 320d, which gains more power, torque and efficiency.
Prices for the midrange 325i petrol and 330d diesel six-cylinder models increase by around $1300 and $650 respectively, but the headline act of the facelifted two-door line is the new-look 335i with standard M Sport features and new TwinPower turbo engine, making it at least $4100 more expensive than the 335i it replaces.
While five coupe and five convertible variants remain available (with two diesels and three petrol engines), the changes represent the first major upgrade for BMW’s E92 coupe, released here in October 2006, and the E93 convertible launched locally in April 2007.
Sales might be down almost 14 per cent in 2010, but despite fresh competition from Mercedes-Benz’s new (and still far more expensive) more expensive E-class coupe and cabriolet range, as well as Audi’s new A5 coupe and cabriolet line-up, the two-door/four-seater BMWs have still proved more popular this year.
Both two-door 3 Series body styles - which account for 25 per cent of BMW Australia’s volume-selling 3 Series range and 10 per cent of all BMW sales here - gain new dual-round bi-Xenon headlights with light rings and light bars, a new bonnet and a new front bumper with restyled “three-dimensional” kidney grille and silver-finished lower air-dam bars.
Revised versions of the fixed and folding-roof 3 Series also offer different side skirts, a new rear bumper, two-piece L-shaped tail-lights new LED technology, three new metallic exterior paint colours (bringing the total number of colours to 12) , a fresh range of six Dakota leather colour options (including the new Oyster/Black hue), a modified three-spoke leather-clad multi-function steering wheel and new entertainment functions from the BMW ConnectedDrive menu.
Changes for both the M-badged 3 Series coupe and folding hard-top models are limited to the new tail-lights and the fitment of BMW’s Auto Stop/Start system as standard in both manual and – for the first time – automatic guises, reducing combined average fuel consumption by a claimed six per cent to 11.2L/100km with the M3’s optional M-DCT seven-speed twin-clutch automated manual transmission.
Powered by the same 309kW/400Nm 4.0-litre V8 as before, the M3 Coupe is now priced at $158,300 as a manual – down from $162,900 - while the M3 Convertible now costs $560 more at $176,700 (manual).
With BMW’s new hard-core M3 GTS Coupe limited to left-hand drive production (and both two-door M models continuing to be unrivalled by E63 AMG-badged two-door variants from Benz) the standard M3 remains king of BMW’s performance castle in Australia.
A Competition Package (left) will be available for the M3 Coupe, however, comprising the continually adjustable Electronic Damper Control (EDC) system that now includes a new Sport mode, modified DSC electronic stability control system, the M Drive cockpit interface and 19-inch Y-spoke alloy M wheels.
Further down the two-door 3 Series tree, buyers of the new 335i M Sport coupe and convertible variants get a similar look to the M3 for a respective $116,700 and $129,900.
Both newly named 335i models get a new 3.0-litre TwinPower straight six with High Precision Injection, Valvetronic fully variable valve management and a single twin-scroll turbocharger rather than twin turbochargers to develop the same 225kW of power and 400Nm of torque as before, but with reduced fuel consumption of 8.4L/100km for the coupe and 8.8L/100km for the convertible.
Like the M3, the 335i is available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed M-DCT transmission, the latter featuring new gearshift paddles “for quicker and more intuitive use” and offering a 0-100km/h acceleration claim of just 5.4 seconds in coupe form.
The 335’s standard M Sport kit includes a full bodykit, 19-inch double-spoke alloys and lower and stiffer M Sport suspension (which can be a delete option), plus M Sport door sills, a sports multi-function steering wheel, aluminium trim highlights and BMW Individual anthracite headlining.
The turbocharged petrol 335i also comes standard with additional LED elements for the four daytime driving light rings, the new “eyebrow” illumination and the indicators, which form part of the optional Innovations Package on other models, while the 320d, 325i and 330d are also available with the M Sport Package including the M Aerodynamic Package and sports suspension.
The biggest mechanical changes apply to the base 320d, whose upgraded 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel now delivers 5kW more power (135kW at 4000tpm) and 30Nm more torque (380Nm at 1900rpm), while returning just 4.7l/100km in new manual guise in the coupe and 5.1L/100km in the convertible. The 320d now opens the 3 Series Coupe range at $65,600 ($78,500 convertible), with a conventional six-speed automatic option still available.
The 325i ($84,900 coupe $98,700 convertible) continues to be the entry-level petrol variant, powered by a carryover 160kW/250Nm 2.5-litre straight six matched to either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, while a 180kW/520Nm 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo-diesel continues to power the 330d coupe ($94,700) and convertible ($107,700).
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