2012 BMW 3-Series Unveiled
This week during a special event held in Munich, the German automaker BMW revealed the all-new 3-Series which promises to be faster, roomier and more economical than the model it replaces and it will go on sale in early next year. Known within the company as the F30, 2012 BMW 3-Series is entirely new and it took four years of development.
Upon launch, the car will be available with a choice of three engines in four models: 320d, 320d EfficientDynamics, 328i and 335i. Later on, BMW will introduce the 318d, 325d, 333d and 335d. Just like the smaller 1-Series, the new model will be available in three new trim levels: Sport, Luxury and Modern, which will complement the regular ES, SE and MSport.
Later on, the company will introduce the 316d which will be motivated by an updated version of Mini’s 2.0-liter diesel engine that produces 112 hp, along with a beefier 2.0-liter for the 320i which will output 184 hp. Also in the works for next year is the 3-Series ActiveHybrid which will get a turbocharged 3.0-liter power unit that will be combined with an electric motor. All of these engines will be mated to either the standard 6-speed manual gearbox or the optional 8-speed ZF transmission that can be ordered with paddle-shifters.
The most powerful engine available will be the 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder unit that is borrowed from the outgoing model and it outputs 302 hp and a maximum torque of 295 lb.-ft available at 1,200 rpm. All of the variants of the car will come with a range of the regular EfficientDynamics functions, like oil and water pumps that operate only when necessary, without having to consume unnecessary power. Even though the new generation of the 3-Series is now bigger, the fuel tank size has been reduced by 4 liters to 57 liters but even so the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics will be able to provide a range of more than 860 miles.
Compared to the outgoing model, the new 3-Series is 93mm longer to 4,623mm, while the wheelbase is now 2,810mm, up by 50mm. The width has been reduced by 4mm to 1,811mm while the height has been raised by 9mm to 1,429mm. The front wide track is up by 37mm to 1,543mm while the rear is up by 47mm to 1,583mm. Even though the new model is bigger, the weight of the car has been reduced by 40kg.
The 2012 BMW 3-Series is based on an entirely new, unitary steel platform that offers additional rigidity and in combination with the longitudinal mounting of the power units; the new model has an ideal 50:50 weight distribution. Just like its bigger brother, the 5-Series, the car will come with aluminum & steel body panels and an aluminum chassis that for the first time in the car’s history uses a double wishbone suspension in the front and a multi-link rear configuration with variable damping control.
Customers will be able to choose from a long list of 16, 17, 18-inch rims and those who opt for the M package will get 19-inch alloys. Another novelty would have to be the electro-mechanical steering which was first implemented on the Z4 and later on adopted as a standard feature for the 1 and 5-Series. The 4WD configuration will be available for the 320d, 320i and the 335i models.
Inside the cabin, the room for the front passengers will be just about the same, while for the back there will be 15mm more kneeroom as well as 8mm more headroom compared to the outgoing model. Thanks to the fact that the wheelbase is longer, the company’s engineers were able to enlarge the rear door apertures to facilitate an easier entrance to the seats. BMW says that at the bottom of the door they have freed an additional 18mm to make access easier than before. As for the cargo room, it’s up by 20 liters to a total of 480 liters, which is 5 liters more than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class but 10 liters less than the Audi A4.
Source: BMW via Autocar
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