Here’s a post for anyone out there considering the new BMW 3-Series, due to arrive on these shores in February. I’m happy to report some uneventful driving in my cars, so I’ve no DIY story to share. I’ve got a lot planned for the M3 come spring. Even though the miles are still very low the car turns 13 in April, so some preventative maintenance will be in order.
Roughly one third of all BMWs sold are 3-Series, so a new model is a big deal for the company. If you’re heading for a dealership soon, here are some Bimmerhead facts so you’ll understand the jargon being tossed around:
- The body style designation is F30
- This is the sixth generation of 3-Series – the E21, E30, E36, E46 and E90 styles preceded the new F30
- You can have the six cylinder turbo engine (designated the N55) or the four cylinder turbo engine (N20), no more normally aspirated engines in the 3-Series
- BMW also introduces the sedan first in a new model, then the wagon (if applicable), then the coupe and finally the convertible
- Subtle trim differences are being taken to an entirely new level by BMW, with three different versions being offered — Modern, Luxury, and Sport — with a M Sport version coming later next year, xDrive versions as well in 2013 and a new M3 arriving in 2014
- Starting price is reported as $44,150 for the 2012 335i and $36,650 for the 328i
For first drive reports here’s reporting from two very reputable sources — Edmunds Inside Line and Car and Driver. These reports talk about how the new four cylinder turbo in the 328i gives up nothing in performance to the outgoing six cylinder in the E90 328i, the car offers an “eco” drive mode that conserves gas and electricity and the new model is both larger and lighter than the outgoing model.
BMW Blog offers a side by side comparison of incoming and outgoing models. Here’s another comparison using animation from YouTube — this is well done and shows how seriously Bimmerheads study the introduction of new models:
BMW sales in November were up 7.1% from last November, and year to year up 12.3%. But a lot of that is X5 and X3 truck sales — sales of the old 3-Series are down 5.5% year to year.
The new 3-Series offers something for almost any potential buyer, and should be enough to keep BMW at the top of the entry luxury category. I don’t think one will have me wanting to trade in either of my BMWs, but I’ll be happy to test drive the M Sport sometime next year.
I’m more interested in rumors that BMW may rebadge the 3-Series as the 4-Series, due to its increased size and price. And then introduce a new 2-Series line between the 1 and 4 models. I haven’t seen any official confirmation of these rumors.
A smaller, lighter BMW — now that would be big news!