The crankcase jacket, bedplate and cylinder
head cover are all made from magnesium, which weighs 30 per
cent less than aluminium.
new 3.0-litre unit is the first six-cylinder engine to feature
BMW's patented VALVETRONIC induction system. First seen on BMW's
V8 engines and more recently offered as standard on the Hams
Hall four-cylinder petrol engines, VALVETRONIC infinitely varies
the intake valve opening times and, when combined with Bi-VANOS
variable camshaft timing, delivers the optimal fuel efficiency
and engine response.
Also joining the
six-cylinder model range in spring 2005 will be the 325i, delivering
218bhp at 6,500rpm and 250Nm (184lb-ft) at 2,750 - 4,250rpm.
The new 3 Series
range will also feature a two-litre diesel and a two-litre petrol
variant at launch. The BMW 320d, currently the UK's most popular
3 Series model, features second-generation common rail diesel
technology and a variable vane turbocharger to deliver 163bhp
and 340Nm (251lb-ft) of torque. This provides the car with the
best of all worlds. Acceleration to 62mph is achieved in 8.3
seconds with a top speed of 140mph. While delivering this level
of performance, it also achieves 49.6mpg on the combined cycle
and, as an additional benefit to the company car driver, is
The engine in the
new 320i is based on that of the outgoing 318i, but with enhancements
to the induction and exhaust systems.
Also benefiting from BMW's
VALVETRONIC and Bi-VANOS systems, the new 320i offers 150bhp at 6,200rpm,
with a maximum torque of 200Nm (147lb-ft) achieved at 3,600rpm.
This enables the car to
accelerate to 62mph from standstill in 9.0 seconds, achieve a top speed
of 136mph yet still delivering a frugal 38.2mpg.
Further four-cylinder 3
Series variants will follow during the course of 2005.
Soft Stop is also incorporated
which modulates the brake application to prevent the nose of the car
from 'diving' when travelling slowly.
Also included in DSC+ is
a Start-Off Assistant that uses the clutch to prevent the car from rolling
back on a hill-start and a brake detector that ensures the discs are
kept dry and responsive on wet roads.
Also assisting the car's
agility is BMW's Active Steering system, available for the first time
in a car of this class. Previously only available on larger 5 and 6
Series models, Active Steering is offered as an option on six-cylinder
models and resolves the conflict between low-speed agility and higher-speed
stability by delivering a speed-proportional steering ratio. Active
Steering also brings a number of key safety benefits. In conjunction
with the DSC+ system, if the car detects oversteer, Active Steering
applies a small amount of positive steering angle to bring the rear
of the car back into line. Additionally on the new 3 Series, when applying
the brakes on a surface with differing grip levels such as snow or ice,
Active Steering intervenes to stabilise the car more precisely and quickly
than the driver is able to do manually.
Supporting these steering
and traction control systems is a chassis that has been tuned to deliver
optimal driving dynamics on all road conditions. With BMW's trademark
front engine - rear-wheel-drive layout and near-perfect 50:50 weight
distribution, the new 3 Series feels nimble and agile on the road. Its
double-joint spring strut front axle is made completely of aluminium,
minimising the unsprung mass of the car and reducing road noise. The
new five-arm rear axle, first seen on the new BMW 1 Series, delivers
excellent ride comfort.
Click image for
The new 3 Series body is
stiffer yet lighter than that of the outgoing model. Thanks to a new
joint and crossbar arrangement for the car's load-bearing structure,
the bodyshell stiffness is increased by 25 per cent over its predecessor.
The inherent rigidity of
the steel bodyshell enhances the new 3 Series' class leading safety
levels. With the addition of six airbags as standard, including curtain
head airbags for front and rear occupants, the car is expected to receive
a five-star Euro NCAP rating. It is also one of the first cars in the
world that is fully prepared for the rigorous side impact requirements
in North America as well as the US high-speed rear impact test.
Also supporting these high
standards of safety are a number of familiar systems from other BMW
models. Brake Force Display is standard for the first time on 3 Series
Saloon models, offering two stage brake lights. Brake lights illuminate
normally in average driving conditions but during an emergency stop
or when the ABS braking cuts in, the area of brake light illumination
increases to warn those travelling behind of the situation ahead.
Adding further to safety
levels are Run-flat tyres, available for the first time on 3 Series
models. Like the 1, 5 and 6 Series models, Run-flat tyres are offered
as standard, and with the recent developments in Run-flat technology,
the car can now be driven for an astonishing 150 miles at 50mph with
up to four punctured tyres. This allows the driver to complete almost
any journey before replacements need to be sought.