Automotive

BMW 3 Series gets refreshed with hybrid power

BMW 3 Series gets refreshed wi...
BMW's updates have been designed to bring the 3 Series up to speed with its premium rivals
BMW's updates have been designed to bring the 3 Series up to speed with its premium rivals
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Extra personalisation options are available on the updated 3 Series
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Extra personalisation options are available on the updated 3 Series
Inside, BMW has focused on improving the quality of materials used
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Inside, BMW has focused on improving the quality of materials used
The 3 Series touring has been restyled to look wider and more substantial on the road
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The 3 Series touring has been restyled to look wider and more substantial on the road
Full-LED headlights are an option on the refreshed 3-Series
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Full-LED headlights are an option on the refreshed 3-Series
BMW will be offering a plug-in hybrid option on the 3-Series
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BMW will be offering a plug-in hybrid option on the 3-Series
BMW has updated the 3 Series' navigation system
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BMW has updated the 3 Series' navigation system
The 3 Series' front apron has been updated to seamlessly include the sensor for BMW's active cruise control
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The 3 Series' front apron has been updated to seamlessly include the sensor for BMW's active cruise control
Stiff competition from Mercedes, Audi and Lexus has forced BMW to improve the 3 Series' cabin quality
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Stiff competition from Mercedes, Audi and Lexus has forced BMW to improve the 3 Series' cabin quality
All of the engines in the 3 Series range have been updated to provide more power and better fuel economy
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All of the engines in the 3 Series range have been updated to provide more power and better fuel economy
BMW's navigation system has been given an upgrade
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BMW's navigation system has been given an upgrade
The full range of active safety features will be available on the 3 Series
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The full range of active safety features will be available on the 3 Series
If you've got kids sitting back here, white leather might not be the most practical choice
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If you've got kids sitting back here, white leather might not be the most practical choice
There are two transmission options on the updated 3 Series
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There are two transmission options on the updated 3 Series
A color HUD is available on the 3 Series
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A color HUD is available on the 3 Series
Retuned suspension is designed to reinforce the 3 Series' status as the option for drivers
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Retuned suspension is designed to reinforce the 3 Series' status as the option for drivers
Improving the feeling of the touchpoints was a focus for BMW inside
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Improving the feeling of the touchpoints was a focus for BMW inside
The 340i replaces the 335i
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The 340i replaces the 335i
Twin exhaust pipes hint at the 340i's potential
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Twin exhaust pipes hint at the 340i's potential
The 340i's performance figures are very similar to those offered up by Mercedes' C450 AMG
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The 340i's performance figures are very similar to those offered up by Mercedes' C450 AMG
The 3 Series styling updates aim to make the car seem wider on the road
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The 3 Series styling updates aim to make the car seem wider on the road
The car's rear-light graphics have been updated
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The car's rear-light graphics have been updated
The front apron has been revised to include the sensor for BMW's active cruise control
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The front apron has been revised to include the sensor for BMW's active cruise control
xDrive all-wheel drive is available on most of the new 3 Series range
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xDrive all-wheel drive is available on most of the new 3 Series range
Power comes from turbocharged inline six in the 340i
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Power comes from turbocharged inline six in the 340i
BMW's updates have been designed to bring the 3 Series up to speed with its premium rivals
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BMW's updates have been designed to bring the 3 Series up to speed with its premium rivals
The 3 Series will offer a hybrid option from 2016
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The 3 Series will offer a hybrid option from 2016
The 8 Speed gearbox is backed up by a six-speed manual
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The 8 Speed gearbox is backed up by a six-speed manual
BMW's signature grille is still prominent on the 3 Series' nose
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BMW's signature grille is still prominent on the 3 Series' nose
Stiffer suspension and revised dampers have been designed to maintain the 3 Series' status as a sharp handler
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Stiffer suspension and revised dampers have been designed to maintain the 3 Series' status as a sharp handler
A three-cylinder engine kicks off the range
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A three-cylinder engine kicks off the range
Full LED headlamps are an option
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Full LED headlamps are an option
Rear drive 3 Series' sit lower than their predecessors
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Rear drive 3 Series' sit lower than their predecessors
A broad range of engines are available on the new 3 Series
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A broad range of engines are available on the new 3 Series
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For a very long time, the BMW 3 Series was the car to beat in the market for premium compact sedans. Recently the competition has caught up, with the likes of the Mercedes C-Class and the sharply styled Lexus IS encroaching on BMW's turf. To try and elevate the 3 Series above its rivals, BMW has given the car a styling refresh and introduced a three-cylinder motor and plug-in hybrid option.

All of the engines in the refreshed 3 Series lineup have been reworked to combine better fuel economy with more power. On the diesel front, the 316d, 318d and 320d have all been fitted with revised turbochargers to offer better throttle response. The 316d's motor produces 85 kW (116 hp), with the engine's peak 270 Nm (199 lb.ft) of torque available between 1,250 and 2,750 rpm. This is 25 kW (34 hp) and 50 Nm (37 lb.ft) less than the more expensive 318d's engine makes, and well down on the 140 kW (190 hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb.ft) of torque produced by the 320d.

Rear drive 3 Series' sit lower than their predecessors
Rear drive 3 Series' sit lower than their predecessors

In spite of the increase in power, CO2 emissions and fuel consumption figures are both down across the range, with the EfficientDynamics tuned 320d burning a miserly 3.8 l/100km (74.3 mpg) on the combined cycle.

The bottom end of the petrol line-up is where BMW has made the biggest changes to the 3 Series range. The updated 318i is fitted with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder motor producing 101 kW (136 hp) and 220 Nm of torque – the first time that BMW has slipped a three-cylinder engine under the bonnet of a mid-size car. Bavaria's engineers are keen to point out the three-cylinder engine's light weight and compact nature, although it remains to be seen whether BMW buyers will be comfortable buying a sedan with the engine from a Mini under the hood. Premium or not, the 1.5-liter engine is economical, with fuel economy of just 5.5 l/100km (51.4 mpg) and CO2 emissions of only 137 g/km. Performance is also impressive for such a small engine: 0-100km/h (62mph) in a reasonably sprightly 8.9 seconds.

Full LED headlamps are an option
Full LED headlamps are an option

At the other end of the range, BMW has replaced the top-end 335i with the 340i. Power comes from a new turbocharged inline six, which produces 240 kW (326 hp) and 450 Nm, enough to shoot it from 0-100km/h (62 mph) in 5.1 seconds – similar to the 4.9-seconds it takes its Mercedes C450 AMG rival to hit the same mark. As with the rest of the range, the 340i emits less CO2 than the model it replaces too, with its 152 g/km figure representing an improvement of over 10 percent.

As of 2016, the 3 Series range will also include the 330e plug-in hybrid, designed to rival the hybrid options Mercedes offers on its C-Class range. According to BMW, the maximum output of the 330e's hybrid drivetrain is pegged at 185 kW (252 hp). Both Mercedes and BMW claim fuel economy of 2.1 l/100km (112 mpg) for their hybrids, while the BMW will travel 35 km (22 miles) on battery power alone – 4 km (2.5 miles) more than the C350 plug-in hybrid can manage.

Stiffer suspension and revised dampers have been designed to maintain the 3 Series' status as a sharp handler
Stiffer suspension and revised dampers have been designed to maintain the 3 Series' status as a sharp handler

As well as updating the 3 Series' engine lineup, BMW's has focused on lifting cabin quality with extra chrome highlights, a redesigned center console and improved materials on touchpoints around the cabin. There's also an upgrade to the navigation system, which boots up and finds routes faster, as well as offering improved 3D graphics.

Externally, the updates are fairly subtle. Full LED headlamps are now an option, and the graphics of the taillights have been revised to make the car seem wider on the road. The front apron has also received a rework to include the sensor for BMW's active cruise control system.

The update also extends the the 3 Series' suspension and damping, with stiffer suspension and a revised damping system.

The updated 3 Series range will be available with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system is optional on the 320i,330i, 340i, 318d, 320d and 330d.

Source: BMW

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