Sporty makeover for BMW 3 Series

first_imgThe BMW 3 Series took the Indian entry-point luxury market by storm since its introduction here in 2008. It quickly overtook its German rivals – Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 – to become the bestseller in its segment. But with its German rivals coming back revitalised with new models, it was time for the Bimmer to get into the act again, hence the new 3 Series, which is being exclusively previewed here.Set for a February 2012 launch, the new 3 Series Saloon, codenamed F30, draws heavily from the existing 7 Series (F01) and the 5 Series (F10). The new 3 Series Saloon is sportier and more elegant than its predecessor.Improved proportions, pronounced wheel arches, headlamp units that blend into the double-kidney grille to form a continuous band across the front of the car, and air inlets beneath the headlights visually stretch the width and make the new 3 Series Saloon look low, wide and sporty.This is mirrored in the horizontal design language at the rear and the forward-pressing nose, long bonnet, rising swage lines and large wheels visible from the side. At the same time, the coupe-like profile, distinctive double round headlights, L-shaped rear light units with LED light bars, and the decorative trims chosen for the grille and around the windows give an athletic and yet elegant appearance.The new BMW 3 Series Saloon is 93mm longer than the previous model and 6mm narrower, excluding door mirrors. It also has a 50mm longer wheelbase. This has clear advantages when it comes to internal space. There’s 18mm more feet entry freedom, 15mm more knee room and 8mm more headroom in the rear; the height of the rear door and its opening angle have both been increased to make entry and exit easier. None of this is at the expense of luggage space, which has increased by 20 litres to 480 litres.advertisementBefitting the renowned driving dynamics of the BMW 3 Series, the interior control and switchgear layout is totally driver focused. The elegant and dynamic new interior design language, with twisting and merging surfaces arranged in a series of layers, all angle towards the driver. The centre console itself is angled at seven degrees towards the driver.All versions of the new 3 Series Saloon feature Drive Performance Control – it’s a switch that allows the driver to swap between up to four driving modes, varying from sporty to extremely economical. The four modes are ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ (the last is included only in Sport models or with selected optional equipment).What, however, is tragic is that BMW’s famed silky smooth straight six-cylinder engines will be replaced by commonplace four-cylinder motors, which with the help of twin turbochargers would produce similar power levels. The six-cylinder 330i will be replaced in the Indian market by the four-cylinder N20 2.0-litre engine producing 245bhp. A hybrid version may also be on sale – all sacrifices at the altar of emission control. Sadly, a whole legend will bow out with the demise of BMW’s famed sixer.The 3 Series Bimmer is a brilliant car. At present, it is the quickest of all rivals and has handling to match. The new 3, which replaces the existing model, will take the game a notch higher, something its competitors will find hard to match. Prices will be up marginally, so you can expect the ‘Corporate Edition’ to start at around Rs 25 lakh. At that price, the new 3 Series will remain the pick of its segment.last_img

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