BMW 3-Series

2005 - The fifth generation; the fifth and latest generation of the BMW 3 Series celebrated its world premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show. The new combination of powerful engines, dynamic and refined handling characteristics, a distinctive design and innovative equipment features is well received all over the world. The BMW Efficient Dynamics development strategy is now demonstrating how the pleasure of driving a BMW 3 Series can be brought into line with exemplary fuel economy and low emission levels.

The new 3 Series will enter the market with a choice of two in-line 6-cylinder engines, continuing a 3 Series tradition. The all-new 3.0-liter unit in the 330i offers a significant increase in performance. It is rated at 255-horsepower (SAE), a 30-horsepower increase over its predecessor.

In BMW's ongoing pursuit of weight reduction, this engine is the first in large-scale series production to use magnesium which, compared to aluminum, is 30 percent lighter. Magnesium is used in the crankcase, the crankshaft bearings and the cylinder head cover.

This engine is also the first six-cylinder to use BMW VALVETRONIC. With infinitely variable valve lift in place of the traditional throttle butterfly, this system improves both throttle response and fuel efficiency. Like previous BMW engines which have incorporated VALVETRONIC, the gains are impressive. In the case of the 330i, horsepower increases by 13%, while fuel consumption decreases by 12%. This unique technology works in tandem with BMW's double-VANOS variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust camshafts. The new 330i will accelerate from 0 - 60 mph in approximately six seconds.

Both models will be offered in the U.S. with a choice of a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission. The benefits of a six-speed manual in terms of acceleration, cruising comfort and fuel efficiency have been demonstrated in the previous 330i. These same benefits have also been proven on other BMWs which offer the new six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic. Those benefits will now be available to all 3 Series drivers.

The 3 Series is the latest BMW to feature the convenience of a start button. After firing up the engine at the touch of a button, all other functions operate seamlessly.

Reflecting BMW's rich heritage, the new BMW 3 Series continues some long standing traditions - engine mounted longitudinally up front, drive power to the rear wheels and near perfect 50:50 balance of weight over the front and rear wheels. These have contributed to the 3 Series well-earned reputation as the best handling sports sedan on the market.

Several enhancements will ensure that this new 3 Series lives up to its reputation. Like other BMWs, the new 3 Series gets a double-pivot front suspension for improved responsiveness. The newly developed suspension is made of aluminum to further improve responsiveness and comfort by reducing unsprung weight.

A new five-link rear suspension contributes to the improvement in handling and comfort. The new rear suspension is made of lightweight steel, which also contributes to the overall reduction of unsprung weight.

The new 3 Series becomes the first car in its class to offer anything approaching the benefits of BMW's unique Active Steering. This stand-alone option provides a more direct steering ratio at low speeds for greater maneuverability and a progressively less direct ratio as vehicle speed increases to improve high-speed stability. This solves the traditional trade-off between agility, stability and comfort with non-active steering.

In the new 3 Series, BMW Active Steering has been enhanced to provide an additional active safety benefit. Whenever the driver applies the brakes hard on surfaces with varying frictional coefficients - such as intermittent mud, ice or snow - Active Steering will intervene to help stabilize the vehicle even more quickly and seamlessly.

BMW's latest Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) incorporates new features which provide the driver with even more benefits. A new brake-drying feature can improve braking in wet weather, detected using the rain sensor and/or wiper activity, by gently rubbing the brake pads on the rotors to help keep the pad surface dry. A new Brake Standby feature can reduce braking response time by readying the brakes for application whenever the driver abruptly lifts off the accelerator pedal. By anticipating a sudden stop, Brake Standby can shorten stopping distances. The new Starting Assistant feature is designed to prevent rollback when starting off on a grade without having to use the brake pedal or handbrake.

Not only is the body shell of the new 3 Series larger it is also designed for greater stiffness, leading to improved comfort and safety. A new joint and crossbar concept for the car's load-bearing structure increases body stiffness by 25 percent without increasing the car's weight, thanks to intelligent lightweight engineering through the use of more highly developed steel and molding technologies.

The new 3 Series will be available with optional Xenon Adaptive Headlights. The previous BMW 3 Series was the first vehicle to offer these lights, which turn slightly whenever the front wheels turn. Greater illumination around bends improves visibility, particularly on winding roads.

The new interior reflects the modern ambience seen in other recent BMW designs. The interior is more spacious and more luxurious for drivers and passengers alike. The driver is also offered an environment that is designed to enhance the driving experience. As before, an onboard navigation system will be available. In the new 3 Series the system will include BMW's iDrive control system for convenient operation.

The optional Comfort Access makes the conventional ignition key a thing of the past. A uniquely coded transmitter, referred to as the ID Sensor, enables the driver to enter the car with the ID Sensor in a pocket and start the engine by pressing a button, without ever touching the ID Sensor. The ID Sensor, in conjunction with Key Memory, sets the driver's preferences for power seat position, mirrors, automatic climate control and, if equipped with optional iDrive, the radio station presets.

The new 3 Series is able to take advantage of the full range of BMW's information and entertainment features. The DVD-based onboard navigation system provides quick and accurate route planning and destination information. The standard AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system can be upgraded to include the Logic7 surround sound system, as offered in the 7 Series. The listening experience can be enhanced further with the availability of SIRIUS satellite radio. The available Premium Package will include BMW Assist which provides emergency calling and BMW Roadside Assistance. Subscribers may also take advantage of a whole range of travel-related services.

Source: BMW press

Gallery: BMW 3-Series