A big round of updates for the BMW 3 series range! The changes bring new LED lighting front and rear, a PHEV model called 330e, and the new 340i badge to replace the 335i.
This update reflects an all-new turbo engine up front. The 3.0-liter inline-six is now dubbed B58 versus the previous N55. The new engine has a just of 20 horsepower up to 320, with a torque mountain of 330-pound-feet coming on from just 1350 RPM. That is one eager motor!
The US range includes a 320, 328i or 328d and new 330e featuring plug-in hybrid technology.
A new eight-speed automatic is standard across the board, but can be swapped for a manual transmission on all trims. Both are excellent. The huge torque from the flagship 340i creates a very compelling M3 alternative paired to the eight-speed auto. Sprint pace is 4.8-seconds for the 34oi rear-drive, and down to 4.6-seconds for the xDrive 340i.
On that M3-style note… the new 3 series also introduces a Track Handling Package with M adaptive suspension, M steering and M brakes in blue.
2016 BMW 340i
The New BMW 3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon.
Lifecycle freshening for all 3 Series Sedans and Sports Wagons.
New 340i Sedan features new 320 hp TwinPower Turbo Inline 6-cylinder.
Standard Sport Line on the 328i, 328d and 340i models (including xDrive).
New Track Handling Package available for gasoline-powered models.
Available Navigation system now with over-the-air map updates.
LED headlights now available (optional 320i, 328i, 328d and standard on 340i).
New 330e first-ever plug-in hybrid 3 Series announced.
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. –
BMW announces the latest enhancement to its brand shaping 3 Series with the introduction of the new BMW 3 Series. Accounting for around 25 percent of total BMW worldwide vehicle sales, the BMW 3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon represent the brand’s most successful model line with over 14 million sales globally. For the 2016 model year, the new 3 Series receives a range of enhancements highlighting dynamics, supporting the vehicle’s true emotional commitment to the brand and its customers. The introduction of the BMW 340i, marks the world premier of an all new inline 6-cylinder gasoline engine, producing 320 hp with 330 lb-ft of torque. This new modular BMW EfficientDynamics engine features BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology, combining unbeatable performance with outstanding efficiency.
The new BMW 3 Series chassis has been significantly improved encompassing new front struts, new rear damper technology and redesigned electric power steering to enhance overall vehicle dynamics. The BMW 3 Series Sedan and BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon feature a sharper design and a sportier front, supported by the newly designed headlights with optional full-LED headlights (standard on 340i models). The rear view also cuts an even more dynamic figure thanks to its LED tail lights and sculptural, clearly defined lines.
The original sports sedan enhanced.
Since 1975 the BMW 3 Series has furnished regular evidence of its dynamic ability. Whether in comparison tests, on the race track or in everyday use, it has traditionally set the benchmark in the sporting compact segment. Introduced to complement classical rear-wheel drive in the model line-up, BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive has also underlined this commitment. The new BMW 3 Series Sedan and new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon embody excellent efficiency in its class. The cars’ dynamic talents are reflected in their looks, which impress with their precision, tautness and elegance.
The 3 Series – the heart of the BMW brand.
In 1975 BMW opened the first chapter in a success story destined to endure for decades as the first generation of the BMW 3 Series rolled off the Milbertshofen assembly line on May 2, 1975. Internally known by its development code E21, this first 3 Series arrived to North America in 1976 as a 1977 model, with the only available model being the 320i boasting a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder 110 hp engine. Sales of the compact-size model reached almost 1.4 million units worldwide by 1983. Its successor, the E30, brought with it 4 and 6 cylinder gasoline engines as well as the introduction of a convertible as well as the four-door model in the US market. All-wheel drive was also made available in the US on the 325ix in 1988 and provided the second generation of the BMW 3 Series with the platform to expand its global potential between 1983 and 1993.
Next up was the E36, available in the US from 1991 – 1999. Its increased proportions allowed more passenger room while its perfect 50/50 weight distribution provided unrivaled vehicle handling. A new 3.0 liter DOHC 24 valve 6-cylinder engine with an aluminum head brought the output to 189 hp. The E46 generation, available in the US from 1998 – 2006, managed to increase performance and its 2.8 liter inline 6-cylinder engine, featured at the time of launch, utilized an aluminum block producing 193 hp.
In 2000 the 3 Series expanded its line-up introducing coupes, convertibles and, for the first time in the US, Sports Wagons. In 2006 the fifth-generation BMW 3 Series arrived in the shape of the E90, with efficiency and dynamics once again noticeably enhanced. Initially available in sedan and Sports Wagon form, the coupe and convertible followed shortly after. In traditional BMW fashion, a 3.0 liter inline 6-cylinder engine was rated at an impressive 255 hp. The TwinPower Turbo technology was introduced in the 335i. In 2011, BMW introduced the current 3 Series which was equipped with the latest 4 and 6-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engines.
Powertrain and chassis.
Raising the benchmark –sportier and more efficient.
The BMW 3 Series has represented the core of the Ultimate Driving Machine for the past 40 years. Now, the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and the new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon are raising the bar yet again. The engine range is comprised of gasoline engines with output from 180-320 hp and a diesel engine with 180 hp and an impressive 280 lb-ft. The new modular BMW EfficientDynamics inline 6-cylinder engine in the 340i is equipped with the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, which combines exceptional performance with excellent fuel efficiency.
This new BMW EfficientDynamics modular engine will share a common design blueprint, with 3, 4 and 6-cylinder inline cylinder arrangements, a displacement per cylinder of 500 cc and very lightweight, thermally optimized all-aluminum construction. The crankcase is very rigid due to its closed-deck design – which means that the cylinder water jacket is closed at the top – while thermally joined, high-strength cylinder liners with twin-wire, arc-sprayed coating save weight, allow greater thermal transfer due to the thinner cylinder wall thickness and reduce internal friction.
The new BMW 340i Sedan inline 6-cylinder gasoline engine.
The BMW 340i is the first model in the BMW line-up to be powered by the all-new inline 6-cylinder engine (B58) from the new modular BMW EfficientDynamics engine family. The lightweight and rigid all-aluminum unit with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology provides a perfect blend of superb performance and outstanding efficiency. This new 3.0 liter engine powering the 340i replaces the N55 powered 335i and tops the 3 Series gasoline line-up. It produced a maximum power of 320 hp between 5,500 and 6,500 rpm, a 20 hp improvement over the previous model. Peak torque is an impressive 330 lb-ft, which is available from 1,380 rpm. The new BMW 340i Sedan equipped with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds while the BMW 340i xDrive model takes just 4.6 seconds. All 340i models are governed to a top speed of 155 mph (130 mph if equipped with All-season tires). The new EfficientDynamics 6-cylinder engine is equipped with the latest generation of BMW’s innovative TwinPower Turbo technology, featuring twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing. It also incorporates VALVETRONIC fully variable valve lift.
Improved manual and automatic transmissions.
The new BMW 3 Series Sedan comes standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission and a 6-speed manual transmission is available as a no-cost option on 320i, 328i, 340i and 340i xDrive models. The crisp-shifting 6-speed manual transmission on 340i models is equipped with a dual-mass flywheel with centrifugal pendulum absorbers. This technology counteracts uneven running on high-torque engines so that the driver can change gears smoothly. The 6-speed manual transmission is also offered with a rev matching function, which means the engine automatically blips the throttle on downshifting, resulting in improved smoothness.
The updated 8-speed Steptronic transmission features enhanced efficiency, wider gear ratio spread and reduced torque converter slip during gear shifts. At the same time, improved damping of engine irregularities make for improved comfort and smoother shifting. Sporty drivers will also enjoy the 8-speed Steptronic transmission. In Sport+ transmission mode, it allows the driver to rev the engine right up to the rev limiter, and also to perform multiple sequential downshifts. The 8-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters is now standard on 328i, 328d and 340i models.
Further economy benefits are offered by the 8-speed Steptronic transmission’s coasting mode in ECO PRO. When the driver lifts off the throttle at higher speeds, for example on a gentle downhill grade on the highway, the engine is automatically decoupled from the transmission. It then simply idles, which saves fuel and ensures there is no unwanted engine braking at high speed.
BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system.
The new BMW 3 Series Sedan can optionally be specified with xDrive, the BMW intelligent all-wheel drive system. BMW xDrive combines the customary advantages of all-wheel drive such as optimal power transfer to the road, excellent safety and maximum traction with hallmark BMW agile and precise handling. BMW xDrive efficiently reduces understeer and oversteer when cornering by sending as necessary power front or rear, improving driving dynamics, for example when steering into a corner or accelerating out of even the tightest bends.
Sporty, agile and comfortable suspension.
The BMW 3 Series has been the benchmark in driving dynamics for generations. The further developed damper technology and optimized suspension of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon team up with a more finely honed steering set-up to deliver significantly enhanced dynamic capabilities without any compromise on comfort. Some of the specific changes include: new geometry of the chassis with new front struts with five bolt upper anchors points (versus 3 previously), redesigned electric power steering, new rear damper technology, and updated Dynamic Stability Control. All these updates translate to increased handling capabilities as well as feedback to the driver.
The retuned suspension improves both transverse and longitudinal dynamics under all load conditions. This is expressed in reduced roll, improved directional stability and higher level of steering precision. This is true of the standard suspension as well as the M Sport Suspension and the Adaptive M Suspension options. The Adaptive M Suspension offers electronically controlled dampers and allows individual adjustment of the car’s dynamic responses at the touch of a button. Continuous sensor monitoring of longitudinal and lateral acceleration, speed and steering angle allows the damping to be optimally matched to road characteristics and the driving situation.
Track Handling Package now available.
The Track Handling Package, designed for the driving enthusiasts and available on the gasoline engine models only, consists of Variable Sport Steering, Adaptive M Suspension and M Sport Brakes with high temperature Euro brake pads mounted to blue calipers that highlight the new 3 Series sportiness while sharpening handling. The package includes 18” Light alloy wheels in Orbit Grey with Michelin Super Sport Tires, which emphasize maximum performance while providing excellent handling. Optional 19” wheels are also available on all 340i models.
Design and Equipment
Defining a segment.
The eye-catching looks of the new BMW 3 Series redefines a striking presence on the road. The distinctively sculpted long hood and set-back passenger compartment team up with the short front and rear overhangs and long wheelbase to create the extremely dynamic proportions that are as much a hallmark of BMW as ideal 50:50 weight distribution. Precisely designed headlights further emphasize the dynamic credentials of the BMW 3 Series, while the powerful rear end of the Sedan and Sports Wagon, complete with a clearly defined new lighting design, underlining an even sportier appearance.
New Halogen Headlight design with full-LED lights.
The new Halogen Headlight design is now available with LED daytime running lights. New for the 3 Series, full LED headlights (standard on 340i models) are even more efficient and accentuate the front end. In addition, the “eyes” of the BMW 3 Series have moved further apart, visually strengthening the car’s broad stance on the road. The daytime running lights are even more striking thanks to the leveled off upper and lower edges of the LED light tubes. These also form a visual connection with the BMW kidney grille in the shape of an LED light bar. Available as an option for 328i, 328d and 340i models are Adaptive Full LED Headlights with Automatic High-beam System. This helps to maximize the use of the main beam and significantly widen the illuminated area in front of the car – enhancing visibility and therefore improving safety at night.
New width-enhancing effect and stronger visual presence.
Broader side air intakes in the front apron give the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon an even stronger presence. This powerful appearance is further underlined by the strikingly sculptural and precise form of the rear bumpers. The new, more intricate structure of the central air intake also allows the radar sensor for the Active Cruise Control (ACC) to be integrated more discreetly.
The rear end with its sporty design also impresses with its likewise highly sculptural, clearly defined lines. The newly designed rear lights are full-LED units. The light bars, arranged in a distinctive BMW “L” shape and now more heavily curved, lend greater dynamic presence to the rear end of the car even when it is stationary. Added to which, the integrated LED brake lights raise safety another notch thanks to their faster responses. The two-piece LED indicators form a horizontal band of light across both sections of the rear lights and provide extremely even and consistent light. They stretch into the trunk lid (or the tailgate on the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon) and underline the car’s sporty looks. The wider trim element on the rear apron lends additional emphasis to this dynamic appearance.
The top-of-the-line gasoline engine in the BMW 340i comes with an exhaust system featuring individual tailpipes on the left and right, while the engines for the 320i and 328d models now come with twin tailpipes. The sporty appearance of the new BMW 3 Series includes a newly designed 17” wheel for the 320i and 328i. 18” wheels are also available as an option. The 340i models are equipped with new 18” wheels and optional 19” wheels with performance tires.
High-quality interior, driver focused ergonomics.
The interior reflects the dynamic and elegant lines of the sporty BMW 3 Series model range. The driver oriented cabin provides optimum access to all the important functions. The outstanding ergonomics of the BMW 3 Series have been improved further carefully arranged chrome highlights and high-gloss surfaces give the interior an even cleaner look.
The center console now comes in high-gloss black and also features new ambient lighting with an even greater feeling of quality with additional chrome applications. New chrome accents define the newly designed controls for the electric seat adjustment. New chrome applications are also a featured on the electric window controls and air vents, adding high-quality accents to the interior. The highlight trim finisher in the instrument panel now expands into all four doors, emphasizing the generous levels of space for the passengers. The cupholders in the center console add another practical feature and now have a sliding cover. An additional practical storage area for smaller items, is positioned forward of the cupholders.
Options and Packages enable further individualization.
The content of the previous Sport Line is now standard on 328i, 328d and 340i (including xDrive models) which features high-gloss exterior components including black kidney grills, black B-Pillars and a black high-gloss element on the rear bumper. The tailpipe trim is also in black chrome while high-gloss black finishers surrounding the air-intakes with aluminum-type decorative elements support the overall sporty look of the new BMW 3 Series.
The Sport Line also enhances the look and feel of the interior by utilizing a sport instrument cluster with specific printing and chrono-scaling, an anthracite headliner as well as Sports Seats with side-bolsters. Now, no longer limited to the Luxury Package, the new 3 Series offers Saddle Brown Dakota Leather with dark brown highlights.
Luxury Package will continue to be an option for the aforementioned models, while the M Sport Package offers additional options designed to further increase road presence and driving pleasure. Among the features of the M Sport package are the M Aerodynamic Package, an M leather steering wheel and M Sport suspension.
The newly enhanced Premium Package for the 328i and 328d models includes Comfort Access, LED Headlights, Lumbar Support, Moonroof and Sirius Satellite radio with a no-cost one-year subscription. All of the Premium Package equipment is now standard for 340i models.
Customers can choose from a total of 12 exterior colors for their new BMW 3 Series. New additions to the range include striking Mediterranean Blue Metallic, Platinum Silver Metallic and Jatoba Brown Metallic. The Estoril Blue Metallic shade is still reserved exclusively for cars equipped with the M Sport package.
Superb performance, exceptionally low fuel consumption.
The driving enjoyment offered by the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and new BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon models is based not just on excellent performance but also on excellent fuel economy. BMW EffientDynamics measures are present through Auto Start Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand operation of ancillary units and the ECO PRO mode, ensure that the new BMW 3 Series not only delivers typical BMW sporty performance but also benchmark fuel consumption and emissions.
Optimized transmissions and intelligent energy management.
The newly developed manual and automatic transmissions also play an important role in reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Both types of transmission feature optimized efficiency, compact design and low weight, and are able to support a relaxed, low-rev and extra-fuel-efficient driving style. Further potential for savings is offered by the intelligent transmission control strategy. Among other things, a Proactive Driving Assistant (for models fitted with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission) uses navigation data to work out in advance where the driver will have to slow down on the upcoming route and adapts the powertrain strategy accordingly. It also passes on appropriate recommendations to the driver, if desired.
Further savings are offered by intelligent energy management for the ancillary units. This includes the on-demand coolant pump, electronically controlled oil pump and electromechanical power steering that consume no electrical power when driving straight ahead. Also, whenever the air conditioning is not being used, its compressor is automatically disconnected from the engine.
Additional fuel-saving measures include the ECO PRO mode, selectable using the Driving Dynamics Control switch, the ECO PRO Route navigation feature and the coasting function on models with 8-speed Steptronic transmission, which disconnects the engine if the driver lifts off the throttle at higher speeds. The engine then idles in neutral, consuming less fuel.
The new BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid.
Looking further ahead, the BMW 3 Series will celebrate a very special milestone in 2016 with the launch of the BMW 330e. The BMW 330e will be powered by a plug-in hybrid drive system with a combined output of around 250 hp and 310 lb-ft (preliminary), giving the BMW 330e a 0–60 mph acceleration time of approximately 6.1 (preliminary) and a top speed of 140 mph (preliminary). The new BMW 330e is also capable of travelling up to 22 miles in all-electric mode and therefore with zero local emissions.
Optimum connectivity and intelligent driver assistance systems.
BMW has been setting the standard for connectivity between the driver, car and the outside world for many years now. With yet more new functions added to the unrivalled combination of mobility services and driver assistance systems, BMW ConnectedDrive is providing another impressive demonstration of its pioneering abilities in the new BMW 3 Series range, while once again ensuring supreme safety, comfort and infotainment.
Fastest mobile technology on board.
The optional latest-generation Navigation System boasts quicker start-up, even faster route calculation along with more realistic 3D visualization in cities. The navigation maps are automatically updated free of charge for a period of three years via the embedded SIM cards and the vehicles LTE system. This LTE technology when fitted with the Navigation System enhances USB, Bluetooth and smartphone integration. This greatly improves network coverage and data transmission speeds, especially in rural areas.
ConnectedDrive Services form part of the standard specification of the BMW 3 Series.
A SIM card built into the vehicle enables the customer to enjoy optimum connectivity and access to the unrivalled range of services from BMW ConnectedDrive without the need for a smartphone. The available Concierge Service, for example, makes it possible to select points of interest while driving, such as pharmacies, restaurants or hotels, make a reservation if desired, and have them sent straight to the vehicle as a navigation destination together with all the relevant contact data.
The new BMW 3 Series is equipped with BMW Assist eCall (Enhanced Automatic Collision Notification) to ensure maximum safety while driving. In case of airbag deployment this system uses the built-in SIM card to automatically transmit the severity of the accident and the vehicle’s location to the BMW Assist™ Response Center. The data will then be utilized to generate the best possible emergency response.
Head-Up Display: information in the driver’s immediate field of view.
A full-color, high-resolution Head-Up Display is available as an option for the new BMW 3 Series. All relevant information, such as speed and navigation instructions, appears here in an optimum position in the driver’s field of view. The safety information from the Driving Assistant System (i.e. speed limits and no-passing zone information, Forward Collision Warning, with City Collision Mitigation, Pedestrian Warning and Lane Departure Warning) as well as information relating to smartphone and media operation is also shown in the Head-Up Display.
Parking Assistant for parallel and now perpendicular parking.
The Parking Assistant in the new BMW 3 Series now helps the driver to park in spaces
that are perpendicular to the road as well as parallel spots. At speeds below approximately 22 mph ultrasonic sensors measure potential parking spaces, which are then shown in the central information display. If the driver now activates the Parking Assistant, the car will steer itself into the space while the driver merely has to control the accelerator and brake or switch between forward and reverse gear when prompted. The Parking Assistant also includes the new Auto PDC function, which allows the Park Distance Control to switch on automatically when approaching an object at the front and display the remaining distance. When traffic jam situations with stop-start traffic are detected, the Auto PDC function is deactivated.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.