3 Series - Europe launch
dates : 16th January 2005
20th January 2005
Integration. That would be the
key word in a description of the new BMW 3 Series. A sense of
drama without fussiness. A lack of gimmickry defining an
identity that is now distinctly BMW.
If these observations about the new BMW 3 Series indicate a
sense of conflict resolution, they refer to the highly
controversial predecessors in BMW’s "new look."
The Bavarian company has been universally taken to task for
certain styling elements in cars like the 7 Series, the Z4,
and to a lesser extent even the new 5 Series.
Now with this, the volume-seller 3 Series due to make its
international debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, all the
themes have come together wonderfully.
Those cats-eye headlights flare out from the traditional BMW
kidney grille with a sense of purpose.
From the side, the profile is classic 3 Series, important in
maintaining continuity of customer loyalty.
And there is that classic
reverse-kick in the rear window pillow, or C pillar as it’s
Taken from a rear three-quarter view, the overall look is
clean and uncluttered.
Unfortunately, the rear end styling treatment remains BMW’s
The new tail-lights are completely new-looking, but once again
they appear to be add-ons, rather Japanese in appearance this
But despite lots of fussiness of line, there is nevertheless a
sense of drama that will appeal to the more flamboyant members
of BMW’s customer base.
Inside the new clean-mean look of the latest BMW line-up is
The cabin is dominated by the I-Drive function control system
for navigation, climate control and audio contained in a
separate instrument pod from the speedo and rev counter ahead
of the driver.
The sweeping trim panels and otherwise unadorned dash is now a
BMW theme and it’s pleasing to the eye.
Thanks to increased dimensions there is now more space,
particularly in the rear cabin section, always a criticism of
the 3 Series.
What can BMW enthusiasts look forward to in the engine
department? Well, lots if you appreciate some of the finest
engines in the world.
The line-up starts with a two-litre four- cylinder and extends
to the three-litre six-cylinder used in the 330i model.
And the 330i now produces a hundred-and-ninety kilowatts, a
whopping twenty kilowatts up on the previous 330 motor.
There will also be a 320d turbodiesel model from launch,
ending speculation that this model would be introduced later.
No surprises in the transmission field, with six-speed manual
and automatic models using BMW’s rear-wheel set up.
Road-holding, handling and driver-communication with car and
road surface has always been a big priority amongst BMW’s
With an increased track and longer wheelbase, the car is bound
to have more grip and more straight-line stability at speed.
And the suspension system will be a refinement of the current
strut upfront, multi-link rear system
The base models will use sixteen-inch wheels while the 330i
will have seventeen-inch alloys as standard.
Getting back to the looks, there are some unusual features.
The cut line between the headlight clusters and front wheel
arches give a modular look.
But the new slab-sided look, a bit too much on the 7 Series
and the 5 Series from some angles, works well on the smaller 3
It’s augmented gracefully by a rising styling line towards
the rear and adds real substance to the car.
The new 3 Series is the culmination of BMW’s new look and
Car Torque’s prediction is that it’ll make an even bigger
impact on the sales charts than the current model has.
Already in pre-production at BMW’s South African plant north
of Pretoria, it’ll probably go on sale here in June this
Car Torque is