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BMW 3 Series - Europe launch

Broadcast 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 BMWs "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 its called.

Taken from a rear three-quarter view, the overall look is clean and uncluttered.

Unfortunately, the rear end styling treatment remains BMWs nemesis.

The new tail-lights are completely new-looking, but once again they appear to be add-ons, rather Japanese in appearance this time round.

But despite lots of fussiness of line, there is nevertheless a sense of drama that will appeal to the more flamboyant members of BMWs customer base.

Inside the new clean-mean look of the latest BMW line-up is all there.

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 its 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 BMWs rear-wheel set up.

Road-holding, handling and driver-communication with car and road surface has always been a big priority amongst BMWs enthusiast engineers.

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 Series.

Its 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 BMWs new look and Car Torques prediction is that itll make an even bigger impact on the sales charts than the current model has.

Already in pre-production at BMWs South African plant north of Pretoria, itll probably go on sale here in June this year.

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