New three-cylinder Bimmers debut, along with a new 2.0 turbo four and the new 340i model driven by BMW’s N55-replacing B58 straight six.
BMW’s midsized 3 Series sedan and wagon has been given a blink-and-miss-it styling update for the new model year, but there’s more to this refresh than first impressions would suggest.
Revealed today ahead of an expected late 2015 launch for Australia, the ‘new’ 3 Series gains subtle styling and trim tweaks, new features, a re-tuned chassis and a dramatically revised engine range.
On the styling front, the 2016 3 Series reveals only minor changes, with updated bumpers at both ends and lightly refreshed front and rear lighting. Full-LED headlights are also available as an option, replacing the regular xenon units.
The new 340i model gets an exhaust tip at both corners of the rear bumper, while the 320i and 320d now get twin tips.
In the cabin, there’s improved materials that include softer plastics, new aluminium highlights and updated switches. The centre display is again offered in 6.5- and 8-inch forms, depending on the model selected.
There are no ‘at a glance’ changes, however, with the current model’s broad steering wheel, dash and centre console shape all carrying over into the new year.
Under the skin, BMW says it has gifted the refreshed 3 Series sedan and Touring wagon with a retuned suspension package and stiffer springs, again depending on the model selected.
BMW promises reduced roll, improved steering precision and “unwavering” directional stability.
Headlining the updated range’s engine changes are a pair of new three-cylinder units - a first for the 3 Series - driving the entry-level 318i petrol and 316d diesel.
On the European test cycle, BMW claims fuel consumption figures of 5.1 l/100km for the three-cylinder petrol and a low 3.9 l/100km for the diesel version.
Neither will be a rocket off the line, but with official 0-100km/h times of 8.9 and 10.7 seconds respectively, the entry 3 Series models should prove respectable.
Replacing the ‘N20’ engine in the 320i, the B48 offers the same 134kW but gains a 20Nm boost to 290Nm of torque.
BMW claims a 7.2 second run to 100km/h (a 0.4 second improvement) in manual form, and fuel usage of 5.5 l/100km (down 0.4 /100km).
The 320d also gets a small boost of its own for the new model year, increasing from 135 to 140kW. WIth 400Nm of torque and an eight-speed auto, BMW promises a 0-100km/h time of 7.2 seconds.
Next along is the 325d, its four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 160kW and 450Nm, which lists fuel use at 4.6 l/100km on the Euro cycle, with a 0-100km/h time of 6.6 seconds.
The range-topping diesel 335d - available in Europe exclusively with xDrive all-wheel-drive - lists power and torque at 230kW and 630Nm.
Replacing the 328i is the 330i, powered by a 185kW and 350Nm version of the same 2.0 litre turbo four. Matched with an eight-speed auto, the 330i boasts a 0-100km/h time of 5.8 seconds.
At the head of the table is the new 340i, replacing the 335i and entering as the first BMW to feature the company’s new B58 straight-six turbocharged petrol engine.
The new 3.0 litre engine replaces the N55 that debuted in 2009, boosting outputs over the retired 335i by 15kW to 240kW and 50Nm to 450Nm.
With the eight-speed auto, the 340i lists a 0-100km/h time of 5.1 seconds - down from 5.5 seconds for its predecessor. Fuel consumption is listed at a low 6.8 l/100km.
A new 330e plug-in hybrid model will round out the range sometime next year, matching BMW's 135kW 2.0 litre petrol engine with an 80kW electric motor.
BMW claims combined power and torque numbers of 185kW and 420Nm, resulting in a sharp 0-100km/h time of 6.3 seconds.
Importantly, fuel consumption for this ultra-green offering is listed at just 2.1 l/100km, bettering the already miserly 318d model.
The 330e will also offer the ability to travel up to 35 kilometres on electric power alone.
Australian specifications and timing is still to be revealed, although a second-half 2015 launch is expected.
It is also believed that at least one of the three-cylinder models - likely the 100kW/220Nm petrol unit - will make its way to Australia for the entry-level end of the 3 Series range.
Likewise, the shape of the current line-up suggests we can expect the 320i, 330i and 340i models to come to Australia, along with the 320d or 325d.
BMW Australia has confirmed with TMR today that it expects to reveal pricing and model details in the next one to two months.