October 29, 2004 BMW has released details of its all-new BMW 3 Series. To be shown for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show next March, the E90 3 Series is will go on sale in mid-2005. The E90 3 Series adds an armoury of impressive, innovative improvements for engine, chassis, safety technology as well as driving comfort.
Three new engines.
The new BMW 3 Series comes with three engine options: two all-new six-cylinder engines and an optimised iteration of the famous 2.0-litre four-cylinder slots into the 320i entry model.
Six-cylinder with extra-light magnesium crankcase.
The all-new 3.0-litre R6 straight-six cylinder fitted to the top-of-the-range BMW 330i offers190 kW, with torque at 300 Nm between 2,500 and 4,000 rpm. The new R6 is the most powerful and lightest six-cylinder engine in its segment.
To minimise weight, BMW has employed magnesium for the first time in large-scale series production, achieving a substantial 30 percent weight saving compared with an all aluminium alloy engine. Magnesium is used for the crankcase, the crankshaft bearings, and on the cylinder head cover.
Maximising the weight saving and boosting performance across the rev range is BMW's Valvetronic infinitely-variable intake valve control. This technology is teamed with the long-standing BMW double-VANOS variable camshaft adjustment on both inlet and exhaust valves.
The combination of VALVETRONIC and double-VANOS spurs the new BMW 330i from 0-100 km/h in a very impressive 6.3 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h. Despite this remarkable performance from a compact sedan, fuel consumption is a meagre 8.7-ltr/100 km on the composite EU cycle.
Its new engine produces 160 kW at 6,500 rpm thanks to VALVETRONIC and double-VANOS technology, with maximum torque of 250 Nm available between 2,750 and 4,250 rpm. The BMW 325i accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 7.1 seconds with a top speed of 245 km/h. The BMW 325i uses just 8.3 ltr/100 km on the combined EU cycle.
BMW 320i powered by high-output four-cylinder.
The BMW 320i picks up a newly optimised version of the advanced VALVETRONIC-equipped 2.0-litre four-cylinder, previously available on the E46 318i.
The E90 320i engine, equipped with double-VANOS variable camshaft adjustment, delivers maximum output of 110 kW at 6,200 rpm, with maximum torque of 200 Nm at 3,600 rpm.
Thus equipped, the new BMW 320i can accelerate to 100 km/h from rest in just 9.0 seconds and has a top speed of 220 km/h. Fuel consumption in the EU combined cycle is 7.4 ltr/100 km.
These improvements over the previous engine, already acknowledged as a genuinely smooth and powerful performer, are attributable to the optimisation of both the intake manifold and exhaust system.
Six-speed transmissions on all models.
The 320i and 325i models will come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox and the option of a six-speed automatic transmission. The 330i will be available as standard with the automatic transmission. An extra gear, closer increments and wider overall spread of ratios allow the driver to extract the most from these engines, particularly at step-off.
The new BMW 3 Series is even more dynamic on the road, accelerating faster than before and achieving a higher top speed, while consuming less fuel and thus producing fewer emissions.
Push to start.
The new BMW 3 Series gains a unique feature for this class of premium sport sedan, a Start/Stop push button combined with the Comfort Start function. The driver simply presses the starter button in order to fire the engine. All other operations then continue automatically without any further intervention.
Top-of-the-range technology for enhanced driving dynamics.
Reflecting its mighty heritage, the new BMW 3 Series is replete with classic BMW characteristics; a longitudinally-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive, and perfect axle load distribution of 50:50, combining to deliver superior all-round dynamic agility.
The newly developed double-joint front axle is all-aluminium, ensuring optimum balance of driving dynamics and motoring comfort. Further, optimised directional stability is assured thanks to a stiff, strong and light front axle.
The five-link rear axle made of lightweight steel, in turn, ensures supreme agility and dynamic handling at all times. Further advantages are precise wheel guidance and very good roll comfort.
Active steering: unique in this segment.
A unique feature available for the first time in this segment is BMW's active steering, to be offered as an option on six-cylinder models. Active steering provides a more direct transmission ratio at low speeds and an indirect ratio at higher speeds, thus solving the conflict of interest between agility, stability, and comfort, which conventional steering simply cannot offer.
BMW active steering is enhanced for the new 3 Series by an additional feature particularly important in everyday motoring in poor conditions. When the driver applies the brakes on surfaces with varying frictional coefficients such as icy patches, snow and asphalt, active steering - actively intervening in the steering control - stabilises the car more quickly and more precisely than a 'regular' motorist would ever be able to do.
BMW's DSC Dynamic Stability Control appears in its latest generation to provide safety of the highest standard. On the six-cylinder models DSC is enhanced with useful functions such as dry-braking of the brake discs on wet roads, Brake Standby with the brakes being alerted by pre-aligning the brake linings, a Start-Off Assistant preventing the car from rolling back when setting off on a gradient, as well as anti-dive control when applying the brakes slowly.
As a result of all these features and improvements, BMW's sports saloon is once again increasing its leadership in driving dynamics, an area in which it has always excelled.
With its design language, the new BMW 3 Series is a unique, self-confident contender clearly expressing its qualities as a dynamic and elegant sports sedan.
Positioned at the epicentre of BMW's modern design spectrum, the new 3 Series harmonises the body design of the BMW Z4 and the BMW 1 Series with the elegance of the 5 and 7 Series. Characteristic features are the short overhangs, the greenhouse pushed to the rear, and the long bonnet.
The BMW 3 Series is noticeably larger inside and out. The interior is bright, spacious and generous reflecting the lifestyle of its target group.
At 4,520 mm, the body of the new BMW E90 3 Series is 49 mm longer than the E46 3 Series it replaces. At 1,817 mm it is 78 mm wider and 6 mm higher at 1,421 mm. The wheelbase is stretched 35 mm to 2,760 mm.
Body: Lighter, stiffer, safer.
Stiffer and lighter than before, the bodyshell of the new BMW 3 Series benefits from lightweight engineering via latest-generation steel and moulding technologies. A new joint and crossbar design for the car's load-bearing structure increases body stiffness by 25 per cent, with no weight gain over the E46.
Side impact protection: The safest 3 Series yet.
The new BMW 3 Series is designed to achieve best results in the EuroNCAP crash test. It is also one of the first cars in the world fully prepared for the extremely demanding side-impact requirements in the USA as well as the US high-speed rear impact test.
In addition to optimised belt systems, the passenger safety system comes as standard with six airbags: front airbags for the driver and front passenger, hip/thorax airbags, and curtain head airbags.
Proven technology for extra safety.
While dual halogen headlights are standard, customers may select bi-xenon headlights with or without an adaptive light function as an option. Dynamically adjusting the position of the headlights in an infinite process, the bi-xenon headlights with adaptive headlight function ensure perfect illumination of the road ahead geared to current driving requirements.
The result is much better visibility for the driver. This pays off particularly in bends, where the headlights dynamically follow the course of the road, to quite literally guide the driver along.
Featured as standard, two-stage Brake Force Display enlarges the brake light area as soon as the driver pushes hard on the brake pedal or when ABS cuts in. Drivers following will instantly recognise this as an indication of emergency braking, giving them vital extra seconds in which to react.
The new BMW 3 Series also comes as standard with runflat tyres enabling the car to continue for up to 250 km after a puncture at a speed of up to 80 km/h without destroying the tyre or the rim.
Clever solutions inside the car - premium class space and comfort.
The interior of the new BMW 3 Series is modern and harmonious, the luxurious ambience reflecting a sense of controlled dynamism and lightness. The interior conveys the twin 3 Series strengths of luxury and sports driving.
As with all BMW cars, the cockpit is clearly structured and driver-oriented. The driver zone conveys important information with optimum clarity. The centre section serves as the comfort zone within perfect reach of the driver and front passenger.
Combining high information density with ease of control.
Superior ergonomics means controlling important features such as the air conditioning and radio is easy, convenient and safe. Complex systems with high information density are controlled via iDrive, where optioned together with satellite navigation. This option includes a bespoke binnacle in the middle of the instrument panel. The controller enables the driver to select the various functions and navigate through the individual menus.
With iDrive eliminating the conventional array of buttons and knobs in the cockpit, Comfort Access, available as an option, renders the conventional ignition key a thing of the past.
A transmitter referred to as the ID Sensor enables the owner to enter the car and start the engine without even touching the key. And in conjunction with Key Memory, the ID Sensor recalls the seat position, mirrors, automatic air conditioning and radio tuning settings used on the driver's last journey.
Ultra-fast cooling and heating.
Conceived for maximum comfort and ease of control, the air conditioning in the new BMW 3 Series ensures exceptionally fast cooling and heating. A full multi-zone climate system is offered, enhanced by an optimised, automatic anti-mist function.
Luxury class infotainment systems.
The wide range of information and entertainment features in the new BMW 3 Series employ DVD data systems, allowing drivers the choice of either the Business or Professional navigation units, available as options.
Also optional is the Professional Logic7 HiFi system that provides in-car surround sound.