Updated BMW 3 Series – 2016 Model

2016 BMW 3 SeriesBilled as a mid-cycle refresh, the latest announced changes from BMW are actually a little more extensive than the usual spit and polish approach to bodywork thats commonplace for the these things. It looks like (and I’m really hoping it’s true) they’ve listened to complaints around the crap steering and not up to par sportiness of the current generation with updated components and setup to address those areas.

2016 BMW 3 Series Front

And the other big news is the appearance of the 340i – replacing the 335i at the top of the none-M badged models. 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 replaces the N55 powered 335i and tops the 3 Series line-up. It produced a maximum power of 320 hp between 5,500 and 6,500 rpm, a 20 hp improvements 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. 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.

2016 3 Series BMW interior

Although BMW still offer a manual option (at least on the non-diesel versions), the default choice is not the 8-speed automatic, meaning gone are the days of getting your BMW with manual for a couple of grand cheaper than the auto – it’s now a no-cost option (but we should be grateful it’s still there on the list – there’s lots of manufacturers just killing this option altogether over here).

2016 3 series BMW estate station wagon

Some of the specific changes for the updated suspension 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. It’ll definitely be interested to hear the autopress comments when they get their hands on one.

3 series rear new 2016
There’s also a track handling package available. 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. Variable steering of any kind scares the crap out of me (have you ever read a decent review of such a system for a performance car?) so not quite sure why that would be a key part of the track package. But I guess we’ll see.

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There’s also a few minor changes for exterior and interior designs, all seem nice enhancements (like automatically getting what was previously the Sportline option as standard on the 328i, 328d and 340i models). And the now obligatory announcement that the line will include a plug-in hybrid coming out in 2016, with a 22 mile electric only range when needed (handy for avoiding the congestion charge in London!).

New M3 Spy Shots Appear

Rumored to be lower in weight (finally!) and still using a straight six, although this time with a couple of turbo’s bolted on, Car and Driver has some spy shots of the new M3. I’m sure the news will continue to leak until all the official details are out – I’m hoping it reverses the trend of recent M incarnations and gets things back to real driver focused cars, rather than a glorified marketing exercise with lots of power and little feel (I’m looking at you M5). We’ll see.

BMW 4 Series

It looks like BMW has decided having a 3 series sedan, coupe and convertible is a little bit too much, and someone came up with the “great” idea of creating a 4 series. Details are a little sparse currently, with a full press release promised for the Detroit Motor Show in January. It does look better than the last 3 series coupe – I had a hard time with that one (and especially the M3 version which apart from a carbon roof and an engine bulge didn’t look very different to the base model) as it just seemed a little chunky and ill-defined. I guess the big question now is whether or not this signals the end of the M3? The sedan version of the sportiest model has always been an option (in again, out again), so if it misses out this time, we might  only have an M4? I’m sure BMW will answer this, and the price and performance questions in good time.

BMW M3 DTM Champion Edition Model

Before any of the US readers get too exited, it’s not coming over here…….

In traditional fashion, BMW is releasing a special edition before the end of the current M3 run, this one to celebrate winning the German Touring Car series on it’s return to the competition this year. Main changes to the car are cosmetic, with the matte black paint, M Sport Racing stripes, and few stickers here and there on the outside, and the inside getting a carbon and alacantra going over. 

From what I can tell there are no performance upgrades, although the base price (of 99,000 Euros!!!!) does include the competition package. Given there’s only 54 of these things being produced, and it may be the last non-turbo M Car for ever (or at least the foreseeable future), it’s high on the likelihood of becoming a collectible at some point in the relatively near future. So, if you want one, and you live somewhere other than the US, you better get down to your local BMW garage quick sharpish to put your name on the list. 

All New BMW 3-Series

BMW took the wraps off the new 3 series today, announcing all turbo charged engines, and, despite being bigger, better fule efficiency across the board. Evo have a lot more details over on their site, including expected prices for the UK. Availability of the new M3 (which is the one that gets me most excited) isn’t announced yet, but the chances of it coming anytime in the next 12 months are slim to non-existent if past model releases are anything to go by. (official press release is here if you’re into that sort of thing)