BMW has confirmed details of its new 2015 3 Series, which has received new three-, four- and six-cylinder engines and an updated exterior. The new turbocharged units all come from BMW’s EfficientDynamics engine family, and increase efficiency by as much as 11 per cent across the range.
The new 3 Series’ facelift appears to have been applied with the lightest of brushes, with the 2015 car receiving just a few minor detail changes. These largely comprise new LED lights - that now extend to touch the outsides of the kidney grilles - all red taillights, and small bumper tweaks. As a result, the new car is exactly the same width and height as the old model, though the new bumpers have extended its length by 9mm.
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Inside, the interior now uses new materials and features an updated satnav with 3D graphics. Also included is a full colour HUD and mobile connectivity, which allows updates for the satnav’s software to download automatically. Driving aids include a Parking Assistant auto park function and front parking sensors.
Key arrivals in the engine line up include the 134bhp three-cylinder 318i, which BMW claims is capable of producing 126g/km of CO2 and 55.4mpg combined. The carmaker also says its new 320d EfficientDynamics Edition emits as little as 99g/km of CO2 and offers as much as 74.3mpg combined, with a 161bhp output that enables a 7.8sec 0-62 time. That car is now also available in Sport trim, from £30,205.
But it’s the 340i, pictured in Sport Line form, that will likely appeal most to evo’s readers. The new turbocharged 3-litre straight-six produces 322bhp at 5500rpm-6500rpm and 332lb ft of torque at 1380-5000rpm, enabling the 340i saloon to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 5.2sec with the standard six-speed manual gearbox in rear-wheel drive spec. This time shortens to 5.1sec for eight-speed auto cars (Touring estates come exclusively with this gearbox), and 4.9sec for auto cars equipped with xDrive four-wheel drive.
Interestingly, it’s a diesel that offers the most potent performance, because the 335d - a turbocharged 3-litre straight-six - produces 309bhp at 4400rpm and a substantial 465lb ft of torque between 1500 and 2500rpm. This allows it to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 4.8sec, and like the 340i, it’s limited to 155mph. It also emits a claimed 143g/km of CO2 and can manage 52.3mpg combined.
The 335d only comes available with the eight-speed auto and xDrive, however, so despite its range-topping performance, the 340i should still be the most tempting offering for enthusiastic drivers.
Updates to both the six-speed manual and eight-speed auto include auto-blips on downshifts, while the latter transmission can now switch down multiple gears in one go. The 3 Series also comes with a coast function, which cuts fuel when drivers are off the throttle to further boost efficiency.
The outgoing model impressed us so much that we labelled it as ‘the most entertaining drivers’ car in its segment,’ but we did concede that it wasn’t quite as focused and sharp as previous generations. BMW appears to have taken note, because it says that the 2015 car has received further developed dampers, stiffer suspension and more precise steering.
evo is set to drive the new BMW 3 Series saloon and Touring later this month. Pricing for the 3 Series range starts from £24,255, for the 316i saloon in ES trim.