This is our first view of the BMW 3-Series’s forthcoming facelift. The company has ticked off most of the familiar mid-term revision checklist, and the 3-Series will get beefier looks, greener engines and the option of a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission.
Styling revisions include fresh front and rear styling that picks up on the themes seen on BMW’s recently unveiled fifth-generation 7-series.
Up front, the car gets a heavily profiled bumper, newly contoured bonnet and reworked headlamps with altered graphics. At the rear there are new tail lamps with a revised bumper. According to BMW’s design boss, Adrian van Hooydonk, the changes are intended to emphasise the car’s width.
The biggest mechanical change is the introduction of BMW’s seven-speed dual clutch transmission, launched in the M3 cabriolet. The 318d also gets the option of a new six-speed automatic.
The facelifted 3-series also sees the introduction of BMW’s new ‘BluePerformance’ brand - the firm’s equivalent to Mercedes’ BlueTec. The first BluePerfomance car will be a 330d fitted with a NOx trap, which will meet the forthcoming EU6 emissions regulations, not due until 2011. All other engines are carried over from the current car.
Suspension and brakes are the same as in the current BMW 3-series, but the rear track on the six-cylinder cars has been widened by 24mm.
Inside, the iDrive controller gets four selection buttons to reduce the complexity of its operation and there’s a new, larger colour monitor. In-car internet access will also be available as part of BMW’s new ConnectDrive technology, which will also be seen in the new 7-Series.
The revised 3-Series will go on sale in the UK later this year. Prices and exact specs will be revealed nearer to its launch date.