By on October 14, 2011

Today, at 4pm in Munich, the sixth generation 3 series was launched to the press. Usually, this happens in an exotic place. Today, BMW picked a super-exotic place: Its plant in Munich. More than 10,000 people work here, and the launch in the factory was meant to underscore how important BMW’s volume model is in keeping the 10,000 employed.

First to see the daylight was a 320d, followed by a  328i, bunches of additional 320d, a 328i, a 330i, and finally a 335i. You’ll see lots of pictures after the jump …

The sports sedan features a full-color heads-up display, all engines come with the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and can be combined with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

According to BMW, “the pioneering history of the 3 Series serves as inspiration for the new sports sedan, whose powerful styling represents a fresh interpretation and conscientious development of traditional BMW design cues. The new BMW face, with flat headlights reaching along as far as the BMW kidney grille, emphasizes the elegantly dynamic design of the new BMW 3 Series.” For the rest of the 65 page press package, click here.

The car will be available in 3 equipments lines at all dealers around the world on February 11, 2012. An M sport package will follow in Summer 2012.

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55 Comments on “BMW Launches New 3 Series (Now With Lots Of Pictures)...”

  • avatar

    Already seen the pics on another site, looks pretty good, but the drivetrains seem the most promising… May be enough to drop me into the BMW owner’s club, if the 335i is any good at least.

  • avatar
    Charles T

    If this picture is accurate, it looks like they’re returning to the “one wurst, three sizes” design approach that the Bangle Era tried so hard to move away from. Plus que ca change.

  • avatar

    What’s with the dropped snout? It looks like it’s about to sneeze. Or like they grated a Z4 fascia onto an otherwise coherent sedan body.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, in profile, that nose looks weird. It droops like it’s furrowing its brow and sneering at those who aren’t as fortunate (snicker) to have a leased 3 as well.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    “Drive and chassis technology have always been key areas of expertise for the brand, and agility and driving dynamics remain outstanding attributes of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The new car belies its larger dimensions with an equipment equalized curb weight 88 lb (40 kilograms) below that of its predecessor.”

    So… it weighs a ton more, right? If so, not interested. If they actually did manage to keep the weight down, I’m probably in for a 328i.

  • avatar

    A BMW 3 class?
    A good car? Yeah – whatever.
    Those were cool back when REM was.

  • avatar

    I really like the 5-series esque back of this car, but that angry-droopy front just isn’t doing it for me (I’d rather have the concept illustration at the top of this page). It’s a better looker than the E90, but isn’t as distinct as any of the other previous 3’s.

    The fact that it’s bigger is I guess inevitable, but I was hoping it wouldn’t go that route. Must be the Euro in me, but I prefer my sedans as compact as possible while still functional….probably why I’m a fan on the 1 (just wish we had the hatch here).

  • avatar

    I just posted something similar on Jalopnik, but I can’t help myself: Just accept that this is really what a 5 Series used to be. And it that regard, it’s really a great car. The 5 is now too big and cushy, but that’s because it’s what a 7 used to be.

    The 1 Series is like an old 3. It’s just too bad that it doesn’t look so great (that droopy side thing and tall sides really bug me). I don’t think the 1 sells nearly as well as the 3 because it’s not that much cheaper, and the 3 is really where the heart of the market is – people like that size, and can live with it for most of their needs. Today’s 1 is “too small” for most, and probably sells closer to the volume of the 3 of many years ago.

    BMW should just shift all the badges down the line, and use the “9” badge for today’s 7.

  • avatar

    Does it go into limp mode if you look at it wrong on a warm day like the current 135 and 335?

  • avatar

    Wow, the current one is hardly old, and here’s a new one. Hopefully they’ll concentrate on fixing bugs this time around, rather than adding more new unproven and potentially unreliable thingamajig.

    • 0 avatar

      Current generation is from 2006. Not all that new. I generally like the look. From the side it is nearly the same. Back is improved, front is so-so.

      My 328xi has been rock solid. If the normally aspirated 3.0L straight six is gone, that’s too bad, and a mistake in my book. It’s a great little engine, and with its magnesium-aluminum based alloy block, the lightest six cylinder engine out there. But that alloy can’t handle the turbo heat, and wasn’t used in the 335.

      • 0 avatar

        Limiting engine choices to cutting edge, hyper complex turbos, sounds like a surefire way to become even more dependent on leases than they already are. The only bimmers I’d consider buying, are the NAs with their manuals. All proven technology. The turbos are fun to lease, though.

        A personal theory of mine, is that at leas some of the “poor mileage” from the 328, is that it is a 3 liter tuned by the marketing people to respond like 2.5-2.8. An optimized for efficiency 2.5 I6 would likely be just as derivable, and give better mileage. Marketing and positioning people are generally not the best engine tuners.

      • 0 avatar


        Na-ah. In Europe there used to be a 2.5 I6 in the E90 325i (and some other models) that eventually got replaced by a version of the downtuned 3.0 with the same power and a bit more torque at lower revs. The 3.0 is significantly more easy on the juice.

        In fact IIRC in the original Z4 the then 231HP (euro figures) 3.0 was in fact rated at marginally better fuel consumption figures than the 192HP 2.5.

  • avatar

    Wow. Just going off of the photo above, do I see some Volvo S40 in there?

  • avatar

    BMW ran out of design ideas and re-badged an Audi A4.

  • avatar

    Yeah, above speculative photo from some German mag is not how the car looks in official photos, hint: grille area

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Larger again following Audi A4 lead to make room for BMW 1xx grew as well. On real photos rear quarter looks like Cruze that was made to look like BMW 3. I will sell masivly in North Jersey.

  • avatar

    With that color the front looks like a…bowtie?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Bulbous hood and derivative 5 Series tail end. OK but not anywhere near exciting. If you didn’t know your BMWs, you probably couldn’t tell the interior of this one apart from the previous. I guess the real news will be in the powertrain.

    “Schoner, Scharfer, Sparsamer” Who says German isn’t a beautiful language?

    • 0 avatar

      Seconded. I’m actually fine with the side and rear three-quarter profiles, but that schnoz is hard to love. Audi’s set the bar here. BMW continues to lag, though it’s arguably better than the dated angularity Mercedes continues to pursue.

    • 0 avatar

      “Schoner, Scharfer, Sparsamer”
      Almost as good as:
      Sorry Bertel.

  • avatar

    The power/torque specifications on the 328i make the 335i seem unnecessary.
    ETA: I’d still like to see a 328d or a 335d.

  • avatar

    Not bad, but not a vast improvement over the current generation. My only concern is the grill(s) seem to have gotten rather large on this one compared to previous generations of the 3 series. In my primitive brain where I always identify the front of a car with a face, it really does look like it has a big schnoz with flared nostrils.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    A new 3 series. Yawn. Here are predictions:

    It will be the same size as the 1990 7er, but 300 lbs heavier.

    There won’t be one on a US dealers lot with an MSRP of less than $60 K. But, they will have a special 3 year lease deal for $489/mo.

    It will suffer a breakdown every 3 months or 2000 Km, whichever is first. The dealer will have to re-flash the software, but towing will not be under warranty.

    Every fanboi and Buff book will declare it to be the best car ever.

    I will never own or drive one.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the increased size of the 3. It is now about as big as the 5 used to be. The pre E90 3s were just to small for “real ‘mericuns” and their/our McD fed children. Assuming they still tune it to drive like a 3, what’s not to like? The 5 has always been tuned more for straight like comfort, and less for agility. And there’s always the 1, for those who pine for 911 sized rear seats and edgier handling.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Considering how well the E36, E46, and E90 sold in the US market I doubt that their small size turned off many prospective buyers.

        I’ve driven 250 miles in my E46 sedan with my dad and 2 friends, all of whom are within a couple inches under or over 6 feet. No one was uncomfortable and we all commented how surprisingly big the little car was inside. Granted we didn’t have the stretch out room of a modern 195 inch long D-segment sedan but it wasn’t unreasonable by any means.

  • avatar

    An improvement over the current model, but God how I miss the E46. This last decade of forced, ugly designs have been such a missed opportunity for BMW.

  • avatar

    Apre le Bangle, fastidious evolution. Should we be surprised?

  • avatar

    Most importantly (!) they fixed the issue of the delicate cup holders that came out of the dash above your passengers knees.

  • avatar

    Look, it has real cupholders.

    I wonder if it has a real oil dipstick tube, and a real place to put a spare tire so the run flats can be ditched? And maybe if/when the battery needs replaced I can go to Autozone and get an off the shelf battery and put in, I would consider a BMW.

    Assuming, as long as I didn’t look at it wrong on a sunny day the motor wouldn’t go into limp mode for some reason.

    Too bad BMW can’t just design a vehicle to the 80% point, and outsource the rest of the design to Lexus such as for the electrical, fuel pumps and injectors, spare tire, and other miscellaneous items.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      The reasons you listed above are why I will probably buy an Infiniti product like a G sedan or coupe or maybe even a Lexus IS when it’s no longer feasible to keep my E46 BMW on the road. The E46 was the last BMW product that had all those features.

  • avatar

    Are the diesels coming to North America? I’d sure take a hard look at the 320d if it was available…..

  • avatar

    I wish BMW would just get rid of the pixelated red display. That’s one of the many reasons I didn’t really consider the 335i when shopping for a lux car. They’re attractive vehicles and drive really well, but between the spartan (looking) interiors and the social baggage, it’s hard for me to actually consider a BMW.

    • 0 avatar

      Those displays are black panel. Can display at least 256 colors, hardly pixellated, and only turn red when the headlights are on. It’s not 2006 anymore.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m talking about the AC control screen. It’s 2011, and unfortunately, BMW has used that same display well prior to 2006. It looks very dated compared to other cars in its class.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree. What you perceive to be dated-looking, I perceive to be technical-looking. There is an heirloom quality to the signature red-matrix display, and I wish more automakers would use it. The display is highly legible and reliable. What I also like about it, is that the display also defends against the annoying ‘dumb-it-down’ bandwagon that most of the interior/instrumentation designers are on lately. I hate when they make everything look toy-like.

  • avatar

    Sorry what? Burying the headline?

    The writeup about equipment lines being available worldwide is unclear. If the 320d is coming to North America, I may not actually buy a Golf TDI and chipping the snot out of it.

  • avatar

    that 320d sounds fantastic. i’m glad that BMW used the front end of the Z4 instead of the 5-Series GT (please see the new 1-Series for that hot mess)

  • avatar

    I hope we get updated on the 128i…

  • avatar

    If I’m going to spend my hard earned money on a rear wheel drive 2 liter turbo-4 coupe I’m going buy it from an established player in that market like Hyundai.

  • avatar

    When’s the convertible version coming out? Will it have enough room for a couple of your friends in the back, a wind deflector so all four can enjoy the scenery, better reliability and structure than a VW Eos, and still have the slash-proof roof?

    OK, I just read the press release. “Following over time in the tyre tracks of the Sedan”. Serves me right for asking.

  • avatar

    Have they figured out to build window regulators that last more than few years yet? Three of four on E46 failed in the part four years.

  • avatar

    Not bad looking and a fairly clean design from what I could detect in the smallish photos.

    That front end looks really low and WIDE and looks kind of like someone took the photo and stretched it sideways. The headlight treatment isn’t as blinged out as their bigger siblings, which is nice but the front with its stretched out smooth headlight housings I don’t think work as well with the traditional BMW grill.

    Looks like they are returning to what is more like the older 80’s-90’s era BMW aesthetic than what’s been offered in recent years.

    Speaking of, saw an older 325i 2 door coupe yesterday, I’m saying, no newer than the mid 90’s on the freeway coming home. It was bright red and looked to be in very nice shape too.

  • avatar

    Don’t like it. Ugly, droopy nose.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    As an E39 owner who has hated just about everything BMW has done in the past 8 years, I’ll give it a B+. Shame about those Run Flat Tires. Again. Still.

  • avatar

    The exterior is design isn’t a great departure from the current model with the exceptions of a Z4 snout and a 5 series rear end – but its not bad. I’m happy to see the interior is still driver focused and devoid of the proliferation of buttons that some manufacturers seem to have indulged in. I guess the big news is that entry level engine is all you’ll ever need. Like the on the E36 323 -> 328, the engine upgrade just doesn’t appear to be worth the money.

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