Cars Coming Soon: 2012 BMW 3 Series (Including New M3!)

Instead of waiting for the next major auto show like a good little carmaker, BMW has decided an independent reveal (on its Facebook page, no less) would be the best way to handle the introduction of the all-new 2012 3 Series.

Is the new car worthy of the spotlight-hogging attention ploy?

By all indications, absolutely.

The newest 3 Series receives new cabin technology and boasts a new engine option, but lacks a diesel version for U.S. consumption. Instead, BMW announced a hybrid version on the way. Man, I hate to see that…

Otherwise, the new 3 Series should be about as close to perfection as cars get these days. As often happens with model updates, the 3 Series gets larger, increasing length by 3.6 inches. At the same time, though, overall weight was brought down by 88 pounds to keep the traditional 50/50 weight distribution.

Keep reading for a quick look at the latest goodies and performance numbers of the 6th generation 3 Series.

Interior

BMW announced all sorts of new driver distraction assistance features, including a full-color head-up display, which will show navigation and current speed in addition to the speed limit on the current road, and whether passing is allowed. Other features will include adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings and surround-view cameras. Frankly, this is all stuff I could do without. Lane-departure system? The stripes in the road work just fine for me.

Exterior

The looks are inspired by the larger BMW 5 Series. Not much else to say on the topic, except it works exceptionally well and looks just like Bimmer’s top selling car should.

Engines

This gets interesting. Evo has a full run-down of all Euro-spec engines, but the U.S. should see a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine powering the 335i. The 328i will feature BMW’s new twin-turbo 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. With 245 horsepower, that smaller engine gets the 328i to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds. Pretty compelling reason to go for the smaller 4-banger, no?

What about the M3, you ask? Rest assured BMW won’t let us down! In fact, the latest M has been caught testing at the Nurburgring and could come with either a turbo-charged inline 6 or a new V6 putting out somewhere in the neighborhood of 450-hp.

That should be enough to make any of us forget about the lack of a diesel pretty darn quick. But will the new 3 Series be enough to head off Lexus and Mercedes-Benz to give BMW the lead in U.S. luxury sales?

BMW expects nothing less.

Is the BMW 3 Series still the car to beat, or will Lexus, Mercedes-Benz or even Jaguar build a better car?

-tgriffith

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2 Comments

  1. I guess BMW needs to have hybrids to buck up their dismal CAFE ratings. Perhaps they should simply start advertising “BMW means performance and engineering. If you want efficiency, buy a Hyundai” and take it up whatever hole the Feds decide to use on them.

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