Saturday, November 19, 2011

BMW 3-series (2012)

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BMW 3-series (2012): our comprehensive guide to F30

By Ben Barry
First Official Pictures
17 November 2011 09:54
BMW has sold 12 million 3-series models since 1975; it’s an important car, one that accounts for a third of global BMW sales. The sixth-generation, codenamed F30, has a lot to live up to, then. Here are the key changes:


The F30 is still, of course, rear-wheel drive, has 50:50 weight distribution, and sticks with the MacPherson strut front/multi-link rear suspension layout of its predecessors rather than following the double-wishbone front suspension employed by the new F10 5-series. The suspension is, however, much tweaked, and the chassis itself is all-new.
Four-wheel drive will be offered on right-hand drive cars for the first time (you could get a four-wheel drive E30 3-series back in the 1980s!), and, while the previous-generation M3 was the only 3-series to get a limited-slip differential, the new lesser Threes get an LSD-mimicking electronic diff – accelerate out of a hairpin and it will subtly brake the unloaded inside wheel to stop it spinning away power.

Ring the changes

We’ve already mentioned the optional four-wheel drive, but there’s more new stuff too: an eight-speed auto will be offered across the range; there’ll be a high-performance 335i hybrid; stop-start is standard; and there’s a Drive Performance Control to offer a choice of four driving modes, from Eco Pro to Sport+.
But perhaps the biggest shift is reserved for the 328i. Cast your mind back to the E36-generation of the 1990s and you might remember a 320i – most people would have guessed it was a four-cylinder, when in fact it was a silky smooth six. The new 328i pulls the opposite trick: that badging has previously been appended to six-cylinder BMWs, but now it’s a downsized turbocharged four. It makes 242bhp and 258lb ft, while delivering 44.1mpg and emitting 149g/km.

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