The 2015 BMW 3-series features a number of upgrades, including new engines … –

Posted: Friday, July 17, 2015

There’s a defensiveness when I ask about the main changes for this
mid-cycle revamp of BMW’s sixth-generation
New bumpers is motoring journalists’ shorthand for a completely
pointless revision, aimed at parting customers from hard-earned cash
(or fleet allocation) much like selling kids away-football strips for
their favourite teams.

“But it’s a sportier looking car,” whined Christian Voigt, product
manager of BMW’s 3-series, explaining that the new air intakes, LED
headlamps and grille accentuate the width and low stance without a
single change in the sheet metal. Well, make your own mind up, there.

It’s equally small beer in the cabin, but more noticeable even if
one of the highlighted changes is a new lid for the cup holders.
There’s cogency about the design improvements, however, particularly
the chromium highlights and ambient lighting.

The engines are mostly new and from BMW’s family of modular units
displacing 500cc per piston. The 3-series gets the three-cylinder
engine from the Mini in the starter
model 318i, there are also mighty diesels such as the 308bhp/464lb ft
335d £40,330 range topper.

Such cars are academic, though, when in the all-important fleets,
the only models sold are 2.0-litre diesels, either the 187bhp/295lb ft
320d at £29,785, or the 320D ED Plus, which emits 99g/km of CO2,
delivers 72.4mpg in the Combined cycle and costs £30,485. Arriving
next year will be a plug-in hybrid offering 49g/km CO2 output and 22
miles of electric-only driving.

You might have expected those diesels to muster among the cars
offered for us to drive at the Munich-based launch, but no. Instead we
were offered the £38,125 340i, a 326bhp, straight-six cylinder,
petrol-powered road burner with the new twin-scroll turbocharger and
water-to-water intercooling giving 326bhp, 41.5mpg and a claimed
faster throttle response. Nice spec, but it’ll be as rare as hen’s
teeth in the UK.

Suspension changes for the new car are subtle, but significant, with
new rebound springs in the dampers and a five-bolt (that’s one extra)
fixing for the strengthened top mounts of the front MacPherson struts.
Springs and damper settings are titivated and the bypass valve in the
optional adaptive dynamics package has been heavily revised. 


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