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BMW 3 Series

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A series of vehicles produced by BMW since 1975. Cars in the 3 Series have specific model names beginning with a 3 and followed by two digits that usually (but not always) refers to engine displacement.

Chassis designation E21: First generation (1975–1981)
Chassis designation E30: Second generation (1982–1990)
Chassis designation E36: Third generation (1991–1998)
Chassis designation E46: Fourth generation (1998–2006)
Chassis designation E90: Fifth generation (2005–2013)
Chassis designation F30: Sixth generation (2012–____)

The 3 Series includes the specific models 318i, 320d, 320i, 323i, 325i, 325xi, 328i, 330i, 330xi, 335i, and 340i.


History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's BMW 3 Series page on 23 February 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The BMW 3 Series is a compact executive car manufactured by the German automaker BMW since May 1975. It is the successor to the 2-door sedan models of the BMW New Class and has been produced in six different generations.

Initially, the 3 Series was only available as a 2-door sedan, however the model range has since expanded to include a 4-door sedan, 2-door convertible, 5-door touring and 5-door hatchback body styles. In 2013, the coupe-based models started to be badged as 4 Series, therefore the model range no longer includes coupe and convertible body styles.

The 3 Series is BMW's best-selling model, accounting for around 30% of the BMW brand's annual total sales (excluding motorbikes). The BMW 3 Series has won numerous awards throughout its history.

E21, First generation, 1975–1981

The first generation was a two-door saloon model only. A factory authorised cabrio version was also built by Baur.

The cockpit design of the E21 marked the introduction of a new design concept for BMW, with the center console angled towards the driver. This feature has become part of BMW’s interior design philosophy for many years. As a sign of passive safety, all edges and control elements within the interior were rounded off and padded.

Initially, all models used the BMW M10 four-cylinder engine. In 1977, the BMW M20 six-cylinder engine was added to the lineup.

E30, Second generation, 1982–1990

The E30 was sold from 1982 through 1991 in coupé form, 1983 through 1991 in saloon form, and through 1993 in convertible form. Four-cylinder and six-cylinder petrol engines were used, with a six-cylinder diesel added in 1985. In 1986, the first all-wheel drive 3-series was produced, called the 325iX. The E30's introductory price was nearly double that of the E21 just seven years earlier.

Initially released as a two-door coupé, the four-door saloon body style was added to the 3-series lineup in September 1983. In 1986, the station wagon ("touring") body style became available.

The first BMW M3 was the E30 M3 coupé, which was released in 1987 and uses the S14 four-cylinder engine. A factory authorised cabrio version was also built by Baur.

E36, Third generation, 1991–1998

The E36 was produced from 1991 - 1998. It was available with four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines, with the twin cam BMW M50 six-cylinder replacing the single-cam engine used in the E30. Rear suspension was the "Z-axle" multilink suspension, as used in the Z1.

Initial sales were the four-door saloon, with the coupé version added in 1991 and the cabriolet version in 1992. Finally, the station wagon ("touring") version was produced from 1994.

In 1993, VANOS variable valve timing was introduced on the DOHC I6 (inline 6-cylinder) engines. In 1996, the M50 six-cylinder engine was replaced by the M52 six-cylinder engine, and maximum displacement was increased from 2.5 litres to 2.8 litres.

The E36 M3 uses the S50 (or S52 in North America) six-cylinder engine and was the first M3 available as a four-door saloon.

Unlike the E30, which never made the list, for every year of its production, the E36 was named in Car and Driver Magazine's "10 Best Cars" list (see Car and Driver Ten Best)..

E46, Fourth generation, 1998–2006

The E46 was introduced in 1998 as a 1999 model, in saloon version only. In 1999, the station wagon ("touring") and coupé models were added. The convertible and M3 were released in 2000. The E46 was available with four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines. All-wheel drive was introduced as an option in 2001 (for left hand drive markets only).

In 2000, the M54 six-cylinder engine replaced the M52 and maximum displacement increased from 2.8 litres to 3.0 litres.

Also in 2000, the E46 M3 coupé was released. It uses the S54 six-cylinder engine and the option of an automated clutch SMG gearbox. In 2002, the convertible M3 became available.

The highest selling year for the E46 was 2002, when 561,249 vehicles were sold worldwide. For every year of its production, the E46 was named in Car and Driver Magazine's "10 Best Cars" list (see Car and Driver Ten Best).

E90, Fifth generation, 2005–2013

The fifth generation 3 Series debuted as a sedan (E90) and convertible (E91) in March 2005, while the coupé (E92) and a retractable hard-top convertible (E93) went on sale in August 2006 as 2007 models. The coupé/cabriolet body was now its own design and no longer derived from the saloon/touring (unlike its predecessors). The retractable hard-top convertible, meanwhile, was a first for the 3 Series.

The E90 was available with four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines, and the E92 M3 used a V8 engine. The first turbocharged petrol 3-series was the E92 335i, which uses the BMW N54 straight-six. The N52 naturally aspirated inline-six engine features a lightweight magnesium/aluminum construction, electric water pump, and Valvetronic variable valve lift. In 2007, a record total of more than 550,000 vehicles were sold and it was the seventh most popular car in the United Kingdom.

The 335i models using the N54 3.0 Liter twin-turbo engine notably had issues in the US with the high pressure fuel pump (HPFP), which many owners had to replace due to failure. BMW eventually issued a recall on the HPFP for replacement.

F30, Sixth generation, 2012–

The F30 debuted on 14 October 2011 in Munich and went on sale in February 2012. The first model to be produced was the saloon (F30), which was followed by the Touring (F31) in May 2012 and Gran Turismo (F34) in June 2013, a smaller variant of the 5 Series GT hatchback. 3 Series convertible and coupé models were no longer available, as they have been included in the 4 Series lineup.

A large portion of the six-cylinder petrol engine selection of previous generation models have been replaced by turbocharged four-cylinder engines, with only the highest model designation being equipped with an inline-six powertrain. The F30 is also the first model of the 3 Series to be available as hybrid, sold as ActiveHybrid 3, which was introduced in 2012.


Images

BMW 3 Series Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
View photo of BMW 3 Series - 275KB
BMW 3 Series Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
View photo of BMW 3 Series - 273KB
BMW 3 Series Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden
View photo of BMW 3 Series - 262KB
BMW Dinan 3 Dinan 3
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
View photo of BMW Dinan 3 - 2.8MB
BMW Dinan 3 Dinan 3
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
View photo of BMW Dinan 3 - 3.8MB
BMW Dinan 3 Dinan 3
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
View photo of BMW Dinan 3 - 3.4MB
BMW Dinan 3 Dinan 3
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
View photo of BMW Dinan 3 - 2.9MB
BMW Dinan 3 Dinan 3
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
View photo of BMW Dinan 3 - 2.9MB
AC Schnitzer BMW 3 Series Estate AC Schnitzer
2013 Geneva International Motor Show
Photo ©2013 Norbert Aepli, Switzerland
This photograph is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
View photo of AC Schnitzer BMW 3 Series Estate at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show - 3.5MB
AC Schnitzer BMW 3 Series Estate AC Schnitzer
2013 Geneva International Motor Show
Photo ©2013 Norbert Aepli, Switzerland
This photograph is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
View photo of AC Schnitzer BMW 3 Series Estate at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show - 3.0MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Francesco Conti at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 4.2MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Francesco Conti at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 4.7MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Francesco Conti at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 5.0MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Francesco Conti at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 6.4MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Francesco Conti at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 4.8MB


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
4 November 2012Top Cars For 2012Steven Pierce
8 February 2013BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo - specs, prices and photos Matt Hubbard, Speedmonkey
15 May 2013How a BMW engineer created the 3-Series Touring in his own garage Matt Hubbard, Speedmonkey
2 August 2013Spotted - BMW 3-series pick-up Matt Hubbard, Speedmonkey
3 February 2014History of the BMW 3 SeriesJohn Stone
19 January 2016Velodyne LiDAR Sensor Guides the Way, As Baidu's Self-Driving Car Hits the Road in BeijingVelodyne




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