The fellows at Edmunds had the opportunity to review the upcoming 2009 BMW 3 Series. This is a pretty balanced review and quite objective. They point out some interesting aspects, but in the same time, they're glad BMW has not screwed up.
If you have a few minutes, it's worth reading it.
BMW Updates the Iconic Sport Sedan and Wagon for 2009
Landlord is standing over my shoulder looking at photos of the updated 2009 BMW 3 Series. "What'd they change?" she asks, squinting to see if there's some detail she missed. "Well, the whole front end is changed," I tell her through the fog of Chanel No. 5 that always enshrouds her. "There are new headlights, new LED turn signals, and…" I say, riffling through the press release, "BMW says the 'contour edges of the side skirts have been set higher and modeled in a more distinctive fashion.'"
"Doesn't look much different to me," she snorts unimpressed. "Well, at least they didn't screw it up."
Landlord may drive a 3 Series but is no 3 Series connoisseur, and the subtleties of the 2009 version of the world's greatest sport sedan are obviously lost on her. But for the legions of Bimmer nuts out there, every change in side skirt contour and turn signal design is big news.
This is, after all, the first significant change to the E90 generation 3 Series since its 2006 introduction. But beneath those surface changes are some real evolutionary developments — not huge leaps, mind you, but developments. And there is one big piece of news — the 335d turbodiesel is finally coming to America.
Elongated for Your Pleasure
In an automotive world that seems to have become obsessed with smaller, more modest vehicles overnight, the freshened styling of the 2009 3 Series sedan and wagon (two-door models won't look any different from the 2008 editions) is intended to boldly emphasize the car's length and width. This is done with a new hood, an aggressively shaped front bumper cover, new headlight buckets and the aforementioned revised side skirts and more pronounced character lines in the front fenders.
The new hood's two additional character lines form a spear that surrounds the BMW emblem and points forward to the reshaped twin-kidney grille, which is now recessed deeper back into the fascia. It's not a prominent spear compared to, say, the raised center section on the hood of a '63 Corvette Stingray, but it does add some belligerence to the E90's lines.
The new bumper cover looks very much like the old one, that is, if the old one had been left out in the sun long enough to melt and sag a bit. BMW has also segregated the round driving lights off in their own finned nacelles to either side.
While the headlight buckets are essentially the same shape as those used on previous E90s, the expected round lamps inside now have corona rings that act as daytime running lights when the 3 Series is equipped with the optional bi-xenon elements (standard on the 335i and optional on the 328i). Models with standard halogen lamps use the corona rings as parking lights. Beyond that, the turn signal lights have a new "graphic, chrome-colored rib structure" with an "oblique orientation" that BMW says "enhances the vehicle's impression of width." Whatever. I now expect people with oblique orientations to soon demand equal civil rights.
Changes in the rear include a slightly (very slightly) reshaped deck lid and new L-shaped monochromatic taillights with LED elements. And BMW has increased the rear track by 0.6 inch, which should deliver increased stability.
If all that isn't enough, then surely the new side mirrors with two character lines in their bodies will inspire your bloodlust and get you to sign that closed-end lease.
Of course there's more.
Inside and iDrive
If the changes on the outside of the 2009 BMW 3 Series rate as subtle, those inside are downright inscrutable.