Preview: 2012 BMW 3 Series

3-Series | February 14th, 2011 by 33

As the launch date of the new F30 3 Series draws closer, more info will start to appear online and in magazines. It won’t be …

As the launch date of the new F30 3 Series draws closer, more info will start to appear online and in magazines. It won’t be too awfully long before we start reading first driving impressions and start hearing the moan of fanboix the world over picking apart one aspect or another of the new 3er to complain about.

What BMWBLOG expects the new F30 2012 BMW 3 Series to be is based on what we can discern from press releases, our understanding of BMW’s ‘platform matrix’, and the continuing march forward of EfficientDynamics. As we previously wrote, the latest X3 is a good place to look for insights into the new 3er.

The 3 Series is BMW’s cash cow, subsequently don’t look for exaggerated styling since the 3er has to appeal to an extremely broad market in North America, unlike the 1er, for example. Expect the looks of the car to reflect the styling idioms incorporated in the 7er and 5er. The wheelbase will be stretched a bit, possibly three or so inches, while the overall length of the vehicle should remain under 180 inches. The styling should be crisp, with a minimum of superfluous lines but with subtle detail that is revealed in light and shadow.

Preview: 2012 BMW 3 Series

The suspension will be the tried and true double-joint spring-strut (MacPherson strut) up front with the multi-link setup in the rear. It works well so there’s no big reason to fiddle with it. Engine options should be the new turbo four cylinder in the 328i and the N55 turbo six in the 335i. Expect the next generation M3 to get a turbo six cylinder also. There’s some hope that the Dynamic Handling Package will be available as an option.

The automatic transmission should be the ZF eight speed (8HP). A manual transmission almost certainly will be available for the 335i at least, if not the 328i. What will interesting is will BMW avail themselves of two other options that the 8HP provides, an eight speed dual clutch gearbox and a hybrid drivetrain (an electric motor nose on the transmission and additional batteries). If a hybrid is done – and we expect it will be, it should be on the 328i and stop/start technology would be included with it.

On the subject of EfficientDynamics we should expect that weight should be less than or no more than the current 3er. In addition, and here’s where the wailing starts, the 3er will be equipped with electrically assisted power steering. It provides sufficient fuel economy savings to warrant it’s inclusion.

Preview: 2012 BMW 3 Series

Different rendering approach

Elements of BMW’s ConnectedDrive should be available as should active cruise control and other electronic safety features that use of the FlexRay bus enables. The development costs of these features needs to be spread across as wide a range of vehicles as possible and the new 3er will benefit from them.

The new 2012 BMW 3 Series will be an evolution of the existing 3. It will appeal to a large number of potential buyers looking for a sporting premium sedan. It will have the power and handling we expect from a BMW, coupled with luxury accommodations and an expansive – or should that read expensive – list of options.

[Rendering by Jon Sibal for LeftLaneNews ]

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  • Jmesh

    Any idea when it’ll hit dealerships in the US?

  • Efoza


  • Tom

    cant wait!!

  • sok

    E90 is failed model and design. It’s approved as circulation. Hope the new one will be better.

    • Scooter

      BMW’s most popular and award-winning vehicle is a failure, huh. Well, you obviously have nothing of relevance to offer… *click*.

  • Woo Hoo

    This doesn’t look like a great departure from the E90.

  • Willem


  • ARON

    If Chris Bangle gave us controversy (i.e. “flamed surfacing”), then it seems that Adrian van Hooydonk’s answer is to give us sausages of different lengths (again).

    My overall quibble with the latest lineup from BMW is the front fender. The center portion—underneath the grills—stops abruptly, even though it swoops downward. One would think that it would connect to the bottom, as it does on the M3. To me, it looks a bit… “unresolved.”

    The good news is that the first iteration of any new series is only a starting point. With the exception of the latest 2012 version, the current 3-er has been sculpted into near perfection with each refresh. I look forward to seeing how the F30 evolves.

  • jimmy

    I can’t wait for the new 3 series sedan!It’s time to clean up the mess that Bangle made.I believe it’ll look much better.I think the current designer crew have what’s needed to make the 3 series sedan the most desirable in the class.As for the technology and engeneering of the car I have no doubt it will be great

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  • Jag


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  • http://bmwblog Stephen Moody

    The horror if BMW no longer:
    1) sells a 3 with a turbo-free six cylinder, the driveability of which has always made BMWs seem to unwind gloriously, unlike the lagging turbos or the rough competition (see esp. the Infiniti G37); and/or,
    2) provides steering with perfect, crisp turn in, the hallmark of the BMW handling feel and something now numbed on the 7 and 5 series.

    At this rate, I may as well buy an Audi.

  • paavo

    Kill of 3-seris!!!

    1. Mostly automatics: where is driving pleasure?
    2. Steering: sacrificed for better economy (to be seen)
    3. Engines: max power at 4000rpm (gasoline)`and worse: it goes well past that line with decreasing power
    agian, where is the ultimate driving machine?

    Unfortunately I believe this is a kill to traditional 3-series!!

    • Spade

      Actually, I hear the new 4 cylinder engine they’re bringing, has maximum torque from 1250 RPM and holds it up to 5000 RPM, and the maximum Horsepower is achieved a whole 1000 RPM earlier than the 6 cylinder engine and holds it until the red line. 

  • Nmr Nik Soh

    so cool n more sporty than 4generation………

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  • Paknet

    There are many computer generated versions being circulated in the marketplace.
    Most, would make very desirable designs for the 2012 3 series. Remember, there
    is alot of competition. Audi is making a stretched wheelbase version of the A4 for
    the Chinese Mkt. It will probably make its way to U.S. The biggest new is the
    introduction of the 4 cylinder gas twin turbo. 245 hp / 258 lbs. 0 to 60 in 6.3.
    Gas mileage 32 highway. Thats like having the penny and the cake.

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  • Spade

     If they really want this new 3 to be successful, they need to do the following three things:

    1: Get rid of the run flats! Let’s face it! Run Flats are expensive garbage! They ruin the feel of the car and need replacing twice as much as normal tires! Just put the battery in the front and fit in a spare!

    2: Give us hydrolic steering! Electric steering just doesn’t have that same edgy feeling as older BMW’s had! Having Electric Steering isn’t even improving the MPG substantially either. 

    3: Manual Gearbox available on ALL models! I utterly hate automatic gearboxes, especially when they have unneeded 8 gears! I want to have driving pleasure and I want to experience that with a manual! 

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  • Amourkiss

    looking forward

  • Des20

    i m very sad ,,,My By BMW 5series was stolen  ,,,,,,,!

  • Donicollins

    sho cant wait

  • Tom

    confusing on transmission Does it have a true standard transmisson available or not????????????