The model range was launched 40 years ago to replace the already legendary BMW 02, and is now set to enter its sixth generation. First unveiled at the 1975 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, the BMW 3 Series has since developed into both the brand’s most successful model range and an international bestseller. And that makes the 3 Series a highly effective global ambassador for BMW’s core attributes. Its history is testament to the advances achieved by the German carmaker in the areas of sporting ability, efficiency, safety, comfort and connectivity, as well as to the development of BMW design.
In 1977, two years after the launch of the new model range, the BMW 3 Series became the first car in its class to be available with six-cylinder engines. Further innovations were to follow, including revolutionary injection and engine management systems, ultra-sporty diesel engines and weight minimization through the use of aluminum and magnesium.
The sixth model generation further extends this attractive selection of distinctive body variants, which are now split between two model ranges: the BMW 3 Series Sedan and BMW 3 Series Touring have been joined by the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, and the mid-size model portfolio now also includes the BMW 4 Series Coupe, BMW 4 Series Convertible and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.
The 3 Series’ exceptional run of victories in race competition has also contributed to the car’s status as a byword for sports performance. From the success notched up by the original BMW M3, its enviable record has continued all the way to victory in the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) race series in 2014.