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.

2012 f30 3 series11 655x491

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.


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 ]