Yesterday BMW announced that work on a new plant to be built in Mexico has begun, the German company planning on building its next 3 Series model in the North American country. As shocking as that may sound, this was not a move that was done over night, and the reasons behind it are more than obvious. With the G20 BMW 3 Series though, we’ll be seeing a couple of interesting changes done to the line-up and we’re not talking about the place where it’s assembled.
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According to one of our sources in Munich, the range will go from the base 318i to the top M340i model that will be replacing the current 340i version, thus offering an M Performance Automobile under the 3 Series umbrella for the first time in its history. As a lot of people expected, the M340i will become a proper rival for the Audi S4 and the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG, models that have been set up from the beginning to stand out from their ‘lesser’ brothers.
On the performance side of things, the B58 engine inside the M340i will have a bit more power at its disposal than the one used today inside the 340i, even though it’s still not known exactly how much grunt it will be making. Our bet is on the same 340 HP the BMW M240i has, and some 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque which would bring the M340i close to its Mercedes rival that has 367 HP and 521 Nm (384 lb-ft) of torque.
That also means that while we’ll be gaining an M Performance model, the 3 Series range will be made up exclusively of 1.5-liter 3-cylinder and 2-liter 4-cylinder models, due to the fact that the only six-cylinder model, the 340i will be replaced by the M340i. The top of the range version will be the 330i which will be powered by a 2-liter mill known internally under the B48 codename. Of course, we’ll also have the 330e plug-in hybrid version to play with but that’s about it.
On the diesel front things will be the same. The US might get only one diesel, in the guise of the 330d which will be powered by an upgraded B47 2-liter 4-cylinder engine with over 200 HP. On the global scale of things, the diesel range will go from the 316d model up to the M340d version that will be using a 3-liter biturbo engine good for around 320 HP and 650 Nm (480 lb-ft) of torque.
Lastly, you should also know that the Touring version will no longer be offered on the North American continent, BMW deeming it not profitable to be imported anymore. Fortunately, customers will still have the chance to buy the 3 Series GT and the X1 as possible surrogates. Furthermore, the X2 will be coming out in the near future, offering yet another possible alternative.