Compact BMW saloons have always appealed to the emotions of keen drivers because of their outstanding driving dynamics. With the advent of the company’s EfficientDynamics technologies to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the middle of the last decade, they also present a compelling business case. That advantage is set to increase with the introduction of the new BMW 3 Series Saloon – with CO2emissions at or below 120g/km.
All versions of the new 3 Series Saloon feature Drive Performance Control as standard – a switch which allows the driver to swap between up to four driving modes, varying from sporty to extremely economical. The four modes are ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport +. In ECO PRO, the throttle mapping changes so that a firmer push of the accelerator pedal is needed to extract the power that is delivered with a lighter touch in the other three modes, thus encouraging a more economical driving style. ECO PRO also alters the manual gearshift points advised by the Optimum Shift Indicator, modifies the gearshift strategy on models with automatic transmission and even adjusts the power consumption of features such as the climate control and heated mirrors and seats.
The EfficientDynamics technologies which gave the previous BMW 3 Series Saloon such a competitive advantage remain very much in place, and have been supplemented with new ones. Auto Stop-Start is fitted to all versions, manual and automatic, along with Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand control of engine ancillary components and tyres with less rolling resistance. Weight has been reduced by up to 50kg compared with the previous model, while the drag coefficient (Cd) is down to as low as 0.26 thanks to optimised aerodynamics. The new 3 Series Saloon features a streamlined underside, covers which create a diffuser effect at the rear and Aero Curtain air channels in the front apron which reduce the turbulence created by the revolution of the front wheels in their arches.
The new BMW 3 Series Saloon is fitted with electromechanical power steering which consumes no energy when the car is being driven in a straight line or in steady-state cornering. This has been achieved with no loss of the steering accuracy or precise feedback that is such an essential part of the BMW ‘ultimate driving machine’ ethos. Servotronic speed-sensitive power assistance is standard on the 328i and 335i derivatives and optional on all others.
An eight-speed automatic gearbox, giving a wider spread of ratios than the former six-speed unit without taking up any more space in the engine bay, is available as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual. It is also now offered with every engine to significantly improve efficiency. For example, the new 318d automatic model now emits 22g/km less than the previous 318d automatic model. Automatic versions of the new 3 Series Saloon are also now as fuel-efficient, or more so, than their manual equivalents.