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201512 May

BMW-3-Series-History

 

First unveiled at the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show, the BMW 3 Series has since developed into both the brand’s most successful model range and an international bestseller. Among the key milestones along the way has been its success in pioneering a new category of vehicle and becoming the world’s top-selling premium car. The BMW 3 Series was launched to replace the already legendary BMW 02, and is now set to enter its sixth generation.

 

The German luxury carmaker has successfully balanced continuity and evolution of design in the BMW 3 Series. Throughout the model range’s history, its striking front end with twin circular headlights and familiar BMW kidney grille, the dynamic lines of the car’s flanks and the stylish rear end have always been quick to catch the eye.

 

As for the interior, the driver-focused cockpit design already established itself as a key element in the first model generation. The 3 Series’ 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.

 

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 injection and engine management systems, ultra-sporty diesel engines and weight minimisation through the use of aluminium and magnesium.

 

Today, the new generation of BMW Group engines in the BMW 3 Series lies at the heart of BMW EfficientDynamics. The continued improvement in engine performance and driving attributes, coupled with reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, has been a decisive factor in securing the pioneering status of the BMW 3 Series.

 

Back in 1975, drivers of a BMW 3 Series enjoyed impressive handling that was sportier than any of its rivals and assured in any situation, thanks to technically sophisticated suspension, extremely precise steering uncorrupted by torque steer and powerful brakes. It is a standard that has been maintained through to the new generation of the car. Each and every component of the chassis may have undergone a process of development over the course of four decades and six generations.

 

In 1985 the BMW 3 Series became the brand’s first series-produced car to channel its power to the road through all four wheels. And today the BMW 3 Series Sedan is the only model range in which the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system can be combined with seven different engine variants.

 

The BMW 3 Series has experienced an expansion of body styles since it was first unveiled. A four-door body variant joined the two-door model in the range back in the second generation, and it wasn’t long before the BMW M3 high-performance sports car, the first Touring model and the first Convertible based on the BMW 3 Series were given their premieres. The third generation of the model range saw the distinctively styled BMW 3 Series Coupe bring additional allure to the line-up, while the BMW 3 Series Compact forged a passage into a new vehicle segment.

 

Growth and changes within the model line-up have since been responsible for a succession of landmarks in the history of the BMW 3 Series, introducing innovative concepts which continue to set trends for the segment as a whole to this day. The diversity of models has played a significant role in enabling a variety of target groups to experience the sporting character of BMW 3 Series in different ways. The sixth model generation further extends this 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.

 

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