The 3 Series has grown in size but lost some weight.
BMW has revealed the all-new, 2020 3 Series at the 2018 Paris Motor Show with a familiar sheetmetal that masks many notable improvements.
The seventh-generation of the iconic sports sedan has grown nearly three inches longer overall than before, with an increase in wheelbase and track width. Yet, despite the bigger footprint, it is 121 pounds (55 kg) lighter and boasts a sleeker body with an improved drag coefficient of 0.26.
Visually, the exterior design doesn’t deviate too far from the look of the sixth-generation, though the front fascia is more aggressive with its jagged headlight treatment and a more pronounced interpretation of the kidney grille.
The interior adopts the new BMW Live Cockpit, which features iDrive 6.0 with an 8.8-inch digital touchscreen and a 5.7-inch digital instrument color display. Buyers have the option of a 12.3-inch high-resolution digital instrument cluster display and a 10.25-inch digital touch screen display with the new iDrive 7.0 operating system.
First to hit the market is the BMW 330i with a new turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission to produce 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The new four-banger makes 7 more horsepower and 37 more lb-ft. than the outgoing engine thanks to a revised turbo and other modifications, allowing the 330i to reach 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.
The M340i and M340i xDrive models arrive a few months later packing turbocharged 3.0L inline six-cylinder engine rated at 382 hp and 369 lb-ft. of torque, channeled to the wheels by the aforementioned eight-speed automatic transmission. The BMW M340i xDrive sedan can complete the 60 mph sprint in 4.2 seconds.
Under that new more “athletic” body, the new 3 Series rides on a new suspension with lift-related dampers, extra hydraulic damping at the front axle, and a compression limiting system at the rear for a smoother, more controlled ride.
It will be interesting to see how the new BMW 3 Series fares against the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and all the other compact premium sports sedans.
Next BMW M3 Has RWD And 4WD Versions, Which Will You Choose?
The M3 will take a page from the latest M5, but without losing grip of its roots.
When the sixth-generation BMW M3 and M4 hit the market, they will reportedly be offered with both rear-wheel and all-wheel driver versions.
The rear-wheel drive M3 / M4 — ‘M3 and M4 Pure’, as they are known internally — are intended for purists, while those looking for outright performance will certainly go for the all-wheel drive variants.
According to , the all-wheel drive M3 / M4 can only be had with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and will have a bit more power to work with since the manual transmission in the purist M3 / M4 can’t handle the same amount of torque. It will also be a bit different aesthetically, featuring a different front fascia and set of wheels.
BMW hasn’t announced when the next M3 and M4 will debut, but it will add three additional go-faster models to the lineup overtime, including a competition package.
So, which one will it be for you — the rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive M3 / M4? Let us know in the comments below, including your reason(s) why.
BMW Creates Meteoric M850i Night Sky For Outer Space Geeks
The unique 8 Series features meteorite inlay and 3D-printed brake calipers.
BMW has revealed the M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky, a one-off take on the new M850i created by the company’s Individual Manufaktur team for astronomy fans.
The car features an outer space theme. Inside, hunks of meteoric rock adorn the center console, start/stop button, shift lever, iDrive controller and other surfaces, while Widmanstätten surface pattern of meteorites can be found on the center console’s trim finishers, brake discs, exterior mirror caps and the front splitters.
For the non-space geeks among us, Widmanstätten patterns are the result of iron-nickel crystals forming on meteors over the course of around 10 million years and cannot be reproduced on Earth.
Special LED project constellations of stars on the center console and other interior surfaces.
Not content with the space theme, BMW created new lightweight brake calipers using generative design processes (3D printing). The pieces manage to be 30 percent lighter than the 8 Series’ usual calipers without negatively affecting necessary strength characteristics.
The one-off Night Sky edition is finished in San Marino Blue metallic paint over a black base coat. Its debut coincided with a meteor shower that took place overnight from January 3 – 4, resulting from the Earth briefly passing through the orbit of the asteroid 2003 EH, with fragments from the asteroid entering our planet’s atmosphere and burning up.
Some of these meteoric fragments were incorporated into the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky’s interior.
BMW, Porsche’s Ultrafast EV Charger Adds 62 Miles In 3 Minutes
It only takes 15 minutes for an electric vehicle’s batteries to be charged from 10 percent to 80 percent capacity.
Their so-called FastCharge research program has resulted in a 450 kW prototype charging station that can add 62 miles (100 km) of range in just three minutes or nearly fully charge a mostly depleted battery from 10 to 80 percent in just 15 minutes.
While the ability to charge an electric car in just a few minutes will be a boon for EV owners, today’s electric vehicles aren’t able to charge at 450 kilowatts. Tesla’s vehicles, for instance, utilize a 400-volt battery configuration, but Porsche and Audi’s FastCharge tech can handle higher voltage levels of up to 920 volts, which experts believe will become the norm.
Their charging station is able to handle so much current and voltage thanks to actively cooled cables that use a circulating water-glycol solution to manage temperature. The electric vehicle must also be compatible and use intelligent charging strategy that not only precools the battery before charging begins, but also monitors cell temperature during the charging process.
Suffice it to say, the long, tedious hours that it used to take to charge an electric car are almost a thing of the past.