Business / New Cars

BMW 3 Series sets the benchmark in premium sports sedan market

By Yang Cheng (China Daily) Updated: 2012-07-17 13:48

The BMW 3 Series compact sports sedan was first manufactured by the German automaker in May 1975.

But the first of what would become the BMW 3 Series was actually shown almost a decade earlier at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966 with the BMW 1600-2.

After five generations of evolution, BMW 3 Series is now regarded as the benchmark in premium sports sedan market.

In its first generation from 1975 to 1983, the 3 Series had only one body style - two door version - with four engine options. A fifth engine, made for the BMW 323i, was a powerful in-line six cylinder.

According to a market survey at the time, over 80 percent interviewees said the BMW 3 Series is a perfect car, and there's no need for further changes.

In its second generation since 1982, the 3 Series offered new body styles including four-door compact, cabriolet and touring.

The first all-wheel-drive model-BMW 325iX was also born during the period.

The 3 Series became an extended family during this generation. In 1985, the first BMW diesel car was born, the 324d, fuel consumption of which was lower than 7 liters per 100 kilometers.

The same year, the world witnessed the birth of the ultimate driving machine, the BMW M3.

For the third generation from 1990 to 2000, the body of BMW 3 Series was significantly enlarged for convenience and safety.

From this generation, the engine output of all BMW 3 Series models was no less than 100hp. Also this generation, 318tds was equipped with BMW's first four-cylinder turbo-charged diesel engine.

In 1991, BMW 3 Series was officially introduced into Chinese mainland. Albeit the Chinese people were not very well-off at that time, the blue and white logo of BMW and the popular slogan of "drive BMW, ride Mercedez-Benz" were overwhelmed in China. In addition to diesel and gasoline engines, a natural gas-powered engine was available that could generate 87 hp.

The fourth generation 3 Series debuted in 1998 with a four door and engine options that saw significant growth in power: the 318i with 118 hp, the six-cylinder 320i had an output of 150 hp, the 323i generating 170 hp and the 328i producing 193 hp.

History was made in 2001 when BMW introduced the Valvetronic system, which was a milestone in the world's auto industry.

Until today, Valvetronic is still the best, it is one of the main source of BMW's driving pleasure.

A remarkable model during the period was the diesel 330d that provided 390Nm in torque.

The fifth generation 3 Series debuted at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show.

The high-tech engine's crankcase, crankshaft bearings and cylinder head were made of magnesium and it was the first BMW six-cylinder to use Valvetronic and Double-VANOS variable valve timing for both the intake and the exhaust camshafts.

The chassis was also revolutionized. The BMW 335i boasted a 225 kw/306hp 3-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine, which won "Engine of the Year" awards for several years.

The fifth generation of BMW 3 Series impressed the world by its powerful engine, dynamic driving performance, unique design and innovations.

From 2007 onwards, BMW EfficientDynamics strategy demonstrated the perfect integration of sheer driving pleasure and outstanding fuel economy and emission.

The sixth generation of BMW 3 Series continues to set standards with impressive dynamics, low fuel consumption and innovative and fashionable design.

In its 37 years' history, the BMW 3 Series has won the trust of more than 13.5 million consumers. Its fashionable design, its driving dynamics and countless fun, all make it deserve the title - King of Sports Sedan.

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