BMW 3 SERIES OVERVIEW.
Sporty, reliable, and successful: For over 40 years, the BMW 3 Series has stood for dynamic driving pleasure like no other vehicle. Thanks to former BMW head of design Paul Bracq, emotions and joy of driving found its way to the middle-class — qualities the BMW 3 Series epitomizes up to this day. With the BMW E21 in the 1970s, he laid the distinctive foundation for an unprecedented success story. Today the success of the BMW 3 Series is one of the reasons that BMW is the leading manufacturer of premium vehicles.
Over seven generations to date, the BMW 3 Series has been continuously improved and refined into a vehicle that represents sportiness in the middle class like no other. Not only were aspects such as design, dynamics, and individuality considered in this process, but the motorization as well. In-depth research has made the lively engines of the BMW 3 Series ever more economical and lower in emissions.
From the classic Sedan to the wagon marketed as the Touring, to the Coupé and Cabrio and the 3-door compact, the BMW 3 Series has become a favorite for all age groups. Striking a balance between agility, functionality, and safety, all models in the BMW 3 Series are popular to this day. The versatility of this car fascinates consumers and trade press alike, which is also reflected in dozens of accolades. One reason is undoubtedly the BMW 3 Series’ consistently sporty character, which has been refined further in each generation of the vehicle.
5 POINTS FOR THE BMW 3 SERIES.
- 01 Unparalleled driving dynamics
- 02 Sharp design fulfills the desire for pure joy of driving
- 03 Exceptional vehicle concept
- 04 Plenty of room for an active lifestyle
- 05 Connectivity at the highest level
OVERVIEW OF THE BMW 3 SERIES’ HISTORY.
THE FIRST GENERATION.
The BMW E21 owes its sporty appearance to designer Paul Bracq. The characteristic double kidney grille and round headlights in particular lend the vehicle its charm and spirit. With 1.36 million vehicles delivered, the BMW E21 becomes one of the most popular sports Sedans of the 1970s. With a cockpit angled towards the driver, a double bend on the C-pillar (Hofmeister kink), and the striking rear end, the BMW E21 meets the tastes of the sports-inclined consumer classes.
Production period: 1975–1983
Engines: 1.6–2.3 Liter (55–105 kW/75–143 hp), 4- & 6-cylinder
Length/width/height: 4,355 mm/1,610 mm/1,380 mm
THE SECOND GENERATION.
The distinctive twin headlights are now a standard feature on the BMW E30, and the BMW E30 is also produced as a convertible and a four-door. 2.34 million units sold confirm the massive success of the new BMW 3 Series. No wonder, as the range of models is significantly expanded for the BMW E30: in addition to a two-door and four-door, BMW also produces its first wagon variant of the vehicle – and BMW’s first wagon overall. A convertible with a retractable top also joins the BMW 3 Series family. In 1985, the BMW 325ix rolls off the production line as the first BMW with four-wheel drive. A total of 2.34 million BMW E30s are produced in Munich and Regensburg.
Production period: 1982-1994
Engines: 1.6-3.2 Liter (55-175 kW/75–238 hp), 4- & 6-cylinder
Length/width/height: max. 4,360 mm/1,680 mm/1,380 mm
THE THIRD GENERATION.
The angled A- and C-line on the BMW E36 in the 90s becomes an emblem for temperament and agility. With an extended front end set at an angle, the third generation of the BMW 3 Series not only improves interior comfort, but also provides much better impact protection. The new compact version of the vehicle also contributes to the groundbreaking success of the BMW E36, which is designed as a three-door with a rear section shorter by over 20 centimeters. For the first time in this series, the two-door Sedan of the predecessor is replaced with a standalone Coupé, flatter and wider than the Sedan.
Production period: 1990-2000
Engines: 1.6-3.2 Liter (60-245 kW/81–333 hp), 4- & 6-cylinder
Length/width/height: max. 4,433 mm/1,710 mm/1,393 mm
THE FOURTH GENERATION.
The BMW E46’s curved roof line provides more headroom, and unique design elements are introduced to the coupé, convertible, and compact for an individual design language. In addition to extra sporty agility, the BMW E46 also offers greater safety: ABS, the cornering brake control developed by BMW, and six airbags are part of the standard equipment for the fourth generation of the BMW 3 Series. The compact version also earns points with a brand-new drive generation: the Otto engines with variable valve control (Valvetronic) consume about 10% less fuel than its predecessors.
Production period: 1998-2007
Engines: 1.6-4.0 Liter (77-265 kW/105–360 hp), 4- & 6-cylinder
Length/width/height: max. 4,492 mm/1,780 mm/1,434 mm
THE FIFTH GENERATION.
(BMW E90, BMW E91, BMW E92, BMW E93)
In spring of 2005, the BMW E90 is introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. A short time later, the fifth generation of the successful BMW 3 Series advances to become the “World Car of the Year.” The BMW E90 Sedan and the BMW E91 Touring are now significantly more differentiated than their predecessors from the Coupé (BMW E92) and Cabriolet (BMW E93) and are visually more independent. With five more centimeters of length than the BMW E46, the BMW E90 is more mature on the outside without sacrificing its sporty attributes. For the first time, the well-known operating system from the bigger models, iDrive, makes its way into the BMW 3 Series: Navigation, infotainment, and the essential vehicle functions are now operated using a joystick.
Production period: 2005-2013
Engines: 1.6-4.0 Liter (90-309 kW/122–420 hp), 4-, 6-, & 8-cylinder
Length/width/height: max. 4,580mm/1,817 mm/1,421 mm
THE SIXTH GENERATION.
(BMW F30, BMW F31, BMW F34)
Sporty, classic, and future-oriented: the introduction of the BMW F30 on October 14th, 2011, at the BMW plant in Munich reveals the innovative paths Bayerische Motoren Werke has explored with the sixth version of the BMW 3 Series. The BMW F30's striking appearance is based on the current BMW design line. The BMW 3 Series thus looks sportier and more dynamic than ever. For the first time, an engine with hybrid drive is also available, thanks to BMW EfficientDynamics, the tried and tested combustion engines also boast extremely low consumption values. For diesel vehicles, a particulate filter has become standard. The distinctive headlights are an eye-catcher that has crept closer to the characteristic kidney grille on the BMW F30. A new addition is the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo hatchback (F34). As of this generation, the coupé and convertible in the BMW middle class are marketed as standalone models under the name BMW 4 Series.
Production period: 2011–2019 (Sedan and Touring), Gran Turismo since 2013
Engines: 1.5-3.0 Liter (100-338 kW/136–460 hp), 3-, 4-, & 6-cylinder
Length/width/height: max. 4,753 mm/1,877 mm/1,455 mm
THE SEVENTH GENERATION
(BMW G20, BMW G21)
At the Mondial Paris Motor Show, BMW presents their vision of a modern and temperamental vehicle with the BMW G20 in spring of 2018. Longer dimensions, improved streamline, and weight-saving components made from high-quality aluminum make the BMW G20 a worthy successor to its BMW 3 Series lineage. New assistance systems are available that allow the 3 Series BMW to drive semi-autonomously. Even when it comes to operation, the BMW G20 sets standards – thanks in part to the adaptive voice and gesture control. Once again, the BMW G20 is ahead of its time in terms of technology. The BMW 3 Series achieves the perfect symbiosis of the best possible safety, innovative operation, and sporty driving pleasure in its seventh generation. Since summer 2019, the BMW 3 Series Touring, known as the G21 internally, has advanced the tradition of sporty BMW middle class wagons. For the first time, a BMW hybrid model is available as a Touring: the BMW 330e has an electric range of up to 65 km with a fully charged battery.
Production period: since 2019
Engines: currently 2.0-3.0 Liter (85-275 kW/116–374 hp), 4- & 6-cylinder
Length/width/height: max. 4,709mm/1,827mm/1,445 mm