The revised BMW 3 Series is being shown at JIMS with an extended range of engines and gearboxes, and a few styling tweaks.
The car sports a new front end design that makes it look a lot like a mini-7 Series and a rear section that is meant to appear broader with the use of more detailed lines. New front and tail light clusters are evident, too.
Furthermore, the interior has been spruced up with a selection of new trim materials and larger storage areas.
The latest generation iDrive system also makes its appearance and the controller is said to be "ergonomically optimised" for "blind" operations, leaving drivers to concentrate on the road.
The six-cylinder turbodiesel is new, using third-generation common rail technology and maximum boost pressure of 1.8 bar. It produces 180 kW at 4 000 r/min (up from 170 kW) and peak torque of 520 Nm from 1 750 to 3 000 r/min (an improvement of 50 Nm).
This is the second upgrade to the 3.0-litre turbodiesel unit in less than a year. While diesel units on the 3 Series range had previously been restricted to allow for SA's inferior fuel quality, this restriction was lifted for models sold from June 2008. Power on the detuned motor was up from 160 kW and torque increased from 480 Nm.
Other news from JIMS is that the M-DCT seven-speed automatic transmission introduced on the M3 convertible in July is now filtering down to the twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six 335i coupe and cabriolet models.
According to BMW, this is the first seven-speed double clutch gearbox designed for high performance engines. It can be operated as a fully automatic or as a "clutchless" manual and rewards with sharper acceleration and improved fuel consumption.
* Wheels24 will publish a driving impression of the facelifted BMW 3 Series on Wednesday, November 5.
Wheels24 is at the Johannesburg International Motor Show. Check back regularly for updates and video footage straight from the show floor. The show opens to the public from Saturday November 1.
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