New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

BMW updates 3 Series - pics, info

2008-07-14 08:02
3 Series 2009

3 Series 2009

BMW’s 3 Series – the measure of yuppiedom - has been given a styling touch-up and technical revision with DCT shift dynamics.

New touches inside and out

Regarding design specifics a new facia is present whilst other modifications include a new hood, restyled mirrors and reshaped rear light clusters. Overall the facelift is a not too untoward evolution of the 3 Series design.

Infotainment has been bolstered significantly by the ConnectedDrive fused iDrive and 80 gigabyte hard drive. ConnectedDrive features BMW Online which – surprise, surprise – enables you to access e-mail, news and stock market updates whilst driving; could be a bit disconcerting in the current economic environment though.

If you really need to do an in-depth Wheels24 search, full internet-access is available when the 3 Series is stationary via the 8.8 inch iDrive control display which is claimed to be largest in class and boasts the best resolution according to BMW.

All-wheel drive 3 Series?

Drivetrain options have seen the migration of all-wheel drive technology to the 3 Series and a revised range of engines.

The optional electronically controlled xDrive all-wheel drive system (not due for local release), which variably distributes torque between front and rear wheels to enhance driving dynamics as well as ride stability and traction can now be combined with five engines – 320d, 330d, 325i, 330i, 335i. Audi A4 fans are about to find their buying decision unnecessarily complicated.

A blend of efficient dynamics and considered engineering has rendered a range of engines majoring on economy, especially the diesels. BMW nomenclature is now completely capacity unrelated. The 318 and 320 cars have 2-litre four-cylinder engines, whilst the 325, 330, and 335 cars have 3-litre inline-sixes.

Dynamic diesels

The efficiency leader is undoubtedly 318d with its 105kW/300Nm four-cylinder turbocharged engine which consumes only 4.7l/100km according to BMW. From there on up it’s 320d at 130kW/350Nm and then the 3-litre, six-cylinder turbodiesels in designations of 325 (144kW/400Nm), 330 (180kW/520Nm) and 335 (210kW/580Nm).

A potent blend of performance and economy is to be found in the new 330d, which features a new aluminium crankcase 3-litre turbodiesel engine. It combines 5.7l/100km economy with 6.1 second 0-100km/h performance all at EU5 emission standards – talk about having your cake and eating it…

Buyers keen on not using truck fuel can have petrol engines carried over from the current range including both 2-litre four-cylinder states of tune (105- and 125kW) and the three straight-six, three-litre jobbies (160kW, 200kW and 225kW). All models drive through six-speed ratio gearboxes, either manual or automatic.

If you really want to shift though…

High performance drivers should welcome the migration of BMW’s new DCT 7-speed gearbox – first seen on the BMW M3 Convertible – to the 3 Series, albeit only on 335i Coupe and Convertible models. It differs from the M3 DCT in having no Drivelogic.

A DCT equipped 335i Coupe could still make M3 ownership look a mite superfluous at Reef altitudes…

The new range should land locally in November this year, and although the exact range is still a trade secret, expect the diesel range to be headlined by the new 180kW 330d.


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