BMW 3-Series 2012 -The BMW 3-Series Sedan is the original in the compact sports sedan segment and over the years has come to symbolize the aesthetic appeal, dynamics and sporting capability of BMW. With its dynamic and elegant lines, the sixth model generation of the world’s best-selling premium vehicle highlights the sporting character of the brand’s mid-size model. Although the new BMW 3-Series has grown in all dimensions compared to its predecessor, it retains a perfect balance of sportiness and elegance. As in previous generations, the sedan’s dynamic proportions are shaped by the sweeping bonnet, short front overhang, long wheelbase and set-back greenhouse typical of BMW. You might also the other series of BMW, the BMW 6-series.
The Life Interior Design
The interior of the new BMW 3-Series Sedan is straight out of the BMW design handbook. The driver-focused cockpit wraps around the driver and puts all the important controls within easy reach. The cockpit is angled towards the driver by seven degrees. The surfaces and lines flow over the instrument panel towards the front passenger side of the cabin, where they form a smooth, protective border.
In the driver’s area all the lines converge on a single point behind the steering wheel and guide the eye towards the road. On the driver’s side of the deliberately asymmetric centre tunnel, a different trim surface and graining mark out the active driving elements of the interior, while the trim surface on the front passenger side exudes a pleasingly elegant air.
Positioned centrally on the centre console within easy reach of both the driver and the front passenger is the standard iDrive Controller. Underneath the armrest – with optional fore/aft adjustment – between the front seats, meanwhile, is a compartment for mobile devices (e.g. mobile phones, MP3 players and smartphones), which also contains a USB/AUX-IN socket.
The cockpit’s four circular dials (fuel gauge, speedometer, rev counter and oil temperature gauge) come with a black panel display. Positioned on the horizontally-structured instrument panel, the freestanding standard-fitted iDrive monitor with high-resolution display recalls the latest flatscreen televisions normally found in living rooms rather than cars.
The monitor has no folding mechanism or binnacle, allowing the entire dashboard to retain its flat, smooth lines and giving the interior a lighter, more dynamic feel.
The wedge shape of the new 3-Series’ silhouette and its wider track (+ 37/47 mm at the front/rear) underline the sporting appearance of the new BMW. By clearly accentuating the width of the car, the multi-faceted surfaces of the expressive front end give the BMW 3-Series a sportier face than ever. A wide, squat interpretation of the upright, slightly forward-slanting BMW kidney grille emphasises the stance of the new BMW 3-Series.
LED accent lights positioned like eyebrows above the striking twin headlights with corona rings (if xenon headlights are specified) lend an extra intensity to the classic BMW focused look. The headlights now extend up to the frame of the kidney grille, merging the headlights and grille of the new BMW 3-Series Sedan into a single stylistic unit and adding further emphasis to the car’s broad-set stance. The BMW 3-Series replaces the central air intake of its predecessor with two larger intakes, which are positioned underneath the headlights to the outer edges of the front end and add extra depth to the car’s sporty styling.
On the far left and right of the main ducts are small vertical intakes which help create the “Air Curtain”. This new technology improves air flow around the front wheels, enhancing aerodynamic efficiency and reducing fuel consumption at higher speeds.
The Wide Variety of Storage Compartments
The car’s larger dimensions (length + 93 mm, wheelbase + 50 mm) mean that rear passengers can now enjoy extra legroom. Behind the fully contoured front seats, 15 millimeters of additional knee room and eight millimeters of extra headroom further enhance the passengers’ comfort on the road.
Backrest nets available as an option as part of the storage package offer additional accommodation for small items, reflective vests and road maps. Larger pockets in the front doors, whose lines and surfaces open up towards the instrument panel, now have space for drinks bottles up to one liter in size.
Two large drinks holders are now integrated into the centre console ahead of the gearshift lever. If desired, the cupholders can be swapped for an oddments tray, which is stored in a designated area of the glove compartment when not in use.
The new sedan offers 480 litres of boot capacity, 20 litres more than the outgoing model. And an innovative and practical solution allows extremely convenient access inside. If the optional Comfort Access is specified, the boot can be opened hands-free and without needing to use a key: all you need to do is move your foot around underneath the bumper to trigger the opening mechanism for the boot lid (see also BMW ConnectedDrive). He can then comfortably load as much as seven standard crates of bottled drinks, three golfbags or a pram over the boot sill, which is a mere 66 centimeters high (just under 26 in.).
Standard-fitting securing lugs hold the items firmly in place, while a storage tray under the load compartment floor and a deep storage compartment on the left-hand side accommodate small oddments. For bulky items, the optional through-loading facility includes a folding rear seat bench to allow flexible transport solutions. The 40:20:40 split rear backrests offer unbeatable versatility when you need to carry passengers and long items, such as several pairs of skis or snowboards, at the same time. (A matching BMW ski/snowboard bag is available from the BMW Accessories range).
Sport Package Line
The sporty and exclusive ambience of the interior is expressed by contrasting black and red accents. Red trim rings, red scales in the circular dials, red stitching on the sports steering wheel and a base trim strip in high-gloss black with coral red accent strips all underline the sporting ambience of the cockpit. The standard sports seats can be specified in a choice of three upholstery variants and four colours. The ignition key for Sport Line versions of the new BMW 3-Series Sedan is identified by its black finish and red detailing.
With eye-catching exterior features in high-gloss black, this new line accentuates the dynamic appearance of the BMW 3-Series Sedan. Eight heavily contoured black kidney grille slats in a chrome-coloured surround give the front end of the car a particularly sporty and alert look.
The M Sport package brings the ultimate in sporting makeovers to the new BMW 3-Series. An all-new aerodynamic package for the exterior clearly sets cars specified with this package apart from the base model and the three lines. Added to which, 18-inch light-alloy wheels (19-inch as an option) in hallmark M design, M Sport suspension and BMW Individual High-gloss Shadowline trim give the car that typical M look.
The car’s dynamic character is further emphasised by an optional exclusive M paint shade and optional M Sport brakes with contrasting blue paint finish. The theme continues inside the car with sports seats boasting distinctive cloth/Alcantara upholstery, trim elements with blue accent strips, an M Shortshifter (in models with manual gearbox), M door sill finishers, an M driver’s footrest and the new M leather steering wheel.
Body and Safety
The new BMW 3-Series offers its passengers exceptional active and passive safety. Judicious selection of materials, a high-strength structure and an intelligent lightweight design concept allow the body to meet the most exacting standards, and it teams up with highly efficient restraint systems to provide maximum occupant protection. At the same time, the lightweight construction of the new BMW 3-Series makes a significant contribution to the efficiency and agility of the new sports sedan.
An extensive package of active safety components help the driver to avoid accidents or, if a collision is unavoidable, to minimise its consequences. The same goes for the optimised pedestrian protection systems. All in all, the flawlessly assembled overall concept of the new BMW 3-Series makes it an incredibly impressive proposition – not least in terms of safety.
A selection of electronic assistance systems make an active contribution to driving safety in the new BMW 3-Series, helping drivers to avoid collisions in the first place. The functions of the main assistance systems have already been described in the “BMW ConnectedDrive” chapter, but the stand-out features include the Active Protection occupant protection system, daytime running lights, Adaptive Headlights with variable light distribution and anti-dazzle High-Beam Assistant, dynamic brake lights, a rear view camera, the Lane Departure Warning System including Collision Warning, the Lane Change Warning System with No Passing Info, and Speed Limit Info.
Individual Protection at Every Seat
The exemplary crash responses of the new BMW 3-Series Sedan body also provide the best possible basis for the optimum design and set-up of the car’s restraint systems. The sports sedan is equipped as standard with front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, plus head airbags for both rows of seats.
In European models the front airbags have two-stage deployment. Responding to the nature and severity of the impact, the integrated safety electronics ensure that only those airbags that are able to provide effective protection are deployed at the optimum time. Those airbags that are not required remain unused – and therefore ready to spring into action should there be a second collision.
All seats are fitted with three-point inertia-reel seat belts, and the driver and front passenger also have belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters. Also part of standard specification are ISOFIX child seat attachment points for the rear seats.
About the Author: