The BMW 3-Series Sedan has epitomised the concept of sporty driving pleasure in the global premium midsize class for more than 40 years. Exuding dynamic design, agile handling, exceptional efficiency and innovative equipment features, it takes the signature characteristics of a BMW and turns the volume up several notches. The sedan represents not only the core of the BMW 3-Series range (of which over 15 million units have now been sold worldwide) but also the heartbeat of the BMW brand. When the first BMW 3-Series was launched in 1975, it simultaneously brought to life a new breed of car; the sports sedan concept underpinned the rise of the 3-Series to become BMW’s most successful model – a status it retains to this day. Over the course of its six model generations to date, the BMW 3-Series has been ranked the world’s biggest-selling premium car, led the way for high-performance powertrain and chassis technology and earned a reputation as a pioneer of technological innovations in the midsize segment. This latest edition of the car sees BMW building on the sporting tradition of the 3-Series, whose exploits in race competition have earned it so much extra kudos. The seventh generation of the sports sedan moves the game on once again in terms of driving dynamics, not to mention premium quality and innovation, in the midsize segment.
Exterior design: a clear, precise expression of sporting prowess. The exterior design of the new BMW 3-Series Sedan uses a combination of precisely drawn lines and strikingly contoured surfaces to create a modern interpretation of the sporting aesthetic. Its new design language provides a clear and unadulterated showcase for the dynamic character of the car. The new 3-Series Sedan is 76 millimetres longer than its predecessor (at 4,709 mm), 16 millimetres wider (1,827 mm) and just 1 mm taller (1,442 millimetres). These dimensions lend the latest-generation model dynamically stretched proportions and a muscular stature. The car’s 41- millimetre longer wheelbase (2,851 mm) and increased track widths (front: + 43 mm, rear: 21 mm), meanwhile, have a direct and positive influence on its poise and agility.
In keeping with the sporting theme, the front end of the BMW 3-Series Sedan cuts a wide, low-slung figure. The large BMW kidney grille elements are framed by a single surround and split up by wide bars and link to the headlight units. A technically sophisticated and visually smaller interpretation of the customary BMW twin headlights gives them a road-focussed stare. Their familiar two-way split is further emphasised by an eye-catching notch in the front apron that rises up into the headlight contour. Full-LED headlights come as standard, while the LED headlights with extended features and U-shaped daytime driving lights are available as an option. Likewise optional, the Adaptive LED headlights with BMW Laserlight stand apart with their hexagonal daytime driving light rings and blue, L-shaped elements in the inner and outer light sources. The bonnet is shaped by four contour lines searing towards the BMW kidney grille. At its leading edge, it sits flush with the upper edge of the headlights and kidney grille. Below it, the front apron has large surfacing and a modern look. Both the optional front foglamps and the Air Curtains are integrated into the outer air intakes, which are inserted into the front apron in a horizontal T shape on cars with standard specification and Sport Line / Luxury Line models. This design was originally developed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) for the intake air in jet engines and later became a feature of classical racing cars.
The car’s rangy bonnet, long wheelbase, short overhangs and elegantly flowing roofline accentuate its dynamic profile when viewed from the side. A pair of character lines, which rise up to the rear of the car at door-handle level, strengthen the visual impact made by the forward-surging body. And a dynamic contour line near the side skirts guides the eye to the powerfully sculpted rear wheel arches. Another feature treated to a striking new look is the Hofmeister kink – the familiar counter-swing at the trailing edge of the side window graphic. A BMW hallmark, this element of the window frame is now integrated into the C-pillar, giving the rear doors a “freestanding” glass edge.
The new design language majors on clear forms and precise lines, and this approach is also visible in the transition of the flanks into the car’s rear end. Surface contours transposed stylistically into the rear apron from the side skirts extend in an upwards movement via the rear lights up to the spoiler lip on the boot lid, framing the sedan’s tail with muscular élan. Added to which, horizontal lines and the slim, stylishly darkened light units housing L-shaped taillights give the rear a wide and robust stance. All of the light functions use LEDs as standard. The T-shaped trim elements in the outer edges of the rear apron – which also include a light function in the form of reflectors – mimic the design of the front air intakes on cars with standard specification and on Sport Line and Luxury Line models. The exhaust system’s 80 or 90-millimetre (depending on the model variant) twin tailpipes also play a role in the car’s arrestingly sporty appearance.
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