Whenever someone starts talking about benchmark sedans, it’s difficult to have a conversation without bringing up the BMW 3-Series. That’s because this compact executive car has been around for over four decades. Essentially, it has had time to grow and mold into one of the best sedans on the market today.
The Condensed History of the BMW 3-Series
The first of the BMW 3-Series came about in 1975 after the 02 Series was cut from production. For a while, the 3-Series was only available as a two-door sedan, though eventually, the 3-Series expanded into a variety of models, including the two-door coupe, two-door convertible, five-door hatchback, and five-door station wagon.
Moving Forward – The Technology and Performance of the BMW 3-Series
The 2019 3-Series has a few different engines in different models, including the 330i turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder model and the M340i 3.0L inline-six engine, each of which produces 255 and 385 horsepower respectively. Each of them comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel-drive with optional all-wheel-drive.
On the inside, you get a large trunk space, a modern infotainment system with an optional 12.3” touchscreen, and a detailed head-up display.
A Timeline of the BMW 3-Series
- First Generation BMW 3-Series (1975-1983)
The first-generation 3-Series came as a two-door sedan and had a carbureted four-cylinder engine.
- Second Generation BMW 3-Series (1983-1994)
Four-door sedans were introduced in 1983, and these were the first models to offer all-wheel-drive and a diesel engine.
- Third Generation BMW 3-Series (1994-2000)
The third-generation 3-Series had sedan, coupe, convertible, hatchback, and wagon body styles. It was the first 3-Series lineup to have five-speed automatic transmissions.
- Fourth Generation BMW 3-Series (2000-2006)
The fourth-generation saw the introduction of many electronic features, including electronic brake-force distribution, satellite navigation, and rain-sensing wipers.
- Fifth Generation BMW 3-Series (2006-2013)
By 2006, the 335i became the very first in the lineup to feature a turbocharged engine. Run-flat tires were also introduced during this generation.
- Sixth Generation BMW 3-Series (2013-2018)
The sixth-generation 3-Series let go of the coupe and convertible models for the 4-Series. The entire range now had turbocharged engines, and the M3 was released with a twin-turbo straight-six engine.
- Seventh Generation BMW 3-Series (2018-Present)
The seventh-generation is only offered in a sedan body style and comes with updated BMW technology.
The BMW 3-Series In the News
In recent BMW news, some of their beloved vehicles are headed to the chopping block very soon. Not only will the 3-Series GT be cut from the 2020 range, but so will the 6-Series Gran Coupe. This chop is to help pave the way for a new line of electric vehicles.
Celebrity Endorsements of the BMW 3-Series
Just based on the sheer length of time that the BMW 3-Series has been around, you have to expect that there are at least a few 3-Series celebrity owners. These celebrities include model Phoebe Price, actress Brittany Snow, and TV personality Lo Bosworth.
Best BMW 3-Series Groups
Bimmerfest is one of the top forum-based BMW communities on the Internet. They also just so happen to have the largest community of 3-Series owners.
The BMW 3-Series – Driving Innovation
As one of the longest-lasting BMW models on the market, the 3-Series has evolved into something quite beautiful. Though it might be overshadowed by BMW’s new breadwinners at this point, we have to give it credit for continuing to explore what a great sedan can be.