7.2.2012 BMW's new 3 Series EfficientDynamics
There are two diesel variants in BMW's new 3 Series range that offer particularly low CO2 and high fuel economy – the new 320d Saloon with 120 gCO2/km and the 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon with just 109 gCO2/km.
The 3 Series Saloon is the heart of the BMW brand, responsible for one-fifth of the company's global sales. By maintaining BMW's performance and build quality reputation, the additional fuel saving technologies are likely to make these models a logical and attractive business proposition.
The new 3 Series saloon is more efficient and lightweight across the whole range, whilst in many cases being more spacious, quicker and safer – with only a minimal price increase. There will be four engine options from launch, with three more following shortly afterwards. A brief summary of the range is given in the below table:
12-month Vehicle Excise Duty rates for cars registered since 1st March 2001*
|Combined MPG||CO2 Emissions
|BMW 328i Saloon||£29,060||5.9||155||44.1||149|
|BMW 335i Saloon||£35,525||5.5||155||35.8||186|
|BMW 320d Saloon||£28,080||7.5||146||61.4||120|
|BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon||£28,080||8.0||143||68.9||109|
BMW saloons often appeal to keen drivers because of their outstanding driving dynamics, but with the advent of the company's EfficientDynamics technologies to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, they also present a compelling business case.
Compared to the BMW 320d the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon features longer gear ratios, reduced friction components and revised electronics to generate an outstanding 68.9 mpg fuel consumption and just 109 g/km CO2. Previously only available as a manual, the 320d EfficientDynamics is also now available with the new eight-speed automatic transmission – whilst retaining the same 109 g/km emissions level.
Compared to its rival models from manufacturers such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz, the BMW is still the best all round proposition in terms of running costs and performance. The two petrol engines available in the initial four-strong 3 Series launch will have slightly higher emissions and fuel consumption.
By March 2012, when additional engines have been added to the launch models, BMW will have eight versions of the new 3 Series Saloon with CO2 emissions at or below 120 g/km while competitors only offer one. This brings clear benefits to owners in terms of Benefit-in-Kind company car tax and road tax, while the 320d EfficientDynamics model, with CO2 emissions of less than 110 g/km, allows businesses which outright purchase, to write off 100% of the cost of the car against tax in the first year.
The EfficientDynamics technologies which gave the previous BMW 3 Series Saloon such a competitive advantage remain very much in place, and have been supplemented with new ones. Automatic start-stop is fitted to all versions, manual and automatic, along with Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand control of engine ancillary components and tyres with less rolling resistance.
Weight has been reduced by up to 50kg compared with the previous model, while the drag coefficient is down to as low as 0.26 thanks to optimised aerodynamics. The new 3 Series Saloon features a streamlined underside, covers which create a diffuser effect at the rear and Aero Curtain air channels in the front apron which reduce the turbulence created by the revolution of the front wheels in their arches.
An eight-speed automatic gearbox, giving a wider spread of ratios than the former six-speed unit without taking up any more space in the engine bay, is available as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual. It is also now offered with every engine to significantly improve efficiency. For example, the new 318d automatic model now emits 22 g/km less than the previous 318d automatic model. Automatic versions of the new 3 Series Saloon are also now as fuel-efficient, or more so, than their manual equivalents.
All models will include an adequate range of standard equipment, including 17 inch alloy wheels, automatic air-conditioning, Bluetooth, BMW Professional radio with 6.5 inch colour screen and iDrive, keyless starting, USB, a multi-function leather steering wheel, cruise control and automatic boot opening.
All versions of the new 3 Series Saloon feature Drive Performance Control as standard – a switch which allows the driver to swap between up to four driving modes, varying from sporty to extremely economical. The four modes are ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport + (Sport + is included only on Sport models or with selected optional equipment). In ECO PRO, the throttle mapping changes to encourage a more economical driving style. ECO PRO also alters the manual gearshift points advised by the Optimum Shift Indicator, modifies the gearshift strategy on models with automatic transmission and even adjusts the power consumption of features such as the climate control and heated mirrors and seats.
BMW UK has also confirmed that towards the end of 2012 it will introduce four-wheel-drive and hybrid powertrains to the 3 Series Saloon for the first time in the UK. The ActiveHybrid 3 will arrive at roughly the same time, and will use the powertrain recently announced for the ActiveHybrid 5. The hybrid vehicle will pair the 335i's 306hp six-cylinder engine with an up to 40kW electric motor in a particularly intelligent and efficient way.
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