How the BMW 3 Series Became What it is Today
Evolution of the BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series has been around for a number of years, but you may be unaware of exactly how far back the rich history of the model really goes. It has endured six different generations and yet still remains as one of the top vehicles in the BMW lineup. That’s because the German automaker doesn’t just let it sit idle like most automakers do for their most popular offerings. Instead, BMW has always looked for ways to improve the 3 Series since the start—a claim backed by looking at the evolution of the BMW 3 Series.
The inception of the BMW 3 Series took place in July of 1975. It began as a compact two-door sedan with a character that can only be described as sporty. Just a year after its release the 3 Series was named the world’s best sedan with an engine displacing fewer than 2.0-liters, but that didn’t stop BMW from ramping it all up. In 1977 it became the first in its segment to offer a six-cylinder engine helping it to become known for its performance, handling and sporty design. More than a million 3 Series models were sold in just six short years of production, making it the most successful BMW ever manufactured at the time.
In an effort to attract a wider range of buyers, BMW extended the model range for the second generation model of the 3 Series. They added a more family-friendly four-door model and a convertible, but they also introduced the first-ever BMW M3 sports car in 1985. This was also the generation responsible for the first diesel engine and a fuel-saving concept which caused the automaker to tout the 3 Series as one of the most powerful, economical and clean offerings on the market. By the time that the second generation came to a close, more than 2.3 million units had been sold, showing that the new efforts were a success.
As BMW worked out most of the kinks in the first two generations, when the third one came in 1990, it wasn’t necessary to make significant changes. Interior space was expanded and the two-door sedan became a coupe, but one of the biggest alterations made came after the automaker made an important realization. They found that consumers wanted fuel economy, but weren’t ready to sacrifice performance or comfort in order to achieve it. This brought on some new engines and the first four-cylinder turbo diesel engine which allowed for more torque and higher ratings in the efficiency department.
The first direct injection engine of the BMW 3 Series came in the late ‘90s when the automaker unveiled their all-new fourth generation design. Much like other models, the new design was longer and wider than its predecessors and its performance was adjusted to deliver what the brand calls “beefier torque curve” and further reduced emissions. By the end of 1999, the model had climbed to third place in the registration statistics, which is something that no car in all of the luxury sports car classes had ever achieved before.
If you have seen a BMW 3 Series on the road in the past, there is a good chance that it was from the fifth generation, which kicked off nearly a decade ago. Once again, when the model hit the market back in 2005, the focus of the sales pitch was that the new model was even more capable than previous versions when it came to delivering a pleasurable driving experience while at the same time providing exemplary fuel economy and low emission levels. In fact, after all engines were altered to meet the EU5 emission standard in 2010, the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Edition became the most efficient medium-class car.
In 2011 the BMW 3 Series graduated from the fifth generation and became the model that we know today. It has taken decades of work to get it where it is today, but there is no arguing that it was well worth the effort. If you are interested in seeing what the newest sixth generation model is able to do for you, we encourage you to get in touch with us here at BMW of North Haven. We would be more than happy to fill you in on all that the redesign has brought. Even better is the fact that we now have the 2015 BMW 3 Series in stock, which means that you can get the full experience of all that it is capable of doing.