• Apr 23, 2006
Click pic for high rez version

Automotive media the world over have managed to snap spy pic after pic of the Bavarian Motor Werks’ upcoming 3-Series Coupe. Last week three official pics of the car were even leaked on the web ahead of its official release.

Despite the official pics going public ahead of schedule, BMW managed to protect the best secret about its new two-door 3-Series Coupe. When the new car goes on sale in Europe on September 23rd it will be available with a twin-turbo 3.0L six-cylinder engine. The boosted six will develop 306 hp and 295 ft-lbs. of torque, which will propel the coupe to 62 in 5.5 seconds. Each small turbo powers three cylinders each and spools it quickly on account of its size and provides force-fed assistance all the way to the engine’s lofty 7,000 rpm redline.

The car itself weights 22 lbs. less than the sedan and the 335i SE’s twin-turbo six weighs 155 lbs. less than a comparably powerful V8. The engine also gets direct injection technology for kicks.

Not to be forgotten is the entry-level 325i SE Coupe, which gets a 2.5L inline-six making 218 hp and 184 ft-lbs. of torque. That’s still good for a sub 7-second blast to 62 mph.

Follow the jump for BMW’s official press release on the new 3-Series Coupe that reveals even more details. Click on any of this post's nine official pics for a super high-rez version.


The new BMW 3 Series Coupé
04/21/2006
 
Heralding the dawn of a new era in engine technology, BMW’s all new 3 Series Coupé range goes on sale in the UK on 23 September 2006. The third generation of compact coupé marks the introduction of the first ever twin-turbo petrol-powered engine in a production BMW as well as pioneering Direct Injection technology. Two models will be available at launch.
Model    OTR Price    Power (HP)    Torque (Nm)    Acceleration (0 – 62mph)    Top Speed (Mph)    Combined cons. (Mpg)
BMW 325i SE Coupé    £28,090    218    250    6.9    153    33.6
BMW 335i SE Coupé    £33,420    306    400    5.5    155    29.7

Designed for sporting elegance
Despite its close technical ties with the 3 Series Saloon and Touring variants, designers set out with the goal of differentiating the two-door model more than its predecessors. From the front, side and rear, the car is clearly related to other 3 Series models but has its own, classically elongated, shape. Adopting BMW’s typical Coupé proportions of long wheelbase, short overhangs, long bonnet, cabin set to the rear and a low, sleek roofline, the new 3 Series Coupé has an elegant profile.

Key highlights in exterior design are the kidney grilles and restyled headlamps that give a bold yet elegant frontal view. At the rear, the broad rear lights use horizontal light rods with bright LED illumination to accentuate the low, wide appearance of the rear of the car.

Another change from the other models in the 3 Series range is the use of lightweight materials in the body construction in the Coupé. While all 3 Series models use Tailored Blanks that increase panel thickness where structural rigidity is needed, and reduces thickness where it’s not, the Coupé variant also uses plastics in construction. As a result of the lightweight plastic front wings used on the 3 Series Coupé the new car is an average 10kgs lighter than the Saloon variant.

Twin-turbo in-line six-cylinder
The all-new Coupé bodyshell clothes the twin-turbo 3.0-litre engine in the new BMW 335i SE that develops 306hp and 400Nm of torque between 1,300 - 5,000rpm. With such performance statistics, the 335i forms the pinnacle of the new 3 Series range.

The 335i SE Coupé accelerates from zero to 62mph in 5.5 seconds, and, if left unchecked, would travel on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. This level of performance is made possible by two turbochargers, each supplying compressed air to three cylinders each. The use of two smaller units ensures that the turbochargers react more quickly to changes in the throttle position all the way to the 7,000rpm red line while also eliminating the previous scourge of turbocharged engines – ‘turbo lag’.

The turbocharged engine is also considerably lighter than a normally aspirated powerplant of equal power. In the case of the 335i, the new twin-turbo six-cylinder engine weighs approximately 70kgs less than an eight-cylinder engine of corresponding performance. This weight advantage benefits both fuel economy and weight distribution.

BMW’s all new high-precision Direct Injection system also aids these high levels of performance while also benefiting economy. Piezo injectors, located centrally in the combustion chamber between the inlet and exhaust valves, deliver atomised fuel in a conical burst into the chamber to ensure a smooth, efficient burn.

Piezo crystal injectors work when an electrical current is passed through the crystal to create a very precise and consistent fuel delivery. The result? Only the exact volume of fuel required is delivered into the combustion chamber on each cycle guaranteeing that all the vapourised mixture is burnt. This method of injection also serves to aid combustion chamber cooling, thus offering a higher compression ratio. As a consequence, the new car delivers an average fuel consumption of 29.7mpg on the combined cycle.

Entry-level six-cylinder
At the launch in September, the new 325i SE Coupé will form the entry point to the range. Delivering 218hp and 250Nm of torque from its 2.5-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, zero to 62mph is achieved in 6.9 seconds and the top speed is 153mph. However, performance does not compromise economy with the 325i SE Coupé delivering 33.6mpg on the combined cycle. This is made possible thanks to BMW’s patented VALVETRONIC variable induction technology and VANOS variable valve timing that, when combined, balance the requirements of performance and economy.

This level of economy is also made possible as a result of a number of weight and power saving measures in the engine. The 325i Coupé is the latest BMW to benefit from the magnesium – aluminium composite cylinder block first seen on the BMW 630i in Spring 2004. The lightweight combination of materials reduces the overall mass of the car and helps achieve the near-perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution for improved handling.

Finally, the 2.5-litre engine uses an electrically-powered water pump. This not only eliminates the engine power normally needed to drive a conventional crankshaft driven unit but also reduces the engine heat-up time to improve engine efficiency and occupant comfort.

Gearbox options
All new BMW 3 Series Coupé models come with a close ratio six-speed manual gearbox as standard. Those drivers who prefer the convenience of an automatic transmission, but the driver involvement of a manual, should opt for BMW’s new automatic gearbox option. Using an innovative torque converter and software set up, the new automatic gearbox offers a 40 per cent improvement in the response time to throttle inputs and a gear-shift time nearly half that of a conventional automatic transmission. Whenever a driver wants to take control of gear changes a pair of selection paddles located behind the steering wheel can be used to change gears.

Practical and ergonomic interior
Internally, all controls fall easily and ergonomically to hand. The seatbelt is now also delivered to the driver courtesy of a feeder arm integrated into the B-pillar. This only operates on the passenger side when the airbag’s seat detector recognises an occupant.

Both driver and passenger in the 3 Series Coupé sit comparatively lower in the car than they do in its Saloon counterpart. This ensures the maximum headroom for occupants, even with the lower roofline of the Coupé, and also gives occupants a safe, cosseted feeling in the car. Practicality is also a priority with the new 3 Series Coupé offering up to 440 litres of boot space in conjunction with convenient storage solutions in the interior.

Chassis and body – a sound basis
In common with all BMW models, the new 3 Series Coupé benefits from a near-perfect 50:50 front to rear weight distribution and rear-wheel-drive for the optimum in driving dynamics. A double-joint tie bar front axle with spring struts made almost entirely from aluminium and a five-link rear axle work in combination with a rigid body structure to provide very high levels of stability and comfort.

The 3 Series Coupé also comes as standard with Dynamic Stability Control , BMW’s latest traction control system. With DSC , the highest levels of traction and stability are complemented by the latest comfort and safety systems including brake pads that are dried in wet weather conditions and brakes that are applied harder when any possible brake fade is detected. This ensures the car remains under maximum control at all times.

To enhance the chassis and suspension set up, the 3 Series Coupé comes with a rack and pinion steering system as standard. Customers can also opt for BMW’s innovative Active Steering system that varies the steering ratio as a proportion of road speed. The Active Steering system additionally links into the DSC system, adding small amounts of steering correction without driver input when oversteer is detected.

Extensive safety systems
All of the passive safety systems of the new Coupé are controlled by a restraint and support system. The six standard air bags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and belt force limiters are all activated by the type and severity of a collision.

Recognising that the majority of accidents occur in the dark, the new 3 Series Coupé comes with Xenon headlights as standard. Customers wanting to improve visibility yet further can specify BMW’s Adaptive Headlights that, using the steering angle, aim in the direction the car is travelling rather than the direction it is pointing.

Drivers following a 3 Series Coupé might also notice BMW’s Brake Force Display at work. When the driver of the Coupé needs to execute an emergency stop, or when the ABS system is in operation, the driver behind is warned of the danger ahead by an additional illumination of the LED brake lights in the lamp cluster.

Future Coupé models
Other engine derivatives start production in September to broaden the 3 Series Coupé range. The new BMW 330i Coupé will develop 272hp from its normally-aspirated 3.0-litre six cylinder engine that, like the smaller engined 325i Coupé, uses magnesium alloy in its engine construction. Acceleration to 62mph is dispatched from standstill in 6.1 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. The 330i Coupé still delivers 32.1mpg on the combined cycle.

At the same time as the 330i, the new BMW 330d Coupé will start production, offering 231hp and 500Nm of torque. Performance and economy are both top priorities for the diesel-powered Coupé, with the car posting a zero to 62mph time of 6.6 seconds while still delivering 43.5mpg on the combined cycle.

Details of the future entry-point BMW 320i and 320d Coupé models will be announced at a later date.


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  • 43 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gorgeous! I couldn't bring myself to trade in my '97 328is because the new 330i styling was so unappealing comparably. This is what the new sedan styling should've been. Can't wait for September!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'd be curious where they got their weight claims of being 155 pounds lighter than same powered V8? How much does the Northstar in the Lucerne weigh? The 300 hp V8 in the Mustang? The V8 from the 5 series? These are great V8's around 300 hp, and do they really weigh 155lbs more?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey BMW, the competition is heating up so that's why you went and turbo the car for a quick fix. Oh and you also slap on two doors to a sedan for another quick fix. I'd like to piss on this car is what i'd like to do.
      • 8 Years Ago
      all these "positive" reviews could only mean one thing - another record year for bmw
      • 8 Years Ago
      Infiniti knows it's doing good when BMW is taking styling Q's from their G35 coupe, but that was just my first impression. I don't know why we feel the need to compare, but it definitley looks better than in the spy pictures! It takes a while for me to know if i'll like the stying or not, but you can usually tell if something's going to grow on your or not. I think this is a step in the right direction! Good job!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gorgeous. I like the rear A LOT better than the sedan.

      However, it seems like BMW got lazy. The 325, 330, and now 328 and 335 all use the exact same 3.0L inline six. The 328 and 330 are supposedly physically identical with the only difference being gimped software in the 328. The 325 has a slightly different intake and then gimped software. And the 335 just takes the engine and turbos it. Why couldn't they have built a 3.5L inline six? Considering that they get 333hp out of the current M3's 3.2L unit, it shouldnt have been hard to make 306hp from 3.5L.

      It seems like BMW is sacrificing their design philosophy in order to cheaply produce a more powerful engine. I remember reading an interview with one of the BMW design exective where he explained WHY BMW WOULD NEVER MAKE A TURBO GASOLINE CAR. He said that turbos unavoidably create lots of torque- and torque requires heavier everything- heavier brakes, heavier clutch, heavier transmission, etc, which adds weight to a car and hurts its driving dynamics.

      I have a twin turbo car. An Audi A6 2.7T. As far as producing power, I love that engine. 255 ft-lb of torque from 1850rpm. The car is fast, but I wouldnt consider it sporty. And there are other downsides: the car takes longer to warm up than a normal car because the turbos have to warm up, and until its fully warmed, which seems to take about 10 minutes of normal driving, it gets terrible mileage.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well, my fears were confirmed: > 3500 lbs for the turbo. Forget that.

      The car looks mostly "nice" but I have to agree with others re the rear end. It looks like they stretched the tail lamps too far towards the front. The whole rear just isn't aggressive enough. The front looks good, but again, needs to be more aggressive - perhaps an M version will fix this.

      I wont be trading in my 330Ci anytime soon.

      Btw, for "high res" images, those photos are pretty bad!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I really don't get why the back end is so BIG looking. It really does seem as it the just decided to make a 4 door, with the 4 doors i think it may look nice but, with 2 it looks awfull.
      • 8 Years Ago
      BMW laughs last?

      Nope, sorry, I'm still laughing at this thing's 6 foot long butt.

      Gross!
      • 8 Years Ago
      #14 HP output of motor per mass of the motor would be interesting data. Too bad it probably won't fair closely to an RX-7 rotary motor (280HP from a 1.3L). Also turbo comparisons aren't as interesting as naturally aspirated comparisons (ie HP per liter in NA motors), simply because it is relatively easy to acheive high output in forced induced motors. But it would be interesting to see the actual weights of motors more accessible to the public for comparative analysis.
      • 8 Years Ago
      its ugly form the back and i hate the front lights. everything else is ok
      • 8 Years Ago
      Mike do not get too excited. I am an Euro living in the USA and driving BMW daily. What you get here in the USA are detuned versions of European BMW. Period. That is historic fact (see what happend to M3 over years). So you (we) get really le3ss powerful versions perhaps rebranded. That does not take a master to detune engine head and change timing to make the car less powerful so cops would not have trouble with stopping some crazy driver in their poorly suspended powerful patrol cruisers.
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