By now we are relatively familiar with the 2012, F30-generation BMW 3 Series, but the car has yet to make an official appearance on American soil. BMW will remedy that in January by unveiling the U.S.-spec 3 Series sedan at the Detroit auto show.
First revealed in October, the 2012 3 Series sedan has grown marginally compared to the current model, measuring approximately 3.7 inches longer than the old car, yet overall weight has been kept in check. BMW says a new 3 Series is approximately 88 pounds lighter than an equivalent model of the current generation.
The new car also wears new sheetmetal, starting with a fresh front fascia that includes reshaped kidney grilles and narrower, more tapered headlights. A bold new character line runs from the headlights along the underside of the greenhouse, the hood is slightly more rounded than before, and the rear bumper has more creases and a slightly different shape.
As was revealed by ordering guides, BMW will make the new 3 Series available in three new “Line” trim levels: Sport, Luxury, and Modern. There also will be a new M Sport package, designed for customers who want the most aggressive-looking 3er sedan until the next-generation M3 debuts. The car’s interior has also been significantly changed, and new tech gadgets like engine stop-start, a color head-up display, camera-based collision warning, and lane-departure warning systems are available.
There are two engine choices: the 328i employs a new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine that produces 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. BMW says the sedan can reach 60 mph in as little as 5.7 seconds. Buyers seeking more performance can opt for the 335i, which continues to employ a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six rated for 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. A six-speed manual is standard with either engine, and an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional. xDrive all-wheel drive will be available later in 2012.
BMW also will show the ActiveHybrid 3 in Detroit, the first-ever hybrid version of the vaunted 3 Series. Not much is known about the car yet, but like the previously unveiled ActiveHybrid 5, expect the new model to mix a traditional gasoline engine with an electric motor/generator mounted to the transmission. It should be far more fuel efficient than other version of the 2012 3 Series.
Pricing for the new car starts at $35,795 (including destination) for the 328i sedan, while the 335i sedan lists from $43,295. Those prices represent modest bumps of $320 and $370, respectively, compared to the 2011 328i and 335i sedans.
After its American debut at the Detroit auto show in January, the 2012 BMW 3 Series will go on sale here in February 2012.