First Look: 2011 BMW 3-Series Coupe and Convertible

There’s little we would change about BMW’s 3-series, and we’re glad to see the automaker apparently agrees. For 2011, its 3-series coupe and convertible models are refreshed, although the modifications are subtle, to say the least.

Visually, the new coupes and convertibles largely resemble their predecessors, although they both sport a front fascia patterned after the new 5-series. Xenon headlamps — now standard equipment — are longer and wider, as are the traditional “kidney bean” grille openings. Designers also revised the lower air intake (it’s now one large opening as opposed to three), and modified the tailights to include LED “light pipes.”

Although the 328i continues to use a 230-hp, 3.0-liter inline-six, the forced-induction version found in the 335i is mildly tweaked. In addition to receiving BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve lift system, the new engine — codenamed N55 — abandons the twin-turbo setup in favor for a single twin-scroll turbocharger. Its power output — 300 hp @ 5800 — is unchanged, but peak torque — 300 lb-ft — is now available at 1200-5000 rpm, 200 rpm lower than before.

As always, a six-speed manual transmission is standard in all cars, while a six-speed automatic is available. Both the 328i and 335i coupes are available with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Convertibles remain rear-wheel-drive only, but are treated to new sun-reflective leather seats.

BMW says the facelifted 3-series coupes and convertibles will reach U.S. dealers this spring. We’d expect pricing to rise slightly above the 2010 models, but BMW will officially reveal that information closer to launch.

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