2016 BMW 3 Series Updated, Gains 330e Plug-in Hybrid

335i becomes 340i, plus visual changes and a reworked chassis.

A midcycle refresh is here for the 2016 BMW 3 Series, and it includes a new six-cylinder engine, a slight change in nomenclature, minor visual tweaks, and the addition of a plug-in hybrid model.

The four-cylinder 320i, 328i, and 328d models remain the same, but the optional six-cylinder engine is an all-new turbocharged, 3.0-liter unit, and will be called 340i instead of 335i. This powertrain makes 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, 20 hp and 30 lb-ft more than the 335i's six-cylinder. Both rear-wheel-drive 340i and all-wheel-drive 340i xDrive models will be available with either an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.

BMW's announcement of a new 3 Series plug-in hybrid, called the 330e, doesn't come as too much of a surprise. The company said last year that it aims to introduce plug-in hybrid versions of its entire core lineup within the next few years. There aren't many details yet on this hybrid's powertrain, but we know it will make around 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, and should provide an electric-only driving range of approximately 22 miles. We assume this new model will replace the current ActiveHybrid 3, as there's no mention of that conventional hybrid model in BMW's release about the 2016 updates.

To address criticisms of this F30-generation BMW 3 Series' less-than-stellar handling, BMW has also reworked the chassis of the 2016 BMW 3 Series, with new front struts, revised electric power steering, and different rear dampers that are said to make for tighter cornering prowess.

The 2016 BMW 3 Series lineup's visual changes are a bit more subtle, and include reshaped headlights, new wheel designs, and updated LED taillights. The 328i, 328d, and 340i models also now come standard with the Sport Line package that includes larger alloy wheels, black exterior trim, and a sport steering wheel. We previously tested our Four Seasons 2012 BMW 328i with the Luxury Line package against an equivalent car with the Sport Line package and much preferred the handling of the Sport car, so this is a worthy upgrade for 2016. The Luxury Line package will still be offered as an option, as will the even more performance-oriented M Sport package.

For even more performance-oriented 3 Series customers, there's a newly available track package available for 320i, 328i, and 340i models. Like the similar package available on the smaller 2 Series, this option includes variable steering, an adaptive suspension, 18-inch wheels and Michelin Super Sport tires, and M Sport brakes with high-temperature brake pads.

On the inside, the center console is slightly reorganized, and additional chrome trim adorns various surfaces and controls. There are also a few technology updates, including enhanced capability for the optional parking assist system, and upgraded software for the navigation system and infotainment interface.

The 2016 BMW 3 Series should start arriving in dealerships later this year, so stay tuned for more news about these updated models and the new plug-in hybrid 330e that will soon join the lineup.

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