Though BMW’s 3 Series has morphed into an ‘everyperson’s’ luxury car from the iconic sport sedan it started out as, it’s still a big deal when the Bavarian automaker updates its best-known model.
For 2016, the 3er gets a comprehensive refresh that includes the cosmetic tweaks we expect in a mid-cycle update, and this one includes an LED headlight option that comes standard in a new top-trim model called the 340i. It still makes us twitch that BMW names no longer reliably correspond to engine displacement, but all the same, we’re not surprised to learn that the 340i uses a 3.0L turbocharged six-cylinder motor, just as its 335i predecessor did.
BMW says this is an all-new engine (dubbed B58 according to its makers internal nomenclature) that, despite maintaining the old N55’s displacement, adds 20 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque, for 320 and 330 respectively. With that added power, BMW claims a 4.8-second zero to 100 km/h sprint with the available eight-speed automatic; that’s a significant boost over the 335i’s claimed 5.4 second time.
Other mechanical updates include redesigned suspension bits and retuned electric power steering (perhaps to address criticisms about the latest 3er’s less-sharp handling), plus a wider gear ratio spread in the eight-speed auto.
That eight-speed is once again the standard transmission in all 3 Series models, with a six-speed stick being a no-cost option.
Further down the road, BMW will add a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model called 330e; we’re not told what gas engine will be used, but Bimmer cites preliminary power output of 250 hp and 310 lb-ft and a roughly 40-km all-electric range.
The rest of the 3 Series line remains the same, starting with a budget-priced 320i sedan and ranging up through 328i and 328d sedan and wagon variants to reach the 340i four-door.