For 2007, two more models move into the BMW 3 Series’ next-generation configuration. The sedan and Touring (wagon) were updated for 2006, while the coupe and cabriolet were carryover models for that year, but both coupe and cabriolet have been updated as well. The M3 has been discontinued.
The sedan and Touring models receive a power increase and a corresponding change of names, with the 328i and 328xi replacing the 325i and 325xi, and the 335i replacing the 330i. As well, all models receive satellite radio pre-wiring as standard equipment.
The 3 Series sedan is available as the 323i, 328i, all-wheel drive 328xi, and 335i. The 323i uses a 2.5-litre inline six-cylinder, while the 328 models use a 3.0-litre inline six that makes 230 hp. The 335i also uses a 3.0-litre, but with twin turbochargers to boost power to 300 horses. All use a six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a six-speed automatic with Steptronic manual mode. The 328xi uses xDrive, a torque management system that seamlessly switches from rear- to all-wheel drive, and uses dynamic stability control and sensors to proactively determine wheel slippage and take action before any tires lose their grip.
The Touring comes strictly as the 328xi, using the 230 hp 3.0-litre six-cylinder, and is available only in all-wheel drive.
The coupe is available as the 328i, all-wheel drive 328xi, and 335i, using the same powertrains as the sedan models.
The cabriolet is available as the 328i and 335i, and uses an automatic retractable hardtop with large, heated rear window; a cloth top is not available. The roof opens or closes in about 23 seconds; the cabriolet includes rollover protection integrated into the rear head restraints.
Features on the 323i include 16-inch alloy wheels, six-way manually-adjustable seats, air conditioning, locking glovebox with removable flashlight, “leatherette” upholstery, automatic headlamps, stability and traction control, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer jets, tire pressure warning system, and CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers.
The 328 models add body-colour roof strips, chrome twin exhaust tips, auto-dimming mirror, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, ski bag, Xenon headlamps, fog lights, and CD/MP3 stereo with ten speakers. The 328xi Touring adds roof rails, while the coupe models add sport suspension, comfort entry to the rear seats, and adaptive headlamps.
The 335i adds 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome window trim, eight-way power seats with driver’s side memory, power sunroof, and adaptive headlamps. The 335i coupe adds sport suspension, automatic seatbelt assistant and comfort entry to the rear seats.
All models now benefit from the new, sleeker styling and more powerful engines. The cabriolet offers the pleasure of drop-top motoring as well, with virtually no cowl shake, although there is some loss of trunk space due to the disappearing roof. BMW says the 3 Series is the world’s best-selling premium sedan, and it’s easy to see why once you slip behind the wheel. It’s really a driver’s car, with close-coupled interior and tight rear legroom. It doesn’t take long to send the price skyward with a few options, and some of them are puzzling – why, for example, does a $35,600 BMW still need to have cruise control added to it? Drive it, though, and you’ll agree: this is worth whatever it takes.