NEW FOR 2008:

– Standard fog lights, heated exterior mirrors and cruise control on sedan
– New all-wheel drive 335xi sedan

For 2008, the BMW 3 Series sedan undergoes minor changes, with upgrades to its list of standard features. There’s also a new 335xi model, adding the company’s all-wheel drive system and giving the line-up two all-wheel drive sedan models. The coupe, touring and convertible models continue into 2008 unchanged. An all-new M3 coupe and sedan will be added later in the model year.

The 3 Series line-up includes the sedan, as 323i, 328i, 328xi, 335i and 335xi; the Touring wagon, in 328xi only; the coupe, in 328i, 328xi, 335i and 335xi; and the cabriolet convertible, in 328i and 335i. The 323 models use a 2.5-litre inline six-cylinder; the 328 models use a naturally-aspirated 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder; and the 335 models use a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder. All mate to a six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode. The xi models feature xDrive, an all-wheel system that seamlessly switches from rear- to all-wheel drive, and uses dynamic stability control and sensors to proactively determine wheel slippage before they lose their grip.

Features on the 323 models include 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, six-way manually-adjustable seats in "leatherette", keyless entry with engine start/stop button, automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, heated washer jets, fog lamps, multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, locking glove-box with removable flashlight, and CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers.

The 328 models add automatic dual-zone climate control, Xenon headlamps with washers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, heated seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat with pass-through, and ten-speaker stereo system. The Touring model adds roof rails and a rear wiper; the cabriolet adds adaptive Xenon headlamps; and the coupe adds sport suspension.

The 335 models add 17-inch alloy wheels, adaptive headlamps, sport steering wheel, eight-way power seats with memory, and power sunroof. The cabriolet adds park distance control, power-folding auto-dimming mirrors, Logic 7 stereo, leather upholstery and garage door opener.

The 3 Series remains one of the all-time great driving experiences, especially with the twin-turbo version, which offers immediate power without a hint of turbo lag. It’s really a driver’s car, with close-coupled interior and tight rear legroom, and a few interior snags such as poorly-placed cupholders, but overall, there’s a reason why BMW can claim it’s the world’s best-selling premium sedan. The wide range of models, including convertible and wagon, add to its widespread appeal among buyers with different tastes.

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