NEW FOR 2009:

– M3 sedan, coupe and cabriolet added
– New available diesel engine
– All-wheel drive models now called xDrive
– 323i sedan adds heated seats, through-load with ski bag, automatic climate control and halogen headlights with corona rings
– 328i sedan, xDrive sedan and xDrive Touring add standard glass sunroof (Panorama on Touring) electric seats with driver memory and black high-gloss trim
– 328i coupe and xDrive coupe add standard glass sunroof and electric seats with driver memory
– 328i cabriolet adds standard Dakota leather

For 2009, the BMW 3 Series adds an all-new M3 performance line, which was temporarily discontinued when the line-up was redesigned. The sedan is now also available as the 335d, which uses a diesel engine. The rest of the line-up receives new standard or optional features, and the all-wheel drive models, which were previously named "xi", now have the full "xDrive" as part of their name.

Engine choices for the 3 Series are a 2.5-litre inline six-cylinder (the 323); a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder (328); a twin-turbo 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder (335); twin-turbo 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder diesel (335d); and 4.0-litre V8 (M). All mate to a six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode, save for the M models, which option to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and the 335d diesel, which uses the six-speed automatic only.

The sedan comes as the 323i, 328i, 328i xDrive, 335i, 335i xDrive, and 335d; the Touring (wagon) as the 328i xDrive Touring; the coupe as the 328i, 328i xDrive, 335i, and 335i xDrive; the cabriolet (convertible) as the 328i and 335i; and the M3 as a sedan, coupe and cabriolet.

Features on the 323i sedan include 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, speed-sensitive power steering, automatic adaptive headlamps, adaptive brake lights, fog lights, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers with heated nozzles, tire pressure monitoring system, self-charging keyless remote, alarm system prewiring, cruise control, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seats with pass-through and ski bag, illuminated vanity mirrors, power windows, heated leatherette seats with six-way manual adjustment, and CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers.

The 328i and 328i xDrive sedans add bi-xenon headlamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power sunroof, eight-way power seats with driver’s side memory, and ten-speaker sound system. The xDrive model adds headlamp washers.

The 328i xDrive Touring is similarly equipped, but adds a panoramic sunroof.

The 335i and 335i xDrive build on the 328i sedans and add 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome-plated grille bars, chrome window surround, leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel, Dakota leather upholstery, Bluetooth hands-free communication, and BMW Assist.

Features on the 328i and 328i xDrive coupe include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear stabilizer bars, automatic adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, adaptive brake lights, fog lights, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer jets, tire pressure warning system, self-charging keyless entry fob, chrome window surround, auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, power sunroof, leather-wrapped multifunction sport wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seat with pass-through and ski bag, illuminated vanity mirrors, power windows, comfort entry to rear seats, heated eight-way power leatherette seats with driver’s memory, and CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input and ten speakers. The 328i coupe includes sport suspension, while the 328i xDrive adds headlamp washers.

The 328i cabriolet adds driver and passenger knee airbags, rollover protection, three-piece retractable hardtop, Comfort Access, single-piece folding rear seat with pass-through and transport bag, and Dakota leather upholstery.

The 335i and 335i xDrive coupe models build on the 328i coupes and add pearl grey chrome window surround, Dakota leather upholstery, Bluetooth hands-free communication, and BMW Assist.

The 335i cabriolet buildings on the 328i cabriolet and adds power-folding auto-dimming exterior mirrors, compass, garage door opener, front seat lumbar support, Bluetooth hands-free communication, BMW Assist, and Logic7 sound system.

Features common to all M3 models include 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, vented and cross-drilled front and rear rotors, M3-specific sport calibrated suspension, automatic adaptive bi-xenon headlamps with washers, adaptive brake lights, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer jets, tire pressure warning system, alarm system with interior motion sensor, self-charging keyless entry fob, M body kit, blue-tinted mirror glass, anthracite roof liner, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Comfort Access, cruise control, three-spoke multifunction M steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seat with pass-through and ski bag, power windows, illuminated vanity mirrors, heated eight-way sport seats with driver’s memory, CD/MP3 stereo with Logic7 sound system and auxiliary input, M-specific instrument dials, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, and BMW Assist. The cabriolet adds driver and passenger knee airbags and has a single-folding rear seat with pass-through and transport bag; the coupe adds a lightweight carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic roof; while the sedan adds a power sunroof. Seats on the sedan and coupe are cloth and leather, while the cabriolet’s are sun-reflective leather.

The 3 Series remains one of the all-time great driving experiences for the price, especially with the twin-turbo six-cylinder, which offers immediate power without a hint of turbo lag, and now with a powerful and fuel-efficient diesel, and the V8-powered M versions. It’s more of a driver’s car, with a close-coupled interior and tight legroom, and a few questionable interior features, such as poorly-placed cupholders, but overall, there’s a reason why BMW claims it’s the world’s best-selling premium sedan. Those who need more cargo space can opt for the Touring wagon, while the cabriolet offers the pleasure of top-down motoring with a retractable hard roof for all-weather protection.

Connect with Autos.ca