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Home » Green Car News » BMW Green Car Guide

Sixth-generation BMW 3 Series - CO2 emissions of 109g/km

06 February 2012


The 3 Series Saloon is the heart of the BMW brand, responsible for one-fifth of the company’s global sales. The latest, sixth-generation of 3 Series builds on the previous model’s position as the ultimate drivers’ car in its sector. But it is also the most logical business proposition, thanks to new powertrains and additional EfficientDynamics fuel-saving, emissions-reducing technologies.    


  The new BMW 3 Series Saloon is a car of contradictions: larger and more spacious than the model it replaces, but lighter; quicker in many cases, but more fuel-efficient; and more nimble and agile while even safer. There have been big steps forward in style, quality, comfort and specification for only a minimal price increase.
Model Price
OTR from
0-62mph Seconds Top
Combined Mpg CO2 Emissions g/km
BMW 328i Saloon £29,060 245 350 5.9 (6.1) 155* 44.1 (44.8) 149 (147)
BMW 335i Saloon £35,525 306 400 5.5 (5.5) 155* 35.8 (39.2) 186 (169)
BMW 320d Saloon £28,080 184 380 7.5 (7.6) 146 (143) 61.4 (62.8) 120 (118)
BMW 320d EfficientDynamics
£28,080 163 380 8.0 (8.1) 143 (140) 68.9 (68.9) 109 (109)

*Electronically limited.

BMW 3 Series Saloon buyers are extremely diverse in their preferences and tastes, with a growing demand for greater personalisation, and the new model range has been configured to reflect that. It offers more trim levels than ever before – six – and a wide range of packages and individual options which customers can add to the already significantly increased standard specification of every model.

Common to all versions is a new-found sense of style, higher interior quality standards and much improved packaging. The new 3 Series Saloon is simultaneously more sporty and more elegant than its predecessor. Improved proportions, pronounced wheel arches, headlamp units which blend into the double-kidney grille to form a continuous band across the front of the car and air inlets beneath the headlights visually stretch the width and make the new 3 Series Saloon look low, wide and sporty. This is echoed by the strong horizontal design language at the rear and the forward-pressing nose, long bonnet, rising swage lines and large wheels visible from the side. At the same time, the coupé-like profile, distinctive double round headlights, L-shaped rear light units with LED light bars and the decorative trims chosen for the grille and around the windows give an athletic and yet elegant appearance.            

Befitting the BMW 3 Series’ renowned driving dynamics, the interior control and switchgear layout is totally driver-focused. The elegant and dynamic new interior design language, with twisting and merging surfaces arranged in a series of layers, all angle towards the driver. The centre console itself is angled at seven degrees towards the driver.    

All engines in the new 3 Series Saloon feature BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. They include a new four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol unit, developing 245hp and 350Nm of torque, in the 328i. It replaces the six-cylinder 3.0-litre engines in the previous 325i and 330i, with inherent advantages for weight and fuel consumption, yet with a 0-62mph time of 5.9 seconds in manual form, it is quicker than either. Efficiency is also significantly improved and both manual and automatic versions of the 328i have fuel economy of more than 44mpg and CO2 emissions below 150g/km. The new unit features High-Precision Direct Injection, BMW’s new TwinScroll turbocharging, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing and VALVETRONIC variable valve opening technology.

Model Power
0-62mph Seconds Top Speed
Combined Mpg CO2 Emissions g/km
BMW 328i Saloon Auto 245 350 6.1 155* 44.8 147
Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Saloon Auto (2012) 211 350 6.9 149 47.1 140
Mercedes-Benz C250 CGI Saloon Auto 204 310 7.2 149 42.2 156

*Electronically-limited. All based on 17” alloy wheels.

The 328i is one of four engines that will be available at launch, three of which are familiar from the outgoing model. The other petrol engine on offer at launch is the 3.0-litre six-cylinder TwinPower Turbo unit in the 335i. This flagship powertrain represents the current pinnacle of new 3 Series Saloon ownership.

Model Power
0-62mph Seconds Top Speed
Combined Mpg CO2 Emissions g/km
BMW 335i Saloon Auto 306 400 5.5 155* 39.2 169
Mercedes Benz-C350 CGI Saloon Auto 306 370 6.0 155* 40.4 159

*Electronically-limited. Both based on 17” alloy wheels.

Though the 3 Series range offers two class-leading petrol engines it is the diesel powerplants that are by far the most popular model derivatives.

Model Power
0-62mph Seconds Top Speed
Combined Mpg CO2 Emissions g/km
BMW 320d Saloon 184 380 7.5 146 61.4 120
Audi A4 2.0 TDI Saloon (2012) 177 380 8.2 143 61.4 120
Mercedes-Benz C220 CDi Saloon 170 400 8.4 144 64.2 123

All based on 17” alloy wheels.

Compared to the BMW 320d the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon features longer gear ratios, reduced friction components and revised electronics to generate an outstanding 68.9mpg fuel consumption and just 109g/km CO2. Previously only available as a manual, the 320d EfficientDynamics is also now available with the new eight-speed automatic transmission – whilst retaining the same 109g/km emissions level. Compared to its rivals the BMW is still the best all round proposition as outlined below.

Model Power
0-62mph Seconds Top Speed
Combined Mpg CO2 Emissions g/km
BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Saloon 163 380 8.0 143 68.9 109
Audi A4 2.0TDIe Saloon (2012) 136 320 9.3 134 65.7 112
Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI Saloon 170 400 8.4 144 64.2 117

BMW and Mercedes-Benz based on 16” alloy wheels. Audi based on 17” alloy wheels.

Further engines to be offered
Less than a month after launch, three new engines will be added. There will be 316d and 318d diesels, powered respectively by 116hp and 143hp variants of the 2.0-litre diesel engine, plus another version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This will slot into the new 320i, and will be tuned to deliver 184hp and 270Nm of torque, with the same free-revving, supremely flexible character of all other BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engines.

EfficientDynamics – a class-leading proposition
Compact BMW saloons have always appealed to the emotions of keen drivers because of their outstanding driving dynamics, but with the advent of the company’s EfficientDynamics technologies to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the middle of the last decade, they also present a compelling business case. That advantage is set to increase with the introduction of the new BMW 3 Series Saloon.

By March 2012, when additional engines have been added to the four at launch, BMW will have eight versions of the new 3 Series Saloon with CO2 emissions at or below 120g/km while competitors can muster only one each. This brings clear benefits to owners in terms of Benefit-in-Kind company car taxation and Vehicle Excise Duty, while the 320d EfficientDynamics model, with CO2 emissions of less than 110g/km, allows businesses which outright purchase, to write off 100 per cent of the cost of the car against tax in the first year.

The EfficientDynamics technologies which gave the previous BMW 3 Series Saloon such a competitive advantage remain very much in place, and have been supplemented with new ones. Auto Stop-Start is fitted to all versions, manual and automatic, along with Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand control of engine ancillary components and tyres with less rolling resistance.

Weight has been reduced by up to 50kg compared with the previous model, while the drag coefficient (Cd) is down to as low as 0.26 thanks to optimised aerodynamics. The new 3 Series Saloon features a streamlined underside, covers which create a diffuser effect at the rear and Aero Curtain air channels in the front apron which reduce the turbulence created by the revolution of the front wheels in their arches.

An eight-speed automatic gearbox, giving a wider spread of ratios than the former six-speed unit without taking up any more space in the engine bay, is available as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual. It is also now offered with every engine to significantly improve efficiency. For example, the new 318d automatic model now emits 22g/km less than the previous 318d automatic model. Automatic versions of the new 3 Series Saloon are also now as fuel-efficient, or more so, than their manual equivalents. 

All versions of the new 3 Series Saloon feature Drive Performance Control as standard - a switch which allows the driver to swap between up to four driving modes, varying from sporty to extremely economical. The four modes are ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport + (Sport + is included only on Sport models or with selected optional equipment). In ECO PRO, the throttle mapping changes so that a firmer push of the accelerator pedal is needed to extract the power that is delivered with a lighter touch in the other three modes, thus encouraging a more economical driving style. ECO PRO also alters the manual gearshift points advised by the Optimum Shift Indicator, modifies the gearshift strategy on models with automatic transmission and even adjusts the power consumption of features such as the climate control and heated mirrors and seats.

The new BMW 3 Series Saloon is fitted with electromechanical power steering which consumes no energy when the car is being driven in a straight line or in steady-state cornering. This has been achieved with no loss of the steering accuracy or precise feedback that is such an essential part of the BMW ‘ultimate driving machine’ ethos. Servotronic speed-sensitive power assistance is standard on the 328i and 335i derivatives and optional on all others.

With its rear-wheel-drive layout, near-perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution, agile chassis set-up and responsive engines, the BMW 3 Series has always been the benchmark for driving enjoyment among compact premium saloons. That position has been strengthened in the new model.

All-independent suspension is by aluminium torque struts, wishbones and swivel joints at the front and an improved and refined version of the proven five-link arrangement from the previous 3 Series Saloon at the rear. BMW engineers have managed to improve upon the already outstanding handling qualities of the outgoing car so that it delivers even greater agility and directional stability with noticeably improved comfort. State-of-the-art electronic control systems ensure the new car’s dynamics can be enjoyed with complete peace of mind.

Light-alloy wheels of at least 17 inches in diameter and shod with Run-flat tyres linked to a Tyre Puncture Warning System are now fitted to every version apart from the 320d EfficientDynamics, which has 16-inch aerodynamic alloys and non-Run-flat tyres. The rolling resistance of the tyres has been reduced by 15 per cent compared with those on the previous model, with no loss of dynamic performance.

Optional Variable Sport steering and Adaptive M Sport suspension with electronically variable dampers will also be available – both interacting seamlessly with the Drive Performance Control and adding the ‘Sport+’ mode to this switch.

The road ahead for the new BMW 3 Series Saloon
BMW UK can confirm that towards the end of 2012 it will introduce four-wheel-drive and hybrid powertrains to the 3 Series Saloon for the first time in the UK. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system has been available on the 3 Series in some markets previously, and has now been engineered for right-hand-drive cars. It will be of particular benefit to owners who live in areas prone to extremes of bad weather, and will be available with selected petrol and diesel engines.

The ActiveHybrid 3 will arrive at roughly the same time, and will use the powertrain recently announced for the ActiveHybrid 5. This pairs the 335i’s 306hp six-cylinder engine with an up to 40kW electric motor in a particularly intelligent and efficient way.


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