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Unread 2018-10-23, 07:00 PM   #76
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G20 3 Series Purposely Designed to be 'Totally Different to the 5 Series'










BMW Actively Worked to Differentiate the New 3 Series from the 5 Series
The all-new G20 3 Series has been unveiled for less than a week at the time of writing and there has been both praise and criticisms with its design.

For BMW, however, it was important that among the criticisms, none would be that the G20 3 Series was too similar in design to the G30 5 Series.

In an interview at the 2018 Paris Motor Show with motoring.com.au, the Product Manager of the G20 3 Series, Stephan Horn, cites past criticism, such as complaints of the F30 3 Series being too similar in design to the F10 5 Series, as a motivating factor in the conscious effort to differentiate the new G20 from the G30.



“There was some criticism in the past generations, looking for example from the rear at the 3 Series and 5 Series,” says Horn.

“They looked quite similar so we said this car had to look completely different from every angle compared to the predecessor and the 5 Series.”

“It has to be recognizable as a 3 Series sports sedan.”



Horn mentions the reactions stemming from such similarity from both 3 Series and 5 Series owners in the past.

“Sure, we do market research and some of the 3 Series buyers, they were flattered a little bit, because people were thinking they were driving the 5 Series.”

“Some of the 5 Series drivers were not so flattered…”

“But we just want to keep each model as independent as possible.”




Although the new G20 3 Series has grown in size compared to its predecessor, Horn explains that efforts were made to keep this increase to a minimal, so as to represent the 3 Series' as a sports sedan and not as a mini-5 Series.

“Our overall goal was to make the car as compact as possible,” says Horn. “We were really fighting about every millimeter in terms of extension."

“We are the ultimate sports sedan, we are not a small 5 Series and for having a sports sedan you don’t want to have big, long car whatsoever.”

“I think in the last generation the criticism of 3 and 5 Series was right, but we believe in this generation we won’t have this discussion. The whole design language is totally different to the 5 Series.”

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Unread 2018-10-26, 02:40 PM   #77
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G80 M3 and G82 M4 Coupe currently have more variants than we're used to seeing.

First of all, it appears the manuals are still alive. However, there are hints that these cars will be available as both RWD and xDrive. For the first time in years, BMW is not going to force you into a car they think is best - they'll let you choose.

On top of that, there could be two different performance trims right out of the gate - you'll get a Competition model that's more different from the base M3/M4 than the old Competition Packages would provide.

On the other hand, G83 M4 Cabrio would have a more limited selection: a single model with the choice of transmission.
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Unread 2018-11-03, 04:26 PM   #78
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New BMW M3 Might Get A Manual Gearbox After All



Enthusiasts everywhere rejoice.

With the bigger, bolder new 3 Series (G20) out, it should only be a few months before we see the hardcore M3, too. Spy shots of the M3 prototype sprinting around the Nürburgring, a promising preview of what’s to come. But while early rumors automatic only M3 had us worried, new reports are here to dispell that hearsay… sort of.
Execs in Munich are still considering a manual M3, according to an anonymous source from BMW Blog. That means it will be one of the few sports sedans in the segment to still offer the do-it-yourself shifter, unlike the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, Audi S5, and others. The company is also still debating whether to keep the M3 with its classic rear-wheel-drive setup or give it an all-wheel-drive layout similar to the M5.




Manual or no manual, the new M3 and M4 could have upwards of 500 horsepower (with the optional Competition Package) when they debut. How do we know? Well, these two cars will share the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six engine from the upcoming X3 M and X4 M. That engine will replace the current S55 unit and will have 450 hp out of the box.



For now, BMW buyers will have to make do with the standard G20 3 Series. At its launch last month in Paris, the company showed off a few different engine options, including 320i and 330i gas models, and diesel-fueled 318d, 320d / 320d xDrive, and 330d variations. The most-powerful option produces 382 hp (295 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Newton-meters) of torque.
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Unread 2018-11-05, 03:56 PM   #79
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10 Ways the 2019 BMW 3-series Attempts to Rekindle Its (Good) Predecessors' Magic

It speaks volumes to the BMW 3-series' reputation for sports-sedan excellence that even throughout the low years of the F30-generation model, it was still a benchmark car. Every sports sedan continued to be measured against the BMW—or at least the romanticized memory of those peerless iterations that preceded the most recent 3's 2012 introduction. The latest 3-series looks poised to shift its position as the segment's bogey and get back to a renewed focus on driver satisfaction. Click through to see how BMW aims to pull off the resurrection of its iconic sedan:

1. We've Already Driven It (Sort Of), and It's Good

One small way in which we know BMW is on to something exciting with its newest 3-series, internally code-named G20, is that we've been behind the wheel already. BMW invited us to Germany to sample prototypes that were said to be 85 percent of the way toward the final production models. The short version of our takeaway? The 2019 3-series is tauter, sharper in its responses, and generally overflowing with the familiar BMW suspension greatness that was lost in the outgoing F30-generation model.

2. Losing Weight Always Helps

The 3-series' switch to BMW's new Cluster Architecture (CLAR) means it adopts more aluminum and high-strength steel in its structure than before. The expanded use of lightweight materials, combined with engineering tweaks and new aluminum front fenders and hood, have cut a claimed 120 pounds from the BMW's curb weight. Since weight is the enemy of efficiency, speed, and handling, we're glad to see it go.

3. A Stiff Body Shell Makes a Better Base for the Suspension

Not only does the new 3-series' CLAR platform bring lighter-weight materials to the table, it's also massively stiffer. According to BMW, the body's torsional stiffness is up by 25 percent, while specific load pathways—including the front strut-tower brace and subframe—have been stiffened by as much as 50 percent. The more rigid structure allowed BMW to increase the 3-series' suspension bushing durometers (stiffness), making for better responses to steering inputs and suspension motions with no negative consequences for noise, vibration, and harshness.

4. Every 2019 3-series Has Clever New Dampers as Standard

The 2019 BMW 3-series can be had with shocks featuring a clever hydraulic element to tamp down big suspension motions. They're on every 3-series not optioned with the electronically adjustable Adaptive M dampers.

The extra hydraulic element engages between a fifth and a third of the way through the damper’s return trip on rebound; when the suspension unloads, the body moves away from the wheels. In the rear, the hydraulic element also acts on the compression stroke, wherein the body and wheel move toward one another, as when the wheel hits a raised bump in the road. When we drove 2019 3-series prototypes equipped with the dampers, we found they eliminated the sometimes sloppy body control we’ve experienced in some F30-generation 3-series cars. Dips and lumps in the road resulted in no untoward body float or suspension crashing; the dampers handled a wide spectrum of suspension motions as dexterously as electronically controlled adaptive units would do.

5. The Base Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Engine Is More Powerful

Pour one out for the outgoing entry-level 320i model., which has been dropped from the lineup. The entry point for 2019 is the previously mid-level 330i. It gets the carry-over turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes seven more horsepower than before—for a total of 255 ponies—while its peak torque figure is a whopping 37 lb-ft higher, for a total of 295 lb-ft. With less 3-series to drag around, the updated four-cylinder should turn in better acceleration times than the previous 330i.

6. So, Too, Is the Available Inline-Six

Beyond the 33oi, BMW will again offer a six-cylinder 3-series, which sees a name change from 34oi to M34oi reflecting its new status as M Performance model. That's BMW-speak for a sporty trim level bridging the gap between its everyday models and their fire-breathing M-badged counterparts. (The M340i sits below the next-generation M3 and above the 330i and the upcoming plug-in-hybrid model.) Thanks to improvements to the inline-six, carried over from the previous-generation 340i, the '19 M340i sees big power increases to 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Those figures are stronger by 62 horsepower and 35 lb-ft.

7. It'll Only Have an Automatic Transmission, and That's Okay

C'mon, get it out of your system—moan all you want about the new 3-series' abandonment of manual transmissions. We had a little pity party, too. But look at the reality: None of the 3-series' core competitors offer a stick shift anymore, not the Mercedes-Benz C-class, not the Audi A4, and not the Lexus IS. Alfa Romeo's Giulia serves as a reminder that great sports sedans needn't have a manual-transmission option. The new 3-series, like the Alfa, uses an eight-speed automatic transmission. Because this is a version of ZF's excellent 8HP eight-speed, this will hardly be an issue, though final judgment will have to wait until we drive a production 2019 3-series. In our prototype drive, we noticed it hesitated to hold lower gears in automatic mode.

8. The Sport Package Brings Some Serious Hardware

BMW is taking the available Sport package very seriously on the 2019 3-series. The kit will include bigger brakes, staggered-width 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, and variable-ratio steering. It also will include an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, a first for a non-M BMW. Another first? That the Sport package will get specific suspension bushings in addition to firmer spring and damper rates.

9. BMW Is Trying to Fix Its Steering

Wait, did someone mention variable-ratio steering? Fret not, BMW fans; the 3-series' variable-ratio steering has moved beyond the wackadoodle electronically varied active steering rack that plagued the previous-generation model. For the G20-generation 3-series, BMW reverted to a method for varying the steering ratio that delivers more predictable responses to driver inputs: narrower tooth spacing at the center of the steering rack, and wider gaps at the reaches of the rack's left-to-right travel.
The engineers also managed to turn on the road-feel spigot in spite of the steering's continued use of electronic power assist. Is BMW steering back to the vaunted heights achieved during the hydraulic-assist years? No, but it's a whole lot better than BMW's early cracks at electrically assisted racks.

10. The Styling Inside and Out Is Not Weird

For years, BMW styling was a given: Buy any BMW, and you could expect the iconic pair of kidney grilles with vertical slats, understated yet handsome styling, and excellent proportions. It has been less certain over the past 15 years of BMW design that you can rely on those venerable styling cues. Just look at the new Z4 sports car, which has a rather long front overhang and—gasp!—does without vertical slats in its grille. So consider it something of a relief that BMW didn't experiment too much with the 2019 3-series' look.
As you can see in the photo above, the new 3 (far right) clearly hails from the same style-think as its predecessors . There are four headlights, two kidney grilles, and a nice long hood and short trunklid. It's a classic sedan shape with well-considered BMW cues and detailing—nothing more, nothing less. Inside, the story is the same, with a businesslike layout that's neither flamboyant like that of the Mercedes C-class nor coldly modern like the interior of the Audi A4. It's all classic BMW—and the rest of the 3-series suggests that dynamically, the story will be much the same.
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Unread 2018-11-07, 02:12 PM   #80
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2019 BMW 3-Series Touring Sheds More Camo, Looks Like A Sportier 5er







Rumor has it that BMW will unveil the all-new 3-Series Touringat next year’s Geneva Motor Show in March, thus rendering the old sixth-gen F31 model obsolete from a technological standpoint.

Compared to its predecessor, the new 3-Series Touring will be larger, more spacious, safer, smarter, more connected and according to BMW, more enjoyable to drive. It should also serve you better than its four-door counterpart if you need additional room for luggage.
Germany’s newest sports wagon
Unless you fancy the Audi A4 Avant or the Mercedes C-Class Estate more, odds are the new 3-Series Touring will immediately take over as Germany’s sportiest-looking wagon, at least for this segment, since something like the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is also technically a wagon.
This latest batch of spy images reveal a familiar design, one that seems to confirm everything we saw in those leaked patent images from last month.

Overall, this is a very modern car, resembling the larger 5-Series Touring only as far as the overall design language – otherwise, we can clearly see that both the headlights and the taillights have a more dynamic aesthetic on the 3-Series.
Inside, the new 3-Series sedan’s entire layout and available on-board tech will be carried over into the touring model, meaning it’s getting the same infotainment system, digital instrument cluster, trim levels, driving assistance systems, optional packages and so on.
As for its engine line-up, it will feature the G20’s range of available petrol and diesel power units, including a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot with 184 PS (181 HP) and 258 PS (254 HP) respectively, and a six-cylinder mill, good for 387 PS (382 HP). With the diesels, there should be 150 PS (148 HP) and 190 PS (187 HP) versions of a 2.0-liter engine, as well as a 265 PS (261 HP) 3.0-liter one.
Once on sale, the all-new BMW 3-Series Touring will challenge the likes of the Audi A4 Avant, Mercedes C-Class Estate and all-new Volvo V60.
PHOTO GALLERY


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Unread 2018-11-07, 05:51 PM   #81
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I want! Great looking wagon.
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Unread 2018-11-09, 02:52 PM   #82
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2019 BMW 3 Series: The Engineering Behind the Handling Improvements




BMW says the new 2019 BMW 3 Series, which debuted last month in Paris, “moves the game on once again in terms of driving dynamics.” So, to learn the tech behind what makes the new car handle better than its predecessor, I spoke with dynamics engineer Robert Rothmiller. Here’s what he told me.

The head of functional design and integration for driving dynamics of the new G20 3 Series broke down the main changes to the car’s handling into three categories: weight and track width, body and chassis stiffness, and technical systems. The first of those promises to give the car better grip in turns, the second could improve chassis response and comfort, and the last supposedly yields a better driving experience thanks to changes in the steering system and in damper technology.
I’ll begin by discussing technical systems, specifically steering. This is an area where the 3 Series has received significant criticism since the current generation F30 model launched with electric power steering, inspiring articles like Car and Driver’s “Steer Me, Feel Me: Exploring Why BMWs No Longer Excel in Steering Feel.” But Rothmiller says his team has made improvements.
Technical Systems


Steering Feedback



Not long after the current-generation F30 BMW 3 Series launched to much criticism about steering feedback—a term defined as how well a car communicates grip to the driver via the steering wheel—Car and Driverhooked the car up to a $3 million kinematics and compliance machine and compared it to its predecessor. The conclusion? “The most significant change from the E90 to the F30 results from the switch to electric power-steering assist, which diminishes feel,” the magazine wrote.
In particular, the test measured feedback by looking at “aligning torque,” which is a torque created by the force between the road and each front tire, and that tends to straighten the wheel during a turn—similar to what you’ve probably noticed in a shopping cart wheel. That self-aligning torque in a turn can be translated through the steering tie rod, steering rack, steering shaft, and finally to the steering wheel, helping the driver feel what the front wheels are up to. Here’s what Car and Driver found about the aligning torque of the F30 and E90:
The K&C machine reported that aligning torque is 64 percent lower in the [F30] 328i than in the [E90] 335i. While the switch to electric power steering may improve mileage, it’s a bummer for Bimmer driving satisfaction.

This method of measuring steering feedback is similar to how BMW itself does it, with Rothmiller telling me the Bavarian automaker quantifies steering feel by reading the torque at the steering wheel at a given vehicle lateral acceleration. And in that measurement, he says, the new G20 3 Series is up to 10 percent better than its predecessor thanks in part to changes in suspension geometry.
The general suspension setup, which you can see above, is the same as that of the outgoing F30 3 Series. There’s a double-joint spring strut front suspension and a five-link suspension in the rear, but it’s not literally the same, even if it looks similar. “It’s kind of a whole optimized system. There was not the possibility to carry one single part from predecessor,” the dynamics engineer told me.




With the new 3 Series, engineers have increased a dimension called Nachlaufstrecke. In english that’s mechanical trail, also called caster trail. It’s related to caster, but while caster is an angle, this trail is a linear distance.
Defined as the horizontal distance between where the vehicle’s steering axis intersects with the ground and the center of the tire’s contact patch (see yellow in the image above), trail is an important metric because it essentially quantifies the “lever arm” that the lateral force exerted by the road onto the tire (this force would push inwards at the “center of contact patch” labeled above during a turn) has to rotate the wheel about the steering axis to create that self-aligning torque.


That steering axis, it’s worth mentioning is “virtual” in that it extends from the top strut mount to an imaginary point, and not to a single joint. This is because there are two ball joints in this “double-joint spring strut suspension” about which the knuckle rotates.
But this “trail” lever arm between the force of the road and the steering axis isn’t the only thing affecting how much grip information gets transmitted to the driver. Rothmiller also mentioned the distance or “lever arm” between the steering tie rod end and the steering axis (which he says BMW reduced for better feedback) and also the steering rack gear ratio. He told me that the new car’s 10 percent steering wheel torque improvement is a product of optimization of these ingredients.
“The front axle is designed to give you more mechanical feedback at the steering wheel,” he told me, so that the driver can better feel if the car is understeering or oversteering, and that the vehicle’s handling remains predictable and honest.
One thing that’s worth mentioning is that we didn’t really discuss the calibration of the electric power steering assist, which is often blamed for “filtering” out the torque that the wheels would otherwise want to transmit to the steering wheel to generate feedback. One possible reason why Rothmiller didn’t mention it is that new power assist calibration might not have affected feedback as much as the aforementioned geometry changes. Car and Driver, who spoke with chassis division head Jos Van As and who got to drive a prototype 3 Series, seems to confirm this theory, writing:

Van As says one key lesson his team learned is that relying on the tuning latitude afforded by electric power steering—such as automatic self-centering—tends to mute feel. This time around, they worked more on the underlying kinematics, and to good effect.
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Unread 2018-11-09, 02:58 PM   #83
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Steering Directness




BMW has been messing with variable steering for a while now, much of it hated by purists. The problem has been that the idea of steering that’s quick in corners but not darty while making little adjustments on the highway seems good, but the application of the idea feels weird.
As it turns out, there’s a mechanical part that’s responsible for the strangeness, one that BMW changed up.
Unsurprisingly, Rothmiller mentioned altering the new variable sport steering setup that comes with the M Sport and adaptive M Sport suspensions. Here’s how it works.
Rothmiller says the new steering offers 2 millimeters of additional lateral rack travel per degree of steering wheel rotation in the center, whereas the old sports steering had a similar on-center ratio as the standard rack.

But in a turn, well off center, the steering ratio changes thanks to an increased gear spacing in the rack. As Rothmiller told me, the previous car’s setup yielded a sudden change in ratio thanks to a sharp step in the spacing of the gear teeth on the steering rack. He drew a picture to help explain this concept:



At the center of the rack, the gear teeth are close together, meaning the ratio of steering wheel input to wheel output is relatively small, yielding less sensitive steering when driving straight at high speeds. But as the driver turns the steering wheel, it rotates the pinion, whose teeth then mesh with rack teeth farther spaced out, yielding more wheel angle change per steering wheel angle change, meaning the steering is more direct.

In the plot above, the dashed line represents the old BMW sport steering design. Notice how there’s a sharp step up from the less sensitive on-center ratio to the lower ratio in the turns. This sharp step, Rothmiller told me, could possibly cause a driver to turn too hard into a bend if they couldn’t anticipate the ratio change.
The revised sport steering setup smoothens out the transition from a high steering ratio on center to a lower steering ratio in turns by gradually increasing rack gear spacing, as shown by the dotted line in the plot above. The change, Rothmiller says, is all about precision, and creating a predictable steering setup for the driver. This is an example of how the 3 Series’ changes are not just about raw handling figures, but about reducing the effort needed to drive the car fast.
Between this and the changes in the steering geometry, BMW thinks it has improved the overall steering experience of the new 3 Series.

Lift-Related Dampers


Rothmiller also talked about the 3 Series’ suspension system, especially touting the car’s all-new “lift-related dampers,” which make their BMW debut as standard on the regular G20 3 Series and M Sport models, and which vary damping forces as a function of wheel travel.
He even drew me a diagram of how they work:


On the left, labeled “RA” for “rear axle,” there’s essentially a smaller damper within a damper, which—when the car is unloaded—remains out of the smaller tube. But when you throw some weight in the trunk, go over an undulating road, or enter a turn quickly and cause significant load transfer, that damper can enter the smaller tube, and provide more damping.
“As soon as the additional piston dives into the smaller inner tube, of course you get a higher damping force,” Rothmiller told me. But it doesn’t have to dive entirely into the inner tube to have an effect. Rothmiller pointed out that as the piston reaches about 0.8 to 1.2 inches into its roughly four-inch downward travel, it achieves a phenomenon that he called “Staudruckeffect,” which I understood to be a stall condition in the main chamber caused by the rapidly diminishing area between the smaller piston and the main chamber walls. (As you can see, the main chamber tapers down in size.) This condition yields higher damping forces even before the little piston enters its tube.



Rothmiller drew the rear damper once more below in the normal ride height position (labeled “1b” below) and in a slightly compressed position (“1a” below), along with a force vs. displacement plot (number two)—a standard visual representation of how dampers behave.


The force versus displacement curve represents the damping force created by the shock as a function of its displacement (at a given shock velocity). Everything above the X-axis (quadrants three and four labeled in black) represents a car’s wheel in rebound—the shock is extending. And everything below is the wheel in bump (quadrants one and two)—the shock is compressing.
Imagine you’re in the new 3 Series and you drive over a rock. At normal wheel ride height, let’s say you’re at the point “1" that Rothmiller drew on the plot 1a. As you hit the bump and the wheel goes up, “displacement” goes down as the shock shortens, but instead of following the normal “football” curve that’s characteristic of a standard shock, the slope gets bigger in magnitude, and there’s more resistive force countering the wheel’s upward movement.

Chinese chassis supplier BWI group offers a similar type of damper, and shows the additional damping force via the plot below:

The shock otherwise behaves like a normal damper. Thus, this lift-related rear dampers act to increase damping forces only towards the end of compression by up to 50 percent, which is why BMW also refers to it as a “compression stop.” The front axle dampers, shown on the right, work in much the same way as the rears, except they increase damping forces during rebound only. The shocks consist of a smaller inner diameter-tube within the larger tube, as well as additional rings around the piston rod. The idea behind focusing on additional rebound damping at the front versus compression damping in the back, Rothmiller told me, is to alleviate any concerns of front wheel lift when hitting a bump, and to help keep the rear under control as its squats. He described the idea further to Road & Track, saying:
If you’re driving on an undulating road, the front axle helps you throwing out, the rear axle helps you diving in, or pushing through. We call it the “skyhook.” You’re hooked to the sky and never lose the horizontal position.

This standard, purely mechanical lift-related damper setup on the front and rear of the new 3 Series, he told me, helps with handling in undulating roads, yielding “much more body control.”
Weight and Track Width




Rothmiller told me that two important parameters that could play a role in improving the new 3 Series’ handling are track width and weight. The first is a point we mentioned in our introduction of the new G20 generation: The distance between the centers of the tires on the same axle is up 1.7 inches inches in the front and 0.8 inches in the rear.
It’s worth mentioning that it’s not surprising to see a track width increase on a family car growing more mainstream like the 3 Series. After all, one of the selling points of the new car is its increased roominess, but nonetheless it’s a dimension that Rothmiller claims will improve the car’s cornering grip over the outgoing car, so it’s worth examining here. If anything, it’s interesting to see how engineers work in terms of limitations and tradeoffs in such a jack-of-all-trades car.
The track width gains, Rothmiller told me, are generally limited by a number of factors, including parking garage sizes around the world (particularly in Germany and Japan), as well as by desired vehicle turning radius, which has to be small, but which is limited by the elastokinematics (the degree of motion factoring in material elastic deformation) of the front suspension.
“On the other hand, it should not be too heavy,” he went on. “We have to be as small as possible and as wide as necessary,” he told me, pointing out that the 3 Series in particular can’t be wider than the 5 Series, and that there are architectural bounds.










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Unread 2018-11-09, 03:04 PM   #84
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As far as weight, Rothmiller says that—despite the car being 2.9 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider, and 0.5 inches taller than its predecessor—overall heft has dropped 121 pounds compared to a similarly equipped F30 3 Series. “Almost every single part in the car is lighter,” he told me, going on to say that it wasn’t just the big parts like the aluminum hood and fenders (which together save 33 pounds), but rather an “intelligent” use of materials throughout the vehicle.

BMW’s press release uses the same “intelligent” term to describe the material mix of aluminum and high-strength steels, which yielded a 44 pound lighter body structure. It’s worth mentioning that BMW’s U.S. media site has curb weights for the automatic-only 330i and 330xi as 41 pounds and 58 pounds more than the outgoing models, respectively. I suspect this apparent increase has to do with with the new car’s additional standard equipment.
But perhaps just as important as how much the car weighs is where the car weighs. In the fore-aft dimension, the new 3 Series maintains the 50:50 weight distribution of its predecessor, though in the up-down dimension, the center of gravity has dropped by 0.4 inches. And this, along with the wider track width, could make a significant difference in how a car drives.
“The wider track and the lower center of gravity allows you to drive faster around the corner,” Rothmiller told me.

Effects of a Wider Track and Lower Center of Gravity



Though Rothmiller didn’t get into the particulars of how track width and a low center of gravity affect handling, and though I’m far from an expert in vehicle dynamics myself, one way that improving these two dimensions helps is in reducing load transfer—the change in vertical forces acting on the wheels due to lateral acceleration—during cornering.
Reducing load transfer can improve overall grip because of a concept called tire load sensitivity. In essence, this term describes the fact that the coefficient of friction between a rubber tire and pavement actually decreases with load, or normal force, at a given slip angle—this is an inherent property of rubber.
A tire’s overall grip doesn’t decrease with vertical load—it still goes up—but the rate at which grip increases with vertical tire load drops due to that drop in friction coefficient, as is shown in the decreasing slope of the extremely simplified plot below (there’s a similar plot on the website Racing Car Dynamics).


Here’s how tire-load sensitivity relates to load transfer: In the drawing above, case one represents a 4,000 pound car driving through a turn with no load transfer whatsoever. Two thousand pounds of vertical load are exerted on the inner and outer sets of tires (for simplicity, we’ll just treat the inner and outer sets of tires as single entities). So the inner set of tires and the outer set of tires are both at coordinate “A” shown, a point that corresponds to a traction of “2" (an arbitrary number I made up). Total traction is simply the sum of the traction of the inner and outer sets of tires: four.

Case two represents a car in the middle of a turn where lots of load transfer has occurred. It shows the outer tires having more load than the inner: 3,000 pounds versus 1,000 pounds. The outer tires—now at point “C”—have more grip than before, at 2.5 (up 0.5), but their grip didn’t increase as much as the inner tires’ grip decreased to coordinate “B” (down one point). Thus, because of the significant load transfer, overall available lateral force generated by the car in the turn is reduced to 3.5 compared with 4.0 in the case of a car with the same load on all tires.
This is an extremely simplified example with made-up units, but the point is this that, because the rate of change of a tire’s maximum lateral force with respect to vertical load on the tires (the slope) decreases with vertical load, minimizing a car’s load transfer helps maximize traction in the lateral direction.


To understand how the new BMW 3 Series’ lower center of gravity and wider track width help keep load transfer down, it’s simple enough to imagine in your head that something low and wide is less likely to want to tip, and transfer load to the outside in a turn.
If that’s not intuitive, have a look at the free body diagram below or the one on Racing Car Dynamics. It shows a car in the middle of a left-hand turn, pulling a certain lateral acceleration, a. The forces acting on the car are the vehicle’s weight, W (which acts through the car’s center of gravity and downward), normal forces Ni and No countering the vehicle weight, and centripetal forces (represented here by tire friction Fi and Fo) which are countering an apparent centrifugal force, ma (the product of the car’s mass and its lateral acceleration).
If you’re not a fan of math, go ahead and skip to the equation below.
To understand how much load gets transferred to the outside wheel in such a turn as a function of lateral acceleration, track width, and height of center of gravity, we realize that the car is not rolling over in this scenario, and thus, the sum of all the moments created by the product of the various forces and their lever arms must equal zero.


Let’s look at those moments. There’s the weight of the car trying to turn the vehicle counterclockwise about the outside wheel (with a lever arm of half the track width since we’re assuming the center of gravity is in the center of the car), there’s the normal force acting on the inside wheel (with a moment arm of T, the track width), and there’s the centripetal “force” ma (with a moment arm of h, the height of the center of gravity) trying to rotate the car clockwise.

With a bit of arithmetic, you find that the vertical force acting on the inside tires during a turn is the initial vertical load, W/2, minus the product: the mass of the car times the lateral acceleration times the height of the center of gravity divided by the track width. In other words: it’s the initial vertical load minus mah/2t. If we want that acceleration to be put in terms of G, we realize that “a” in terms of “G” is simply “a” divided by gravity. Substituting that in, we find that the load transfer is directly proportional to the center of gravity, and inversely proportional to track width.


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Unread 2018-11-09, 03:07 PM   #85
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Looking at this equation, it’s apparent that both a lower center of gravity and a larger track width decrease load transfer in a turn, and thus—due to tire load sensitivity—the overall lateral force available in a turn are increased. This is why the new 3 Series’ lower Cg and wider track could make a significant difference in handling—specifically in available cornering grip.

This same principle of tire-load sensitivity is why the car’s 50:50 weight distribution is so important in maximizing grip, as Engineering Explained mentions here.
Body and Chassis Stiffness




Chassis rigidity is something you hear a lot about in the auto industry, and for good reason. A floppy chassis doesn’t respond quickly to steering inputs, nor does it tend to ride or handle well, since the body’s flex effectively acts as another uncontrolled spring as the car’s suspension hard points are displaced due to elastic deformation.
BMW says the rigidity of the 3 Series’ body has increased by 25 percent compared to the predecessor, with gains as high as 50 percent in “certain areas.” Rothmiller told me that “certain areas” refers to the top mount on the front suspension and also the front subframe mount.
The result, according to BMW, is that the car’s suspension, particularly its performance suspension variants, can “go about their work in the most efficient way possible.” Rothmiller told me that, especially in the case of the M340i model and other performance variants with sharper springs, dampers, steering, brakes, and especially bushings, the stiffer body was key. “The old components would be, simply speaking, too soft,” he said. Using stiff bushings, dampers, and springs on a soft chassis, he told me, would not be fun to drive, nor would it be comfortable.
According to BMW’s press release, suspension spring rates on the M Sport and Adaptive M suspension are up 20 percent over the previous 3 Series “without loss of comfort.” Stiffer spring rates are good for reducing body roll in turns, but a stiff spring acting against a body that can deform is hardly effective or cushy.
The way that the company was able to score these improvements, Rothmiller told me, has much to do with changes to the way BMW did its modeling.
“We learned a lot about how to model and how to simulate with the computer the stiffness of the chassis and body,” he said, telling me the team used to measure body stiffness at the jack mounts, but now it measures stiffness from the road surface, through the tires, up through the chassis, and even to the driver, optimizing accordingly.
There’s a Lot More to It




Rothmiller mentioned a number of other changes that could help the new 3 Series handle better, like a rear axle whose toe and camber are designed to be neutral over the wheel stroke to keep the back end from essentially steering itself, new tires, a new brake booster, and new brake hydraulics for the M-Sport brakes that promise a “sportier pedal feel.” Not to mention, there’s the available Adaptive M suspension which BMW says gets electronically controlled dampers with “new valves and an optimized control algorithm.”
But based on my discussion with Rothmiller, the big story seemed to be about increased body stiffness, improved steering geometry and directness, the new stock lift-related dampers, and changes to overall vehicle dimensions.
BMW says the new G20 3 Series’ ride, handling, and steering are better than its predecessor. “It has to be the ultimate sports sedan. There was never a question on that,” the company representative told me over the phone, strongly.
We’ll find out how all of this translates into the real world when we get time behind the wheel later this year.
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Unread 2018-11-13, 06:31 PM   #86
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2020 BMW M340i Emerges Just Shy Of A Full-On M3







With the release of the new seventh-generation 3 Series, performance enthusiasts the world over have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new M3. And we’ll have to wait a little longer. But this ought to fill the void in the meantime.

It’s the new M340i, and it’s the most powerful non-M 3 Series that BMW has ever made. It’s set to debut at the LA Auto Show later this month, but the Bavarian automaker has spilled the beans ahead of time to give us more than just a faint idea of what to expect.


At its heart sits a 3.0-liter straight six with a single twin-scroll turbocharger that helps it kick out 382 horsepower (275 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. That’s more power than all but the two most recent iterations of the M3, and more torque than all but the outgoing model.
Full performance specs are still to be released, but BMW says the new M340i xDrive will be capable of rocketing from a standstill to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in just 4.2 seconds. As is typical of German automobiles, top speed remains electronically limited to 155 mph (249 km/h).
The power is transmitted to the rear wheels (or all four in the xDrive version) through an eight-speed automatic transmission. And the M340i also features an M Sport suspension or available active setup with new-fangled lift-related dampers, electronically controlled differential, a variable steering rack, and upgraded brakes measuring 13.7 inches (348 mm) at the front (gripped by four-piston calipers) and 13.6 inches (345 mm) at the back (with a single-piston caliper).


As you can see, the M340i has also been visually upgraded both inside and out. All this on top of the features that set the latest 3 Series on which it’s based apart from previous iterations of the benchmark sports sedan.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but the new top performance version of the BMW 3 is set to launch next summer.
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Unread 2018-11-14, 03:50 PM   #87
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ow Does BMW’s New M340i Stack Up Against The Mercedes-AMG C43 And Audi S4?








BMW’s seventh-generation 3-Series is looking poised to take its segment by storm, with a new M340i version here to keep us warm until the M3 flagship comes along.

The M340i happens to be the most powerful 3-Series version (short of the M3) that BMW has ever built, thanks to a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight six, putting out 374 PS (368 HP) to go with its 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. On top of that, you can have it with rear-wheel drive or an xDrive all-wheel drive system.
What about the alternatives?
The M340i has a lot of things going for it. Performance aside, you could easily describe it as being more modern than both the Mercedes-AMG C43 as well as the Audi S4. Since it’s based on the all-new G20 3-Series, this latest version of the saloon is rocking the same dynamic exterior design, a longer wheelbase than its predecessor and sharper character lines, somewhat reminiscent of the latest 5-Series.



You might find a bit more style if you choose the Mercedes, especially since this 2019 AMG-styled C43 model also features a new grille, sportier-looking front and rear bumpers, enhanced aero elements, trunk lid spoiler, larger wheels, side skirts and a wide array of sporty interior mods.
As for the Audi S4, it is perhaps the most visually subdued car here, even though it also has a beefier front spoiler, larger wheels and quad exhausts. It goes without saying that Audi really needs to hurry up and come out with an all-new version of the A4 – especially since Mercedes have already begun testing their next-gen C-Class.
Still, if you only care about performance and you don’t want people to instantly notice that you’re driving a “hot saloon”, the S4 could be a good choice.
I want the best tech
Inside, all three of these cars get a carbon fiber look, sports seats, loads of contrast stitching and sporty steering wheels, although the M340i’s is just chunky, whereas the other two have flat bottom designs.
Another common feature shared by all three is the digital gauge cluster, which the C-Class got only recently. However, it’s hard to deny the 3-Series’ advantage when it comes to on-board tech. It’s also obvious that the BMW and the Mercedes have way better-looking paddle shifters (if you care about that sort of thing), whereas the S4’s seem more plasticky and barely even visible.



Despite all these differences, we can see the appeal of all three interior designs, although knowing what we know about the W205 Mercedes C-Class, we wouldn’t be surprised if the M340i’s cabin quality would surpass that of the C43’s, with the S4 being slightly better in that department as well.
Which one is the quickest?
As you can imagine, they’re all pretty similar in a straight line. Technically, the 2019 Mercedes-AMG C43 has the most power with 390 PS (384 HP) on tap, whereas the S4 has 359 PS (354 HP) of its own. The M340i claims a zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) time of 4.2 seconds, whereas the Audi needs an extra 0.2 seconds and the Mercedes another 0.4 seconds – an increase in power for the 2019 model year didn’t lead to a better sprint time for the C43 unfortunately.
All things considered, which of these three sporty saloons would you rather have and why?











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Unread 2018-11-15, 10:27 AM   #88
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So Is the BMW M340i a Four-Door Supra Or What


For years I have dreamed of getting a Toyota Cressida, a rear-drive four-door sedan that shared its heart with the Supra of its day. Now with the Supra coming back, done in partnership with BMW, I have to wonder: The new four-door Toyota Supra is the BMW M340i, right?

BMW recently gave us the specs on the new not-quite M3 and reiterated what we all knew was going to happen.


The M340i and the Supra share the same engine, BMW’s B58 3.0-liter turbo straight six good for 382 hp and 369 lb-ft. Pretty much all that we dug up as different was the turbo and the oil pump when we delved into the Supra parts roster.



Both cars rock ZF 8-speeds and both send power to the rear wheels. And beyond that all sorts of other Supra parts are BMW items. Even the door locks are shared.

So if you want something that shares the same potential and aftermarket as the Supra, but with a bit more practicality, isn’t the M340i your car?






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Unread 2018-11-15, 01:28 PM   #89
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2020 BMW M3 gets manual, RWD, AWD — but just how, exactly?

A lot of speculation over how a host of drivetrain options will be offered




BMW Blog has been trying to put the pieces together that make up the production 2020 F80 BMW M3. According to one of the blog's sources, the first maxed-out version the new G20 3 Series sedan will come with a six-speed manual as well as an automatic transmission, in all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive drivetrains. The question yet to be answered is whether there will two distinct options, one or the other, or if the M3 will use the switchable M xDrive system from the M5.

BMW designed the M xDrive, which has a 2WD mode, to work with the ZF eight-speed transmission as found in the newest M5. However, the M5 needed that sturdier transmission to handle 553 pound-feet of torque, substantially more grunt than the coming M3 will harness. If there are two separate M3 drivetrain options, mimicking the standard 3 Series, BMW Blog suspects the manual will only go into the rear-wheel-drive version.

Since we don't know the drivetrain breakdown, the transmission issue remains open. Earlier this month, BMW Blog wrote that in the case of a manual M3, "chances are it won't be with the M xDrive system." Perhaps solving the quandary of complexity, last month Car wrote that it was "safe to expect a somewhat less complex version of the all-wheel drive" from the M5, perhaps indicating a unit more friendly to a manual. At the same time, though, Car and Driver said the current seven-speed dual-clutch transmission would migrate to the coming M3, but that seems a long shot considering the latest rumors.

A turbocharged inline-six will fit under the hood, with estimates ranging from 450 to 500 horsepower. At the high end, that Car report said the new M3 would start with the same 493 hp and 442-pound-feet of torque available in the limited-edition 2016 M4 GTS. That would mark a 68-hp leap over the current M3, and shoot well beyond the 444-hp M3 Competition and 453-hp M3 CS. The primary foes ring in at 444 hp in the Audi RS5 Sportback, 469 hp in the Mercedes-AMG C63, and 505 hp in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. Yet at 493 hp, the M3 would have plenty of room to grow past 500 hp in hotter Competition and CS versions to parry with the Giulia and 503-hp C63 S.




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Unread 2018-11-15, 08:13 PM   #90
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BMW Reveals Plug-In Hybrid 330e With Up To 288HP And 37 Miles Of Electric Range








Following the reveal of the M340i, BMW has dropped the first official information on the plug-in hybrid member of the range, namely the 330e.

The new BMW 330e combines the company’s latest eDrive technology with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine.
The petrol engine produces 181hp (184PS/135kW) while the electric motor adds a constant 67hp (68PS / 50kW). The latter however features a peak output of 107hp (109PS / 80kW), which will come handy in a moment. BMW says the combined output of the new 330e’s plug-in hybrid powertrain is rated at 248hp (252PS) and 309lb-ft (420Nm).
The highlight of the new electrified powertrain is BMW’s new XtraBoost function, which is enabled via the Sport driving mode. That makes the electric motor contribute up to 40hp (41PS) over its constant peak output, better supporting the petrol engine in dynamic driving conditions. That translates into a combined peak output of 288hp.

Other important PHEV-specific figures include an estimated all-electric range of up to 60km (37 miles) -50 percent more than the previous model– and a top speed of 140km/h (87mph) in Electric mode. The plug-in hybrid 3-Series is estimated to return a combined 138mpg UK (2.0lt/100km) and emit 39g/km of CO2.
BMW claims that the new 330e is capable of doing the 0-100km/h (62mph) in 6.0 seconds and hit a top speed of 230km/h (143mph).

The eight-speed Steptronic transmission features a model-specific shifting programme complete with brake downshifts, combined with an accelerator pedal curve that feels more precise and sporty than ever.
For better packaging, the electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to its clever design, the PHEV-specific transmission is just 15mm longer than a conventional gearbox unit in other 3-Series models.
The lithium-ion battery pack features a 12 kWh capacity and is mounted underneath the seats, while the fuel tank rests above the rear axle. Luggage space is slightly restricted to 375lt.

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Unread 2018-11-17, 10:48 PM   #91
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Something went wrong. Please make sure you added the video correctly.

Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weYEr_oCfqo
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Unread 2018-11-21, 11:36 AM   #92
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2019 BMW 3 Series Spotted In The Real World













Away from the glamorous lights of an auto show, the new 3er still looks sharp.

Last month’s Paris Motor Show served as the venue for the world debut of the all-new BMW 3 Series (G20) exhibited in the City of Lights in the 320d and 330i flavors. These are the only versions currently on sale in domestic market Germany where the diesel is optionally available with an all-paw xDrive setup. Fast forward to present day, one of our readers has spotted in Munich, Germany what must be a production-ready prototype driven by a BMW employee taking into account customer deliveries in Europe won’t begin until March next year.




Looking sportier and sharper than the model it replaces, the new 3 Series is more than just a scaled-down 5 Series as we believe there are enough design differences between the two sedans to easily set them apart. Nevertheless, we’re sure some would’ve wanted a bit more variety in terms of exterior design, but that’s just how things are nowadays in the automotive industry.









Since its introduction in Paris at the beginning of October, the 3 Series lineup has already been expanded with the introduction of the sportier M340i (with rear- or all-wheel drive) and the thrifty 330e. In addition, numerous M Performance Parts have already been revealed for those who are finding the standard car such as this one to be a bit on the bland side.

Eventually, a new M3 will join the family, but not before the introduction of the 3 Series Touring (G21) next year in March at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. If reports are accurate and hopefully they are, BMW will finally make up for lost time by introducing a wagon M3 to give the Audi RS4 Avant a good run for its money.


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Unread 2018-11-27, 10:09 AM   #93
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BMW 3 Series Touring Wagon Continues Strip Teasing



Rumors also suggest BMW could finally build the M3 wagon of our dreams.
The new BMW 3 Series Touring wagon continues strip teasing as it moves closer to production ahead of its reveal at Geneva next March. Seen driving on city streets, the front of the wagon is fully exposed. As you would expect, the styling changes from the new 3 Series sedan have carried over such as the LED headlights and redesigned kidney grille, making for a sleek-looking wagon.











The G20 3 Series sedan is also larger than its predecessor, so we’re expecting new Touring model to have an even more spacious cabin than the current 3 Series Wagon. At the rear, there’s also a small spoiler and the same L-shaped taillights as the sedan. Inside, the new 3 Series comes with a 5.7-inch digital instrument screen and 8.8-inch infotainment display as standard. This setup can be upgraded to an optional 12.3-inch instrument display and 10.25-inch infotainment screen, so expect these options to carry over to its wagon sibling.
It’s a similar story for the engine options. Expect a choice of either a 255-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a 382-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six. Rumors also suggest BMW will launch a high-performance M3 Touring to rival the Audi RS4 Avant. Yes, our dreams of a BMW M3 wagon could come true. Unfortunately, BMW still hasn’t confirmed if the new 3 Series Wagon will be sold in the US, but it will launch in Europe in 2019. It seems unlikely though, given the decline in wagon sales over here, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

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Unread 2018-12-01, 09:24 PM   #94
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#LAAutoShow: STUD or DUD? What Do YOU Rate The BMW M340i Now That You Have The BEST Real-life Pics From Its Debut?











It wasn't too long ago that BMW dropped the curtains on its all-new 3-Series.


At first I was a bit disappointed. It looked more like an Infiniti Q50 or Lexus IS than a teutonic, German machine.


**READ the BMW M340i's press release HERE!

Before I passed the ultimate judgement on the latest Bimmer though, I decided to see what else the Bavarians had up their sleeve. As usual, they weren't over just yet.

That's because before the debut of the next-gen M3 and M4, the big dog for the interim will be the M340i. Boasting a six-cylinder powerplant and approaching 400 horsepower, it's going to be a lot of car to handle.

Ultimately though, one of every buyer's biggest factors for an automobile purchase is how it looks. Equipped with a more aggressive styling package, the all-new M340i may not be everyone's cup of tea. Having said that, we wanted to ask you, the Spies, what you think.

The all-new M340i. Is it a STUD or DUD?
































































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Unread 2018-12-07, 02:57 PM   #95
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Purely From A DESIGN Perspective, Does The All-new BMW M340i's Kidney Grille Look AWESOME or AWFUL?




When the all-new BMW 3-Series made its primetime debut not too long ago, the first thing that my eyes were drawn to wasn't its new front grille.

That's because when the vehicle first appeared, it wasn't wearing anything peculiar or off putting.

Instead, BMW showed us the 330i that would lead off.

The Mark McGuire of 3-Series', the M340i, was to be debuted a bit later. And when that arrived on the scene, it had some totally different dental work.

Seen for the first time in person at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show (LAAS), the M340i has a completely new type of kidney grille. Inspired by the all-new Z4's look, it's a solid piece up front with what appear to be little pieces of jewelry up front.

Rather than look traditional and timeless, the M340i's grille looks like bling and akin to a rapper's teeth.

So, I've got to ask: Does the all-new BMW M340i's front grille look AWESOME or AWFUL?


Los Angeles Auto Show































































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Unread 2018-12-09, 04:57 PM   #96
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Official: New BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon Won't Come To America

The news has been confirmed. Crossovers have won.
If you’re keen on buying a new BMW 3 Series wagon then you’d better act fast because we can now officially confirm the body style won’t return to the US with the upcoming G20 generation. A BMW spokesperson has confirmed to CarBuzz that “BMW of North America has no plans to bring the next generation 3 Series Sports Wagon to the US market.”


So that’s that. No more wondering, for the few who did. What do we mean by that? American BMW customers want crossovers, such as the hot-selling X3 and all-new X2. Wagons have not been popular in the US for some time, and BMW has ultimately decided to stop selling them due to low demand. It’s basic business.





Although we don’t have exact figures breaking down wagon versus sedan sales numbers, it’s not like you see 3 Series wagons on the road very often. Currently, the outgoing model is available in only one configuration: the 330i xDrive, powered by a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder with 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, with power directed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 328d turbo diesel wagon will cease production this month.
Last summer we learned BMW is expected to sell the new G20 generation 3 Series sedan alongside the outgoing F31 wagon and Gran Turismo when it goes on sale next spring. Both wagon and Gran Turismo will be 2019 models.












Our spy photographers previously caught test mules of the new G20 generation 3 Series Sports Wagon and, along with leaked patent images, we already know more or less what it will look like. Too bad Americana won’t see it in the flesh unless they travel to an overseas market, such as Europe, where it will be sold. BMW also could not provide an official reveal date for the next 3 wagon, though we suspect this will happen at Geneva in March. But it doesn’t matter much now does it?
BMW has sold the 3 Series wagon in the US since the E46 generation, but that’s now sadly come to an end. Mercedes-Benz, interestingly, still sells its C-Class wagon in Canada but not the US. The E-Class wagon is what Americans can buy.
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Unread 2018-12-10, 01:08 PM   #97
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That Weird Notch on the 2019 BMW 3 Series Is Actually a Nod to the Iconic E46




The world fell to silence on October 2 when BMW revealed the first awkward press photos of the seventh-generation 2019 BMW 3 Series. Why did the back end look like a Lexus? Why does the front have a weird notch in the headlights? Has BMW lost its mind? Well, no, it’s just the Germans trying to be cute.

At the global first drive event for the new 3 Series in Portugal last week, BMW offered a brief design presentation to explain the inspiration for the new body style of the G20 3 Series—a design which really grows on you after a couple of days seeing it in person, by the way.

In that presentation, the audience of bored faces all awoke at the mention of the new car’s headlight notch being inspired by everybody’s first or second favorite 3 Series, the E46.
Evidently, the vertical line stretching up from the bulky black radar emitter and leading into a shark-fin shaped intrusion on the headlight is meant to evoke the lower shape of the old E46 headlights, specifically the beams of the facelifted 2001 car, which had a pointed curve jutting up into the headlight, too. Take a look:





Look at that. Those sure are similar, now that it’s been specifically brought to my attention, but I definitely missed the point at first (ha ha).
Did this little bit of designer inspiration change my opinion of the new car’s design? Not really, but I will say that having driven it around for a few days photographing it for tomorrow’s first impressions post, I have warmed up to the new look of the 330i quite a bit. Even the rear-end.
Now knowing what you know, how do you feel about the notch? Would you feel better about it if it also had a headlight washer function like the old one? Is this a good nod to the past? Does the notch mean the G20 also drives like the old E46? Find out tomorrow!
That’s because our first drive review drops tomorrow! So you gotta wait, like, a day! Just a day!
Wait.
(At least they didn’t try to go for the 325ti look again

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Last edited by JDLM; 2018-12-10 at 01:12 PM..
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Unread 2018-12-11, 06:45 PM   #98
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The 2019 BMW 3 Series Is Back to Being a Great Driver's Car Even Without the Manual





Where the outgoing car was dinged for a harsh ride, tight interior, vague steering and diminishing appeal, the all-new 2019 BMW 3 Series has an overhauled suspension, is stretched longer and wider, features reworked steering and has boosted both power and torque.



It’s still not quite as charming as classics like the E30 or E46, but it’s good enough to make you question how much you value a manual transmission.


(Full Disclosure: BMW wanted me to drive the all-new 2019 BMW 3 Series so bad it flew me business class to and from Portugal, fed me the best octopus I’ve ever had, and opened up the Algarve International Circuit in Portimão to me, which was pretty cool.)



It’s fair to say that the outgoing F30 BMW 3 Series was starting to show its age. Complaints about its rough optional adjustable suspension setup, empty steering feel and fairly reserved styling began to overshadow a car that otherwise had decent power and fine driving dynamics, though it never seemed to completely rise the occasion of 3s before it.


Don’t get me wrong—it was a very good car. Hard to argue with, in many ways. But most critics agreed it failed to capture the magic BMWs used to have, and even we decreed the best thing about it was the available six-speed manual. That option is now dead on this new car, codenamed G20.


Plus, now it has to deal with new competition, like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Kia Stinger, and even the manual-optioned Genesis G70 that we’re already fairly smitten over.


I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Hyundai’s nascent luxury division is going to prove to be a real headache for BMW’s reputation if they can’t find a way to get the new 3 Series to outshine the shadow of losing a manual option. So how does it fare?




Specs That Matter

Well it’s good news that both the new 330i and M340i start off with more power and, allegedly, no weight penalty despite getting wider, longer and taller.



The 2019 330i’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is up to 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and will be available with either rear-wheel drive or xDrive all-wheel drive. The BMW 330i goes on sale in March starting at $40,250 for rear-wheel drive, with xDrive at a $2,000 premium. I don’t know the exact price of the car I drove will all of its M Performance options ticked, but it’s probably somewhere in the mid-50s if compared to the outgoing car.


The 2019 M340i is only available as an M-Performance model now, with its 382 HP and 369 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six, also available with xDrive or, for the U.S. only, rear-wheel drive.



You wanted a sport sedan, and that’s your ticket.


Since the event BMW invited me to was a global launch, I also had a chance to drive the European-only 320d, which offers 190 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque from a diesel four-cylinder. It was deceptively fun, so much so I kept bouncing off the 5,000 rpm limiter because I forgot I was driving a diesel. It is not coming to America, because reasons.



The sorry news is that the 330i is America’s entry level model, meaning there’s zero chance of finding a new 3 Series for under $40,000 stateside, which doesn’t really matter to BMW because these cars are for made for leasing these days anyway. Along with the diesel and the manual, the wagon is dead in America too.


The U.S. also has a new 330e iPerformance plug-in hybrid coming in 2020, which is set to get a boost in EV range with more details still to come.


The wider chassis results in a lowered center of gravity, BMW claims weight distribution is closer to 50-50 than the outgoing car, and it even claims the car has dropped “up to” 120 pounds compared to a similarly equipped F30, which is pretty damn impressive.



Looks

Gone are the bland, rounded taillights in the back and that awkward hood-line cutting straight across the top of the roundel up front, and in its place is a rear end pulled straight off of the Lexus RC F and a front fascia that’s a spitting image of the new 5 Series from about 20 feet away.



I told a BMW representative that the word among the journalists on the trip was “Lexus” following the design presentation, and this person winced. In the corner of their eyes, tears, and a new vein on the temple.


The new headlight notches communicate that BMW is trying to evoke some of the charm and esteem of the E46 3 Series, which I honestly didn’t even realize was a reference until somebody pulled up a photo on their phone and pointed it out.





As for the new rear-end, well, BMW tried. Sure, it’s simplified, but by minimizing the “iconic” L-shaped taillight design into a single curved red blade housing a smoked square brake element was maybe sliding the scale a little too far into oversimplified.


Funnily enough, the first car I drove on the trip was the Euro-only 320d, which gets strangely shaped three-pointed stars on the lower front and rear bumpers. It’s the same trim design BMW opted to go with for the U.S. 330e, so you’ll be seeing it around anyway, though it’s not really quite as sharp as the 330i, which I think looks the best out of the range. It has a little bit of character, at least up close, without going too far with the lines and creases like the M340i.


I think it will age well and grow on people, but I could see some pretty significant changes coming for the inevitable mid-cycle refresh, particularly to the back end treatment.




On The Road

The biggest room for improvement for enthusiasts over the outgoing car is probably the steering, and BMW’s people told me they went through an obsessive engineering storm trying to work as much road-feel and tactile information as possible back into its electronically-assisted setup.


It’s the type of thing that’s perfectly scrutinized on the curvy hillsides of the Iberian Peninsula, where the roads go from smooth ribbons of pavement to sudden stretches of Nerds Rope. The system is good, and when compared to cars that aren’t the Alfa Romeo Giulia, it is indeed sporting.
In the “Sport” setting there is a significantly noticeable amount of welcome vibration and bump and lump feedback compared to the comfort setting, and if I was configuring an individual driving mode I’d probably make sure Sport was doing full-time steering duty.




There’s still a little bit of give at the center for casual driving, but input stiffens up naturally in athletic driving, it goes where you point it, and there was plenty of feedback for adjustments, like dodging a pothole in the corner or even feeling the tires slipping over gravel. It’s communicative enough to keep you aware of the limits of grip and let you catch the countersteer when you “accidentally” slip the tail end out in one of those large European traffic circles.


It’s a good system. It’s still not the princess and pea, but it’s come a long way from feeling like trying to grab the biggest teddy bear in the claw machine.


A lot of the fun of the car comes from how satisfyingly capable it is at flying into a curve, tightening up and then launching you back out, which is how it feels even in the diesel car thanks to the upgraded chassis and improved standard suspension that can comfortably soak up a surprise speed bump without even hitting the bump stops.





I don’t remember being rocked around too much in aggressive driving, in part thanks to some finely bolstered chairs and the traditionally good BMW driving position, and I felt like I was always angled and positioned with the car, instead of feeling like the car was moving independent of me, like fresh sneakers on a freshly buffed court. It didn’t feel big nor heavy despite the dimensions growing, and it handled like it was just eating up the road beneath me.

At highway speeds there is a little bit of wind noise from somewhere above the A-pillar, and BMW has tried to mitigate it with new standard acoustic glass in the windshield. With the radio off, I also experienced a noticeable amount of tire noise, but didn’t notice it with music playing even at a low volume.





The new interior is simplified and streamlined, with BMW’s new widescreen interface with iDrive 7.0 and the new digital driver display setup with inverted speedometer and tachometer to make room for a navigation map right in front of the driver.

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Unread 2018-12-11, 06:52 PM   #99
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The heads-up display is now also huge and adjustable, but still doesn’t work well with polarized sunglasses, and kind of makes most of the information in the driver display redundant, which is a good thing. It’s nice to get the speed warnings and nav directions without ever having to move your eyes away, or while your co-driver is busy trying to figure out the infotainment system menus.

On The Track

The highlight of the trip was the 10 laps of the Algarve International Circuit in a prototype M340i xDrive, which coincidentally is also where I lapped the 2018 Jaguar I-Pace earlier this year.


The I-Pace, rather obviously, just doesn’t compare to the M340i, and it’s incredible how much shorter a track can feel when you’re in a truly quick car.




The first five laps I was behind former Formula One driver Timo Glock in an M2 Competition pace car, who showed off by getting sideways a lot. As good and as quick as I found the 330i to be on the street, the M340i feels ballistic, and I really can’t doubt BMW claims it has a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.2 seconds or quicker. Remember, this thing has nearly 400 horses now, and it feels like it.


Considering the short amount of time we had on track, I really only focused on whether or not the M340i could prove to me that it’d be worth the bigger sticker price over the 330i. For that answer to be yes for me, it had to not only feel almost immeasurably more powerful, but also have a bit of an edge to it that made it more rewarding to drive.



Algarve is a great track, probably most notably for its rather extreme and sudden elevation changes offering plenty of force-shifting blind corners. Of course, I had a pace car and some strategically placed cones to guide me along, as well as my new friend Timo on the radio giving me a turn-by-turn guide.



The first five laps were fun, and then the radio instructions dropped off and I hit the DSC button once to partially disable it. Then the rear-biased all-wheel drive system got very rear-biased and we started to get sideways.
While there were a few slow corners that resulted in a touch of understeer, it was nothing extreme or discouraging and probably more a symptom of me trail-braking a little too far into the corner while trying to keep an eye on the YouTuber in front of me that kept steer-slinging the car into getting its rear-end out, which wasn’t exactly necessary.



With DSC in the sport setting, getting sideways is so easy it almost feels like a Chris Harris simulator. You turn into the corner, power out and you can feel the moment the wheels start to slip and the weight of the car casually shifts. The cliché line is that it felt like a dance, but hey, it did.


As somebody who isn’t constantly trying to force a car sideways all that often—I prefer to keep any drifting to my personal time, you see—the M340i feels telepathic. Having hit 143 mph on the straight, it’s good in a straight line, too. It never quite had the edge I was looking for, but maybe turning DSC all the way off would do the trick. Either way, I can’t wait to get back in this car and try it again.
What’s Weak

Two things I didn’t love about the new 3 Series were made abundantly obvious in the lap time. The steering wheel is too thick—I’m somewhat obsessed about why steering wheels are getting so thick and nobody will tell me a good reason why—and I think it could even be part of the steering feedback complaints BMW is trying to fight off.





The second obvious thing from the track was the piped-in engine and exhaust noise. While the note itself is very good, its clarity and purity is distractingly strange and synthetic.


Other than that, I was disappointed with some of the interior finishes on the car. Some of the trim is a silver plastic with a black trapezoidal pattern that’s just bad, like a low-res inverted attempt at mimicking carbon fiber or something. I was also confused as to why every single car I drove—the 320d, 330i and M340i—all lacked passenger door lock/unlock buttons, but had a dead panel insert instead. Why can’t my passengers unlock the doors?




None of the cars I drove had any sort of glass roof or sunroof optioned, and the interior felt very dark and slightly oppressive even in broad daylight as a result. I would opt for letting more light in if you can squeeze it.


There’s also a new BMW personal assistant in the car that’s supposed to be like the iPhone’s Siri, but it completely lacks the functionality it needs to be useful and the polish to be intuitive. To activate it, you say “Hey BMW” followed by a list of commands, like, “I’m cold,” and it will turn the temperature warmer and even activated your heated seats on the lowest setting. If you tell it “I’m tired,” it blasts electronic music and cold A/C for a few minutes. It’s a hell of a party trick.


But if you tell it to change your steering mode to “Sport,” it neither changes it nor takes you to the appropriate screen to change it. Instead, it presents a list on the screen on how to navigate manually to the right menu, which completely defeats the purpose of a voice-activated assistant.



You can also change the activation phrase for it from “Hey BMW,” to something like “Hey Daddy,” as one group did. Another group changed it to, “Hey Now, You’re An All Star.” I would not recommend this.




About That Lack Of A Manual

For a long time, the 3 Series was the car everybody pointed to as the most fun in its class not only because it was more refined, better to drive and just damn popular, but sometimes simply because it was the best of a dying breed of accessible manual cars. And now even it’s dead.

Fortunately for those who are going to go out and buy one anyway, the ZF eight-speed automatic is still fantastic, tuned again to be even sharper, even quicker, and even more distracting from the inherent sadness of relegating driver control to two paddles hidden behind the steering wheel. How am I supposed to impress my passengers with my ability to seamlessly downshift? How else will I feel like Jason Statham during a bank heist?




But BMW would tell you it’s better this way. It makes for faster shifts, quicker acceleration, and better sprint times to highlight in press releases. Behind closed doors, BMW would also probably point to class competitors that have dropped manuals with virtually zero impact on sales. And then it would point to the M4, which will keep the manual for at least this next generation.

But it’s open season on the stick shift, more than ever. Now other automakers won’t have the 3 Series to point to as reason enough for competing with a manual. Maybe the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Genesis G70 will be the last sticks that aren’t behind six-figure paywalls, and good for them.
Eventually it’ll be electric cars that kill manuals forever, as they don’t even really need gears as we understand them, but for now this is a big nail in that coffin.
It would have been really nice to get this one last generation of the 3 Series with the option, especially with all of its improvements and when they’re throwing out that Ultimate Driving Machine slogan again. But it really seems like they’ve moved on, and the cars are a little bit quicker for it—and we’re all a little bit sadder.
Early Verdict

The fact that the manual is gone from everything, except maybe the M3, sucks because the new car is engaging, tactile and rewarding to drive, and a stick would only elevate it.


BMW’s decision to axe it goes against Road & Track’s claim that nearly 25 percent of six-cylinder F30s were sold with a manual, and it doesn’t even connect with BMW’s own messaging of returning the G20 3 Series to its sports sedan roots with power upgrades, tweaked steering and a sharper chassis.




However, ever since the new 3's debut, BMW has been aggressively coy about the prospect of the next M3 getting a manual, and again, it’s promised to keep it around for the next M4. It’s definitely not gone for good, it’s just going to be relegated to the sportiest tier.


And the lower models still get more power than before, a great 8-speed automatic transmission, a super-soaker chassis setup that’s finally comfortable without punishing me for wanting to be a little silly, improved steering and a rewarding driving experience that will justify going out to drive for the sake of it.


BMW has managed to get enough of the classic 3 Series characteristic into the 330i and even the 320d to make it seem like everybody wins, even if you can’t afford the biggest sticker on the lot.


Maybe the greatest gift BMW ever gave the used F30 market is a manual transmission, but the G20 is going to be one hell of a lease for everyone else.




















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Unread 2018-12-11, 07:51 PM   #100
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