40 Years Of The Legendary BMW 3 Series
The first BMW 3 Series debuted in 1975 and has since become the biggest-selling model range in the BMW line-up. The interior design and dynamic speed has proved that luxury and sports performance can be combined into one mid-size car. Just like the signature BMW Hofmeister kink, the special features remain a typical attribute of the 3 Series model range today.
BMW 3 Series – the first generation
Powerful six-cylinder engines and a compact body imbued the first model with an altogether unfamiliar and hitherto inconceivable degree of dynamic prowess. It duly attracted attention: in 1976 the BMW 320 was voted the world’s best sedan with up to 2.0-litre displacement by the readers of German car magazine “auto, motor und sport”, and sales reached a total of 1,364,039 units.
BMW 3 Series – the second generation
Emboldened by the success of the original model, BMW added several new variants to the second-generation line-up. From two- and four-door models, from the Convertible to the 3 Series diesel and from the 3 Series touring to the first M3 – Sheer Driving Pleasure could now be experienced by a whole spectrum of customers. The car’s burgeoning popularity saw production raised by 50 % after a year on sale. A total of over 2.3 million units of the second-generation 3 Series were sold.
BMW 3 Series – the third generation
The third generation of the 3 Series introduced a new design that stood out from the crowd as the face of the 1990s. The new line-up also offered a winning recipe of enhanced comfort while maintaining the same high level of sporting ability, coupled with an even wider variety of variants and new six-cylinder engines. “The best just got better,” summed up a clearly impressed “auto motor and sport”.
BMW 3 Series – the fourth generation
BMW hoped a fresh appearance for the 3 Series and clear use of forms would help continue the car’s already fine tradition. Also boasting powerful engines and a range of technological advances, the fourth-generation car became a darling of the automotive public, selling more than 3 million units.
BMW 3 Series – the fifth generation
When the fifth generation of the 3 Series was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005, it was already ahead of the curve when it came to fuel economy and emissions. At launch the 3 Series already met the terms of the EU5 exhaust emissions standard, which didn’t come into force until 2010. It also included equipment details, such as iDrive, Active Steering and cornering lights, unmatched by any of its mid-size rivals. This model 3 Series was crowned “World Car of the Year” in 2006.
BMW 3 Series – the sixth generation
The latest generation of the 3 Series arrived in 2012 and delivered a seamless continuation of the car’s success story. It also introduced an intriguing new development – a choice between Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line variants. The three model lines offered striking differences in the look of the kidney grille and the interior design. But these three takes on the 3 Series theme also had one thing in common: their unmistakable character and sporting DNA.
Timeline taken from BMW Group Classic.
Bill Jacobs BMW is celebrating with a BMW 40 Years of an Icon Sales Event. Check it out here!