BMW 3 Design: Arresting forms and attractive lines enhance sporty looks and comfort
The BMW 3 Series Sedan is the original in the compact sports sedan segment and over the years has come to symbolise the aesthetic appeal, dynamics and sporting capability of BMW. With its dynamic and elegant lines, the sixth model generation of the world’s best-selling premium vehicle highlights the sporting character of the brand’s mid-size model.
Although the new BMW 3 Series has grown in all dimensions compared to its predecessor, it retains a perfect balance of sportiness and elegance. As in previous generations, the sedan’s dynamic proportions are shaped by the sweeping bonnet, short front overhang, long wheelbase and set-back greenhouse typical of BMW.
Striking front end with precise contours and multi-faceted surfaces.
The wedge shape of the new 3 Series’ silhouette and its wider track (+ 37/47 mm at the front/rear) underline the sporting appearance of the new BMW. By clearly accentuating the width of the car, the multi-faceted surfaces of the expressive front end give the BMW 3 Series a sportier face than ever. A wide, squat interpretation of the upright, slightly forward-slanting BMW kidney grille emphasises the stance of the new BMW 3 Series. LED accent lights positioned like eyebrows above the striking twin headlights with corona rings (if xenon headlights are specified) lend an extra intensity to the classic BMW focused look.
The headlights now extend up to the frame of the kidney grille, merging the headlights and grille of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan into a single stylistic unit and adding further emphasis to the car’s broad-set stance. The BMW 3 Series replaces the central air intake of its predecessor with two larger intakes, which are positioned underneath the headlights to the outer edges of the front end and add extra depth to the car’s sporty styling. On the far left and right of the main ducts are small vertical intakes which help create the “Air Curtain”. This new technology improves air flow around the front wheels, enhancing aerodynamic efficiency and reducing fuel consumption at higher speeds.
The closely spaced, squat openings of the kidney grille, with their eye-catching surrounds, form the most prominent element of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan’s front end design. This is also where the precise lines of the heavily contoured bonnet finish. The result is a front end that appears lower-slung, giving the BMW 3 Series a clear sporting edge when viewed head-on.
Precise lines produce a stretched silhouette and enhance the car’s dynamic impact.
Powerfully taut surfaces with sweeping lines dominate the side view of the BMW 3 Series Sedan, stretching the car visually and lending extra verve to its dynamic stance. The flanks of the car are shaped by an eye-catching “double swage line” made up of two character lines running alongside each other. The higher swage line emerges out of the low-slung front end and flows over the front wheel with an understated sweep, in a nod to the sedan’s fleetness of foot. The second swage line develops lower down behind the front wheel and follows a delicately arching path towards the rear. Together, they reinforce the dynamic wedge shape of the car’s flanks and create vivid light and shade effects below the swage line, which draw further attention to the car’s wide track.
The striking interpretation of the hallmark BMW Hofmeister kink at the base of the C-pillar injects the silhouette of the new 3 Series with even greater élan. Alongside it runs a fine contour line from the roof into the boot lid, giving the roof an even lower appearance from the side. The resultant sense of sporty yet elegant lightness spreads all the way down the sedan’s sides, with the slightly rising shade line low down on the heavily contoured side skirt adding further emphasis. The large light surfaces above the side skirt serve to enhance the lightness of the car’s flank lines.
Contrasting light surfaces imbue the rear with brio and energy.
The strong horizontal lines of the rear – including rear lights in customary
BMW L-shaped design positioned at the outer edges of the back end – accentuate the broad face of the wheels and wide track of the new
BMW 3 Series Sedan. The low-set reflectors on the far edges guide the vertical lines flowing out of the greenhouse over the rear lights to the wheels, lending visual emphasis to the car’s consummate road presence. A traditional BMW 3 Series design trait are the two lines below the rear spoiler and above the bumper, which frame the rear stylistically. Richly contrasting light surfaces give the rear end of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan a fresh dynamic flair, underlined by the interchanges between smoothly flowing surfaces, precise lines and defined edges.
The interplay of surfaces and lines fills the interior with life.
The interior of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan is straight out of the BMW design handbook. The driver-focused cockpit wraps around the driver and puts all the important controls within easy reach. The cockpit is angled towards the driver by seven degrees. The surfaces and lines flow over the instrument panel towards the front passenger side of the cabin, where they form a smooth, protective border. In the driver’s area all the lines converge on a single point behind the steering wheel and guide the eye towards the road.
The cockpit’s four circular dials (fuel gauge, speedometer, rev counter and oil temperature gauge) come with a black panel display. Positioned on the horizontally-structured instrument panel, the freestanding standard-fitted iDrive monitor with high-resolution display recalls the latest flatscreen televisions normally found in living rooms rather than cars. The monitor has no folding mechanism or binnacle, allowing the entire dashboard to retain its flat, smooth lines and giving the interior a lighter, more dynamic feel.
On the driver’s side of the deliberately asymmetric centre tunnel, a different trim surface and graining mark out the active driving elements of the interior, while the trim surface on the front passenger side exudes a pleasingly elegant air. Positioned centrally on the centre console within easy reach of both the driver and the front passenger is the standard iDrive Controller. Underneath the armrest – with optional fore/aft adjustment – between the front seats, meanwhile, is a compartment for mobile devices (e.g. mobile phones,
MP3 players and smartphones), which also contains a USB/AUX-IN socket.
More space, wide variety of storage compartments, even greater practicality.
The car’s larger dimensions (length + 93 mm, wheelbase + 50 mm) mean that rear passengers can now enjoy extra legroom. Behind the fully contoured front seats, 15 millimetres of additional knee room and eight millimetres of extra headroom further enhance the passengers’ comfort on the road.
Backrest nets available as an option as part of the storage package offer additional accommodation for small items, reflective vests and road maps. Larger pockets in the front doors, whose lines and surfaces open up towards the instrument panel, now have space for drinks bottles up to one litre in size. Added to which, two large drinks holders are now integrated into the centre console ahead of the gearshift lever. If desired, the cupholders can be swapped for an oddments tray, which is stored in a designated area of the glove compartment when not in use.
The new sedan offers 480 litres of boot capacity, 20 litres more than the outgoing model. And an innovative and practical solution allows extremely convenient access inside. If the optional Comfort Access is specified, the boot can be opened hands-free and without needing to use a key: all you need to do is move your foot around underneath the bumper to trigger the opening mechanism for the boot lid (see also BMW ConnectedDrive). He can then comfortably load as much as seven standard crates of bottled drinks, three golfbags or a pram over the boot sill, which is a mere 66 centimetres high.
Standard-fitting securing lugs hold the items firmly in place, while a storage tray under the load compartment floor and a deep storage compartment on the left-hand side accommodate small oddments. For bulky items, the optional through-loading facility includes a folding rear seat bench to allow flexible transport solutions. The 40:20:40 split rear backrests offer unbeatable versatility when you need to carry passengers and long items.
Three equipment lines shine the spotlight on the car’s distinct character traits.
High-quality material combinations and unbeatable build quality underline the premium ambience of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The materials and colour concept of the entry-level variant already clearly accentuates the sporting character of the car, but a large selection of colours and upholstery variants also offer scope for various other options. From the basic matt satin silver surface treatment to fine brushed aluminium and the homely feel of fine burr walnut wood, all trim surface options can be combined with either the cloth or one of two leather upholstery colours in the entry-level model. As well as the basic trim level, the new BMW 3 Series Sedan can now also be ordered with any of three equipment lines or an M Sports package.
Customers can therefore adapt the appearance of their car to their own individual preferences – with eye-catching results. The Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line equipment variants emphasise the different sides to the new BMW 3 Series Sedan’s character in their own individual ways. The exclusive, carefully coordinated equipment features embrace both exterior design elements and the selection of materials and colours for each model. In terms of value, design coherence and expressiveness, the new BMW Lines go far beyond existing packages in the premium class.
Sport Line: With eye-catching exterior features in high-gloss black, this new line accentuates the dynamic appearance of the BMW 3 Series Sedan. Eight heavily contoured black kidney grille slats in a chrome-coloured surround give the front end of the car a particularly sporty and alert look. The black inserts in the front apron make the air intakes appear larger and lend extra emphasis to the muscular wheel arches. 17 or 18-inch light-alloy wheels – depending on the engine variant – in double-spoke design (18-inch items are bi-colour) provide the athletic looks to match. Meanwhile, optional high-gloss black painted exterior mirrors and the standard high-gloss black B-pillar and window guide add an extra sporting flavour to the flanks.
A black trim strip on the lower crease underlines the width-enhancing effect of the rear styling, while the tailpipe embellisher is likewise black and rounds off the exterior’s sporty appearance. The sporty and exclusive ambience of the interior is expressed by contrasting black and red accents. Red trim rings, red scales in the circular dials, red stitching on the sports steering wheel and a base trim strip in high-gloss black with coral red accent strips all underline the sporting ambience of the cockpit. The standard sports seats can be specified in a choice of three upholstery variants and four colours. The ignition key for Sport Line versions of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan is identified by its black finish and red detailing.
Luxury Line: The discreet high-gloss chrome elements of this line lend the exterior of the BMW 3 Series Sedan a particularly elegant and exclusive appeal. The BMW kidney grille with 11 fine chrome slats, two slightly offset chrome trim strips in the front apron air intakes, and a high-gloss chrome trim strip running horizontally above the air scoop give the front end a striking appearance. As with the Sport Line, the B-pillar and window guide come in high-gloss black, and the window frame and weather strip are in chrome. Special 17 or 18-inch light-alloy wheels in multi-spoke design accentuate the stylishness of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan when viewed side-on. From the rear, the new Luxury Line is easily identified by its exquisite, high-gloss chrome trim strip – which extends across the full width of the rear apron – and its chrome tailpipe embellisher. Chrome elements also catch the eye inside the Luxury Line variant.
This is the only line which gives the radio and air conditioning units a chrome surround. High-gloss wood strips (with stylish inlays as an option) and seats with distinctive stitching and a choice of two upholstery materials in four classically elegant colours highlight an inviting, exclusive ambience. The ignition key (ID confirmation) for Luxury Line versions of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan can be identified by its black finish and chrome detailing.
Modern Line: In contrast to Luxury Line models, the high-class trim elements included in Modern Line versions of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan are all in satinated aluminium, underlining the contemporary character of this line. The BMW kidney grille, with 11 satinated aluminium slats, and double trim strips for the air intakes in the same colour give the front end of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan a particularly contemporary, classy touch. The car’s high-gloss black B-pillar and window guide blend smoothly with the satinated aluminium trim elements at the font and rear. 17 or 18-inch turbine-style light-alloy wheels strengthen the impression of this equipment line.
The harmonious lightness of the interior dispenses with strong contrasts. Instead, with a light upper side to the dashboard and a steering wheel in dark oyster, it generates an all-new ambience. Leather upholstery or cloth-leather combinations in oyster or black, and a choice of three trim surfaces with accent strips in pearl-effect chrome, further enhance the appealing interplay between materials. A trim element with three-dimensional wood surface structure lays on a whole new feast for the fingertips. Modern Line versions of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan are marked out by the oyster-coloured ignition key (ID confirmation) with matt silver detailing.
M Sport package: The M Sport package brings the ultimate in sporting makeovers to the new BMW 3 Series. An all-new aerodynamic package for the exterior clearly sets cars specified with this package apart from the base model and the three lines. Added to which, 18-inch light-alloy wheels (19-inch as an option) in hallmark M design, M Sport suspension and BMW Individual High-gloss Shadowline trim give the car that typical M look.
The car’s dynamic character is further emphasised by an optional exclusive M paint shade and optional M Sport brakes with contrasting blue paint finish. The theme continues inside the car with sports seats boasting distinctive cloth/Alcantara upholstery, trim elements with blue accent strips, an M Shortshifter (in models with manual gearbox), M door sill finishers, an M driver’s footrest and the new M leather steering wheel.
The BMW 3 Series: