E46

In March 1998, a long-awaited event occurred, the unveiling of the new 3 Series generation, the E46. During the development of the car, a quite reasonable compromise was reached between the desire to increase the capacity of the body and interior comfort while maintaining the dimensions that are typical for this class of cars (according to the European D classification group).

The wheelbase and dimensions are slightly increased, the track of the front and rear wheels is significantly increased – by 63 and 57 mm, respectively. The model’s own weight has increased (by about 50 kg) compared to its predecessors, despite the fact that the use of aluminum alloys in the front and rear suspension arms has reduced their unsprung mass by 8 kg. Luxury trim options and equipment at the level of more solid 5 Series models, which caused the complaints of many customers, is slightly increased. In general, the designers managed to maintain the previous operational qualities of the models of this series, which distinguished them from their analogues, as well as create a new, more modern look of the compact car.

The first models to appear were sedans, which began to be produced in parallel with four models of the previous E36 series with bodies: a 3-door compact hatchback, a 5-door touring station wagon, a 2-door coupe and a convertible.

The E46 sedan family received two new engines. Until the new generation of 4-cylinder 16-valve engines, the first base model was the 318i with a 1.9-liter, 8-valve four cylinder with 118 hp. For the first time on BMW 4-cylinder engines, two additional balancing shafts appeared to improve their smooth operation. On models 320i, 323i and 328i, the previous in-line light-alloy straight-sixes are installed, equipped with a new gas distribution mechanism with a Doppel-Vanos system that regulates gas distribution phases in a wider range. This made it possible to increase power at low and medium frequencies of rotation of the crankshaft and to shift the maximum torque from the previous 3950-4200 to 3500 rpm.

A fundamentally new function was a 4-cylinder 16-valve direct fuel injection diesel engine (with undivided combustion chambers), equipped with a high-pressure fuel supply system and turbocharging with intermediate air cooling. The new engine provided the 320d with high dynamic performance that exceeded the base model 318i and better (by about 25%) fuel economy. The relatively soft and quiet operation of this rather powerful engine with a liter capacity of about 70 hp/l is noted – the first-born of a new generation of highly efficient BMW diesel engines.

Among the technical innovations were a 5-speed automatic transmission with adaptive and manual control modes, the ABS braking functions have expanded, which not only prevents the wheels from locking, but also allows the car to navigate more easily into a braking turn (SHS), with traction control (ASC + T) also performing the functions of a limited slip differential. For the first time on cars of this series (although, as custom equipment on machines with 6-cylinder engines), the third generation of the so-called dynamic stabilization system DSC, which appeared several years ago on the series 7 and 8 models, is used. It helps the driver to drive the car constantly taking into account and evaluating instant information on the frequency of rotation of each wheel, steering angle, steering lateral acceleration and the center of mass of the car when changing its trajectory. Depending on the situation on the road, the DSC can release power and brake each wheel individually, thereby correcting the mistakes that the driver may make if, from the point of view of the DSC’s electronic brains, cornering or changing the trajectory is incorrect.

In 1999, the engine range was expanded by a 1.9 liter engine with 105 hp, which is a derated version of the 1.9 liter 118-horsepower engine. However, this modest engine is able to accelerate the car to 200 km/h, and to reach 100 km/h it takes 12.4 sEcon’s. In addition, at the end of the year, the 330d appeared with a new 184 hp turbo-charged diesel engine equipped, like the 2-liter turbodiesel, with a Common Rail system (common injection line).

In the same year, the two-door coupe was completely updated. As before, with external similarity, they do not have a single external part with a sedan; they are 17 mm longer, 18 mm wider and 46 mm lower. They are equipped only with gasoline engines with a working volume of 1.9-2.8 liters. The standard equipment of the coupe includes 16-inch wheels and a sports suspension with short and stiff springs, providing sharper handling characteristics.

In the fall, six models of spacious Touring station wagons of the new generation E46 went on sale. The engines are the same as on the sedan with the exception of the 1.9 liter (105 hp) four cylinder engine, which is not offered for the coupe. At the same time, production of the M3 with the E36 body was discontinued, so only the convertibles and Compact models were included in the old series in 2000.

In 2000, sedans and station wagons generally did not change much. The main news was the appearance of two 2.2- and 3.0-liter gasoline engines and three basic trim levels for sedans, which immediately divided buyers into supporters of sports style and comfort. For the former, the M sport is offered with sports seats and a steering wheel, stiffer suspension and 17-inch wheels. There are purely external differences. Options Comfort and Comfort Plus are designed for a softer ride and differ in both decoration and interior equipment. The name Comfort Plus speaks of a high level of standard equipment. It includes expensive xenon headlights, electrically heated front seats, the inclusion of wipers using a rain sensor, etc.

The world premiere of a convertible on the 3 Series chassis took place in March 2000 at the Geneva Motor Show, and the cars went on sale this spring. The outward resemblance of the convertible to the coupe is obvious, although the cars have different doors and rear wings. The cabriolet has safety arcs automatically triggered during rollover and a folding soft top that fits into a special volume container and can be dismantled. In the cold season, a hard top is installed that turns the car into a full-fledged coupe.

In June 2000, the lineup of sedans and station wagons was supplemented with all-wheel-drive 330Xi and 330Xdi complete sets with a new drivetrain. New cars received a modified front suspension and all-wheel drive through a transfer case with a Morse chain and an interaxle differential. In general, the transmission is similar to that used on X5 off-road vehicles. Instead of mechanical limited slip differentials, the ADB-X “automatic differentiation” system is used, which allows you to redistribute the traction forces on the wheels depending on their adhesion to the road surface by means of a working brake system. In addition, the vehicles use the latest in-line 6-cylinder engine with a working volume of 3.0 liters, created on the basis of a 2.8-liter unit. Piston stroke increased from 84 to 89.6 mm. Power increased by almost 20% – from 193 to 231 hp, which allowed heavier cars to have better dynamic performance compared to conventional models 328i and 328i Touring. Two other models (330Xdi and 330Xdi Touring) are equipped with the famous 2.9-liter turbocharged diesel engine with 184 hp. At the end of 2000, the entire family of “triples” found new options – 320i and 325i. For the first, the engine capacity increased from 2.0 to 2.2 liters, and power – from 150 to 170 hp. The working volume of the 2.53 liter model 323i unit remained the same, but as a result of the modernization, the capacity increased from 170 to 192 hp, and the machine index was changed to 325i.

The coupe family is now led by the recognized leader among the cars of this class, the M3. External differences of the car are in a different front bumper-spoiler with an enlarged air intake, stylish ventilation grilles on the sides of the front wings and special chromed alloy wheels. Inside, there are sports seats, a “three-spoke” steering wheel with an abundance of various function buttons and the now fashionable chrome bezels of round dials on the instrument panel. The working volume of the M3 engine is increased by 45 cubic cm, which allowed BMW to bring the power of this outstanding engine to 343 hp at 7900 rpm.

In November, the new Compact was declassified. The hatchback created on the shortened platform is distinguished by a new head optics with four separate different-sized round headlights (further development of the “eyelet” theme) and triangular taillights in which the separate reflectors are covered by common glass. The hatchback turned out to be 280 mm shorter than the sedan, but the wheelbase remained the same (due to the shorter rear overhang). Consequently, there is no talk of worsening conditions for the driver and passengers. In addition, everything a sedan is rich in will be available to the hatchback. In particular, the universal capabilities of the “compact” have been preserved: the separate backrest of the rear seat can be folded and the volume for transportation of luggage increased. The rear seat is cramped, but to facilitate landing, the front seats not only recline, but also move forward and up.

With the advent of Сompact, the Bavarian concern is completing the update of the lineup of the 3 Series E46.

In March, the first batch of BMW 3 Series sedans was launched at the Avtotor assembly plant. In Kaliningrad, only two modifications are assembled “treshki” – 318i (1.9 l – 118 hp, manual transmission or “automatic”) and 320i (2.2 l – 170 hp, only automatic transmission). Station wagons, coupes and four-wheel drive versions will be delivered from Germany. Although, as orders arrive, assembly of other modifications may begin.

At the 2001 Geneva Motor Show, there were two premieres at BMW’s booth. One is the official premiere of Compact. In addition, it became known for sure that the 325ti and 316ti modifications will be the first to enter the market (summer 2001). The vehicle’s wheel suspension will be sporty. Under the hood of the “three hundred and twenty-fifth” – in-line “six” with a capacity of 192 hp The maximum speed is 230 km / h.

And the second premiere was hidden under the hood of the BMW 316 compact. This is a new 1.6 liter Valvetronic family gasoline engine. The motor does not have the usual throttle – it replaces … an advanced intake valve drive! A complex system of levers and gears, driven by an electric motor and electronically controlled, constantly changes the duration and depth of opening of the intake valves so that it allows the most accurate metering of the volume of air sucked into the cylinders (the electric motor, turning the eccentric shaft, changes the shoulder of the intermediate lever; the more lever arm, the higher the intake valve lift). Bavarian engine builders spent 10 years developing this system! In the near future, Valvetronic technology will be implemented on all BMW engines, including V8 and V12 engines. And the first-born of the Valvetronic family was a 1.6-liter in-line sixteen-valve “four” that develops 115 hp and at the same time it consumes 10% less fuel than a “regular” engine of the same volume.

E36

The new BMW 3 Series lineup (designated the E36) appeared in November 1990. All the advantages inherent in the predecessor (the famous E30) were preserved and even increased in the new family. The company’s designers managed to find a modern and dynamic look (with an aerodynamic coefficient of 0.29) and the design of the front of the car was later called the “automobile face of the 90s”. A striking distinctive appearance underlines the power and dynamics of BMW’s corporate identity. Impeccable body assembly (with a six-year guarantee against rust) an increase of 10 liters in the volume of the passenger compartment and trunk, as well as an informative dashboard, high-quality interior materials, a wide range of in-line gasoline engines (with Bosch-Motronic injection) – all this, as well as the excellent handling inherent in all BMW models, were successfully combined in the 3 Series, which received due praise from consumers.

The first were the sedan models 316i (102 hp) and 318i (115hp) with four-cylinder engines, and the 320i (150 hp) and 325i (192 hp) with the new 24-valve inline-sixes. The elegant appearance of the machine hid the size and almost 200 kg of excess weight – the reckoning for passive safety. However, despite the completeness, cars using the previous four-cylinder engines were slightly inferior to their predecessors in acceleration, but surpassed them in maximum speed and efficiency. So the BMW 325i gained a top speed of 233 km/h, accelerated to 100 km/h in 8 seconds, ahead of its lighter predecessor. The new multi-link rear suspension made the BMW 3 Series more comfortable and easier to drive. The convertible and station wagon for some time was only available in the old model range. The four-door sedan of the new series was successfully remade by many German tuning companies.

In October 1991, the sale of the economical but frisky turbodiesel variant 325td (8.9 l/100 km in the city) began, which marked the beginning of a new attack on the market sector, in which BMW was already starting to lose points earned in the late 1980s.

In January 1992, a new two-door coupe named the 320i (150 hp), 325i (192 hp) and M3 Coupe (286 hp) debuted at the Detroit showroom. Despite the resemblance to a sedan, these cars do not have the same exterior body parts or windows. The compartment roof is 130 mm shorter, the hood is 80 mm longer, and the car itself is 50 mm lower. In September of the same year, six-cylinder engines received a VANOS valve timing control system for intake valves, which made them more economical and more high-torque. In March 1993, a convertible was introduced in Geneva. The car is characterized by a very high level of safety – there are rear head restraints that are retractable when tipping over. As an option, it was offered with an easily removable aluminum top.

In October 1993, instead of a 2443 cc diesel engine (324td), they began to produce new 2.5-liter high-speed turbodiesels with a capacity of 115 hp (in the 325td) and 143 hp (in the 325tds), which was first equipped with an intermediate air cooler (intercooler), as indicated by the letter “s” in the model designation (the same is true for other diesel models of this generation). The maximum speed for sedans reached 214 km/h.

In February 1994, the production of the three-door compact hatchback began with economical four-cylinder engines with a working volume of 1.6 liters (102 hp), 1.7 liters (turbodiesel, 90 hp), 1.8 liters (115 hp) and a 1.9-liter 140-horsepower with a 16-valve cylinder head. To reduce the price, in the rear, instead of a complex multi-link suspension, like other models of the family, there is a simple dependent suspension. The five-seater compact (as conceived by the company, a youth-student version) is quite a practical car for those who are not concerned about transporting things on their own: the useful volume of the luggage compartment is around 300 liters.

In August 1994, a 4-cylinder displacement of 1.7 liters and 90 hp joined the 6-cylinder turbodiesel. Then the new M3 went on sale with a 3-liter straight six with 286 hp, with sedan and convertible bodies.

In January 1995, a 328i (2.8 L) model appeared with a capacity of 193 hp, replacing 325i (2.5 L), which strengthened BMW’s position in the sector of economical sports models.

The long-awaited station wagon, named the Touring, which was absent from the production program for a year, was introduced in May 1995, when the 323i model was premiered, equipped with the latest aluminum in-line six with a working volume of 2.5 liters and a capacity of 170 hp. Acceleration was impressive, doing 0-60 in just 8 seconds, as well as the even more frisky 328i (with 193 hp). Capacity for a compact station wagon is not the most important thing, image is more important. The capacity of his trunk was only 1030 liters. The change in the index of the model with a 2.5 liter engine from 325i to 323i was explained by the fact that the new in-line 6-cylinder engine with an aluminum block developed less power compared to the cast-iron predecessor (only 170 versus 192 hp) and therefore customers didn’t think that the engines were getting weaker over the years.

For the Russian market, the company even developed a special “Russian package”: an increased clearance of 25 mm, a softer suspension and an adapted ignition system. To compensate for the increased loss of the body (due to the rise in the center of gravity of the machine), 16-inch low-profile tires were used.

In September 1995, the M3 was updated – a kind of proprietary tuning from BMW Motorsport. A new 3.2-liter engine with a capacity of 321 hp, coupled with a mechanical 6-speed gearbox, reduced the time to reach 100 km/h to 5.4 s!

In 1997, they conducted a small facelift (a slight modernization of the exterior) with additional body colors and upholstery, a traction control as standard for six-cylinder gasoline cars, heated aspherical rear-view mirrors, side turn indicators and a new design of the radiator grille. The M3 was one of the first BMWs where it became possible to the much-maligned SMG (sequential manual gearbox) a mechanical 6-speed automated gearbox with a hydraulic actuator and electronically controlled gears, which allowed you to drive like an automatic but retained the ability to shift manually without a clutch pedal. The compact model also acquired a 6-cylinder engine of 2.5 liters (170 hp) and was designated the 323ti.

E30

The E30 was BMW’s replacement for the previous E21 of the small 3 Series sedan line in 1983. At first, the E30 was more a modification of the E21 than a completely new car, and used mostly the same engines and equipment. The main design changes affected the front and rear suspensions and interior ergonomics. However, the designers of the company worked so intently on the appearance that the magnificent proportions of the E30 still delight BMW fans, and the style of this chassis has become considered one of the most iconic and classic. On the other hand, starting with the E30, the company abandoned the forward-sloping radiator grille, a former feature of all BMW cars over the past 20 years. This caused some murmurs in the ranks of BMW adherents. The E30 body got something, but BMW lost something.

Wagons and convertible models continued to be produced until 1993, but the production of the E30 was essentially discontinued in 1991 as a result of an update in the body of the 3 Series to the E36.

Wheelbase: 2565mm
Track (front / rear): 1412 / 1424mm
Length: 4345mm
Width: 1680mm
Height: 1370mm

The E30 first appeared in January 1983 as a single version of a 2-door coupe. Only a year later, in January 1984, buyers were able to choose a 4-door sedan, which at once greatly increased the popularity of the model. In 1986, the E30 convertible went on sale. And close to the end of production of the E30, the Bavarians introduced the station wagon. True, the luggage compartment could not boast a significant amount, but the car looked just fine. Another unusual addition for the time was the 325iX model with all-wheel drive, borrowing the transmission from the four-wheel drive 5 Series. Diesel versions of the sedan were also produced.

Of course, the most remarkable car in the E30 body is the M3 Motorsport designed for racing in the FIA ​​GT. This model has gone through many modifications and had 3 evolutionary versions in order to meet the changing requirements of the FIA. At the same time, the M3 was also on sale to the general public. The model was amazingly successful, constantly occupying the top rows of the performance charts. Paying tribute to the excellent qualities of the E30, it is still worth noting that for the M3 Motorsport was forced to make a special suspension, similar in design to the 5 Series (E28 body).

In mid-1987, the body underwent slight cosmetic changes. The radiator grille was slightly lowered, the chrome bumpers were replaced by more fashionable black ones (and subsequently painted in the color of the car), and the size of the rear lights increased. Almost all cars after 1987 have power steering and a much softer accelerator pedal.

Of particular note is the 325is, released in 1989-90. The car was equipped with special plastic spoilers, bumpers and sills, a suspension from the M3 and sports seats.

In just 9 years of production, over 2.2 million E30s were produced.

Initially, the younger E30 models used the old M10 four-cylinder engine, which was installed in the BMW 2002 and the E21. Then the M10 was discontinued and replaced in 1987 by the M40 with new injectors and more power. But the real miracle was the appearance in 1989 of the M40 modified engine, with the code M42. This engine with two camshafts and 16 valves was able to compete in power with the larger M30 engines, squeezing 140 hp from the same 1800cc and possessing unprecedented dynamism. The M42 lasted in production right up to 1996.

Most of the older E30 models (320i, 323i, 325i) used the wonderful M20 six-cylinder engine, sharing it with the 5 Series of the same years. The economical model 325e came with a low-speed 2.7-liter M20. The rare South African model 333i used the M30 “big six” engine from the 5/6/7 Series. Also were produced cars with the M21 diesel engine (6 cylinders, 2.4 liters) with and without turbocharging.

  • Disc rear brakes were placed only on the 318iS, all 325 models and on the M3.
  • ABS was standard only on the 325e, 325iS and on the M3. It was optionally present on later releases of the 320i, 325i and 333i.
  • Some older models (325, M3) are equipped with a traction control system (limited slip differential) with a coefficient of 25%. To check, the number of such a differential ends with the letter ‘Z’.
  • For detailed information on engines and their powers, see page engine codes.

E90

The 3 Series is the everyman’s BMW, the foundation of the financial well-being of BMW. Over half a million E90s were sold each year during the first few years of the E90. This is partly why the design of the car was devoid of risky decisions. Double round headlights hidden under glass caps, the famous “Hofmeister bend” on the rear pillar, a long raked hood and a slightly shifted back interior are all generic features of the brand. But Chris Bangle’s ideas still win. Amorphous taillights, metal body ribs sticking out at the level of door handles and along the thresholds, the shape of the optics… The basis of the new BMW E90 is the BMW 1 Series platform extended by 100 mm. The McPherson aluminum front suspension is new, and the five-link rear suspension is common with the 1 Series of cars. An extremely short front overhang indicates that the longitudinally mounted engine is shifted backward, behind the front axle – to achieve optimal weight distribution (50/50) and reduce inertia.

The car’s length is 4520 mm, with a width of 1817 mm, and a height of 1421 mm. The car has grown stout: the wheelbase is extended by 35 mm, and in terms of space in the back seat, the car should be compared with its main competitors, including the Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4. The torsional rigidity of the body increased by over 25%.

The interior is designed in the style of the BMW E60 5 Series – the center console is no longer angled towards the driver. The dashboard with two large gauges, electronic steering column switches, and an iDrive system.

The standard equipment includes a remote access system that allows you to open doors and start the engine without removing the key from your pocket (the engine is started with the Start button, as on the BMW 1 Series). There are six airbags, adaptive brake lights and safe run-flat tires with reinforced sidewalls, which in the event of a puncture allow you to drive almost 250 km at speeds up to 80 km/h.

The advanced DSC+ stabilization system is an extra option, which, in addition to performing its basic duties, is trained to continually dry the brake pads in rainy weather, gradually reduce brake force when stopping at low speeds and keep the car from rolling downhill when starting uphill. And when the driver abruptly takes his foot off the gas pedal at high speed, the DSC+ automatically brings the pads close to the discs – in case of subsequent emergency braking.

Another option, Active Steering (AS), which previously only came equipped on the 5 and 6 series, is also offered. The modernized AS system not only changes the gear ratio of the steering mechanism, but is also able to steer independently to maintain rectilinear motion during sharp braking on mixed surfaces – for example, on asphalt with spots of ice and snow. In addition, for an additional fee the car comes with bi-xenon headlights and separate climate control for rear passengers!

The engine selection for the first time will consist of four different units. At the top of the gamut is the BMW 330i with an upgraded in-line six engine, with a power of 258 hp (This is the first six-cylinder engine with the Valvetronic system). In addition, there will be a four-cylinder BMW 320i (150 hp), a six-cylinder BMW 325i (218 hp) and a diesel BMW 320d (163 hp). In the fall of 2005, the more modest BMW 318i and 318d rounded out the gamut. Later, a three-liter turbodiesel with a capacity of 218 hp will appear in the arsenal.

Six-speed gearboxes, both mechanical or automatic, will be combined with all engines.

In addition to the sedan is a station wagon model, which the Bavarians call Touring (E91 body). In 2006, two-door cars entered the arena – a coupe (E92) and a convertible with a folding hardtop (E93). The Quartet will differ markedly in style and equipment. The all-wheel drive version with the x-Drive transmission is being prepared (as on the BMW X3). Finally, not far the top-of-the-line version of the BMW M3 comes with a 400-horsepower V8 4.0 engine.