Sunday, December 21, 2008

2009 BMW 3-series / M3 Sedan, Coupe, Wagon, and Convertible - Review

What's new, highlights, and safety info for the 2009 BMW 328i, 335i, and M3.


A perennial 10Best winner since 1992 and the favorite car of manyC/D staffers, the BMW 3-series sees a few minor changes for 2009, all designed to keep it looking fresh against newer competition. Completely redesigned for 2005, the freshening of the 3-series sedans and wagons is subtle, featuring new headlights and taillights, as well as interior refinements. Coupes and convertibles soldier on into 2009 with few changes. Fortunately, BMW has not messed with the 3-series formula of refinement, comfort, amazing driving dynamics, straight-line performance, and value.

The 3-series is available in four body styles: sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon. All choose from among the same engine options—the wagon is only available with the naturally aspirated engine, however—and available all-wheel drive, the latter of which BMW now calls xDrive. The 3-series convertible, however, is only available with rear-wheel drive.

Aside from the choice of body style, the 3-series buyer also faces several powertrain choices. Models designated 328i feature a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine that makes 230 hp and return between 25 and 28 mpg on the highway. The base engine is available in all four body styles. The next step up is a 300-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that powers the 335i sedan, coupe, and convertible. New for 2009 is the diesel-burning 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-six that makes 265 hp and a staggering 425 lb-ft of torque in the 335d sedan. The diesel hasn't been rated by the EPA as of this writing, but it is expected to achieve city/highway fuel economy pf 23/36 mpg. Nearly all 3-series come with a standard six-speed manual and offer a six-speed automatic as an option, but the 335d is automatic only. At the very top of the 3-series range is the high-performance M3, which comes as a coupe, sedan, or a convertible. With 414 hp from its 4.0-liter V-8 and a track-tuned chassis, the M3 is the ultimate 3-series.

Keep Reading: 2009 BMW 3-series / M3 Sedan, Coupe, Wagon, and Convertible - Review



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