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Future models - BMW - 3 Series - 335i coupe

First look: BMW’s bristling new 335i coupe

Dinstinctive: All-new Three coupe features unique sheetmetal and lighting.

BMW reveals a distinctive new twin-turbo 3 Series Coupe earlier than expected

24 Apr 2006

BMW has revealed its all-new 3 Series Coupe earlier than expected following the publication of leaked images on a US website last week.

In a virtual repeat of the fiasco that saw the E90 3 Series sedan revealed via a leaked official brochure in August 2004 - more than 12 months ahead of its Australian launch - the two-door version of the same model was officially revealed over the weekend after breaking cover more than a week ahead of its scheduled reveal tomorrow (Tuesday).

Led by a cracking new 225kW/400Nm 335i variant powered by the new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six revealed last month, the E92 won’t receive its public premiere for another five months – at September’s Paris motor show.

The new 3 Series Coupe will then make its Australian debut at the Sydney motor show in October, by which time it will already have arrived in local BMW showrooms with full specifications and pricing.

Apart from being more heavily differentiated from its donor sedan than ever both inside and out, BMW says the E92 will bring new levels of driving dynamics - thanks in part to the all-new turbo six that makes its world debut in the new Three coupe.

Claimed to be the world’s first twin-turbocharged straights six as well as the first direct-injection engine to power a BMW road car, the new all-aluminium engine is claimed to significantly increase torque and acceleration without increasing fuel consumption.

BMW claims 0-100km/h acceleration of 5.5 seconds – 0.6 seconds better than the new R6-engined 330i coupe and 1.1 seconds better than the current 330i sedan – along with average fuel consumption of just 9.5L/100km.

Hence, the 335i Coupe will bridge the gap between the 330i coupe and the next-generation M3 flagship, which is expected to discard its acclaimed 252kW inline six for a lightweight M5/M6 V10-derived 4.0-litre V8 that produces around 300kW.

Interestingly, while BMW says its most powerful 3.0-litre inline six weighs 70kg lighter than an equally-powerful 4.0-litre V8 (such as that in the 540i and 740i), its two small turbochargers are claimed to offer more power and torque more instantaneously than a single, larger turbo.

As well as offering peak (400Nm) of torque from just 1300rpm, the twin-turbo six has the ability to rev to 7000rpm.

While an all-new M3 is not expected to surface until late next year, BMW has confirmed that apart from the 335i, the global E92 range will comprise the 160kW 325i Coupe, the 200kW 330i Coupe and the 170kW 330d turbo-diesel.

14 center imageThe latter won’t be offered, at least initially, in Australia, but expect all three petrol-fed coupes to offer the choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, the latter claimed to be 40 per cent more responsive than before. The next M3, however, will offer either the M5’s seven-speed SMGIII gearbox or an all-new six-speed double-clutch transmission.

At the other end of the scale, the entry-level 325i Coupe is powered by the sedan’s magnesium-alloy 2.5-litre straight six with Valvetronic, delivering 160kW and 250Nm. It sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 6.9 seconds, has a 247km/h top speed and claims best-in-class fuel consumption of 8.4L/100km.

Somewhere in the middle is the 330i Coupe, which completes the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.1 seconds.

We expect the 335i Coupe to land here with a pricetag of around $125,000, while the 330i Coupe should be priced at around $100,000 and the 325i Coupe at around $80,000, representing a significant price hike over the current 125kW 2.2-litre 320Ci coupe with five-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

However, the new 325i coupe will offer 19kW more peak power than the current 141kW 325Ci and the new 330i coupe will deliver 30kW more peak power than the current 170kW 330Ci.

The most distinctively styled 3 Series coupe ever features unique body panels, unique lighting (including standard bi-Xenon headlights across the E92 range) and even unique wing mirrors.

Compared to the E90 sedan, it has a lower profile, more wildly pumped wheelarches, new full-length upper and lower character lines and redefined Hoffmeister C-pillar kick.

Inside, the instrument panel is dominated by horizontal lines and is angled towards the driver, while the side panel design flows through to the rear seatbacks and the centre console is echoed by a new storage compartment between the rear seats.

BMW claims the spring-strut front and five-arm multi-link rear suspension systems are the most sophisticated in the E92’s class, while extra floor reinforcement and specific spring/damper tuning extracts the most from the new coupe’s 50/50 weight distribution and rear-drive layout.

In Europe, BMW will offer a specifically-tuned Active Steering system as an option to the standard rack-and-pinion system.

Latest-generation DSC stability control and a lighter, more rigid bodyshell are claimed to further raise the new model’s dynamic ability, while a new seatbelt feeder system, similar to that found in Mercedes’ CLK models, will be offered.

BMW claims boot capacity of 440 litres (430 for the 335i) sets a new class standard.

Joining the E90 sedan, E91 wagon (on sale here in 323i guise from May) and E92 coupe, the E93 cabriolet will complete the current 3 Series range when it debuts at Detroit in January – complete with a folding metal roof for the first time - before going on sale here in early 2007.

What’s coming from BMW:

E87 120d hatch – May 2006
E87 1 Series M Sport pack – May 2006
E87 130i Sport auto – May 2006
E91 323i Touring – May 2006
E90 320d turbo-diesel sedan – June 2006
E85 Z4 Coupe – August 2006
E92 3 Series Coupe – October 2006
E70 X5 – early 2007
E93 3 Series Cabriolet – early 2007
E92 M3 coupe – late 2007
New X3 – 2009
E89 Z4 redesign - 2010

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