BMW, the carmaker focused on delivering “Sheer Driving Pleasure” was founded in 1917 and is headquartered in Munich, Germany.
The German carmaker owns the brand Mini, which is the parent company for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and produces bikes under the BMW Motorrad banner.
World over, BMW cars are considered to be royal, pristine and very refined.
One very important reason for BMW to be able to maintain its position in the world auto segment has been its adaptive nature.
BMW cars have always been adaptive to change and have incorporated these changes, in terms of design, power, refinement, technology, etc.
BMW came to India in the year 2006 and since then, has very comfortably been maintaining its position at the top in the luxury car segment.
Though the entire lineup of BMW is quite commendable the BMW 3 series is one of the most popular amongst them.
3 series, not only in India but around the world has been one of the most celebrated models of BMW.
Taking the 37 years legacy forward, BMW 3 series has seen 6 generations now, with the recently launched 2012 model.
BMW 3 Series, 1st Generation: 1975 – 1983
The first generation of the BMW 3 series brought in a whole new segment with it.
The BMW 320 and BMW 328i also introduced the segment’s first 6-cylinder.
The first BMW 3 series were also known for their awesome design features that they flaunted.
Typical of the 1970s, these cars showcased a lot of chrome and came in as many as 16 colors.
The first 3 series had the two door coupe like body and were known for their precise steering.
Housed in there were a range of engines that were made available through the entire period of the 1st generation BMW 3 series.
The engines ranged from 4-cylinder 1.6-litre engine delivering around 75bhp, powering the BMW 315 to the 6-cylinder 2.3-litre mill, used in the BMW 323i which was capable of delivering 143bhp.
BMW 3 Series, 2ndGeneration: 1982 – 1994
This series included a lot of firsts for BMW. These firsts included, the first four-door car, classic BMW 3 series convertible and the BMW M3 sports car along with the first diesel and all-wheel drive models.
Till date, this generation is known to be one of the best BMWs of all time. Sometime in 1986, the 3-series saw the vehicle models that were designed to master winter conditions.
The car with standard 4-wheel drive, visco- coupling differential lock and series ABS that made it a smooth drive even on the snowy surfaces was termed as the 325iX.
This ‘X’ from then onwards became a symbol for 4-wheel drive and is used by BMW till date. There were nearly 23 Lakh plus units produced in the 2nd generation.
BMW 3 Series, 3rdGeneration: 1990 – 2000
The new 3rd generation 3 series brought in a new level of safety enhanced with the bonded front and rear windscreen, rigid floor pan, reinforced roof frame sections and torsion resistant pillars.
The 325i was a big hit with its sporty profile.
It achieved the 0-100kmph mark in just about 8 seconds and was powered by one of the best 6-cylinder engines.
The 3 series were more popularly known for the design change that they had brought in with wider kidney grille and twin headlamps.
The looks became more captivating and diverse. It was seen as a refresh, so much so that in the period 1990-2000, nearly 27 lakh plus vehicles were produced in the 3rd generation of the 3 Series.
BMW 3 Series, 4thGeneration: 1998 – 2006
With the fourth generation, the first direct diesel injection engine made its debut in the BMW 320d.
With this generation, the twin kidney grille became an integral part of the front fascia here on.
Overall, this generation 3 series started looking more mature.
The highlight of this generation was the BMW M3 which was enhanced with the inline engine which was capable of generating 343bhp at 7900rpm.
At that point in time it was undisputed with the no comparable engine capable of revving power higher than that BMW M3 produced.
BMW 3 Series, 5thGeneration: Since 2005
This generation came in with the EfficientDynamics features that make this car a complete package of intelligent features.
These sedans were low on fuel consumption, efficient in terms of economy, lightweight etc.
It is said that with this EfficientDynamic, BMW solved the problem of power vs. fuel consumption.
The 5th generation models received praise for their design dynamics, especially the convertible from this generation. These were equipped with retractable hardtop and the BMW 3 Series Convertible retails the character. In 2006, it was also voted as the “World Car of the Year” in its class.
Nearly 26 lakh plus vehicles have been produced in this 5th generation since 2005.
BMW 3 Series, 6thGeneration: Launched in 2012
This 6th generation of the 3 Series gives an all new meaning to hot, sexy and powerful.
This generation BMW 3 Series look sportier, athletic, muscular and more exotic than the previous versions.
With a ratio of 50:50 weight distribution across the entire chassis, even more enhanced iDrive system, BMW twin-power technology which helps in reducing fuel consumption and a rear-wheel drive, this new generation is even more comfortable and efficient.