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BMW 3-series facelift first photos

Published: 11 July 2008

BMW has just lifted the embargo on photos of the new 3-series, after an American website published photos early. So here they are: a pair of photographs revealing the look of the – very lightly revised – ‘new’ 3-series. It’s a compact exec with a few surprises up its sleeve, including the ability to travel 60 miles on a single gallon of fuel…

Thankfully, the facelift has abolished some of the Three saloon’s dumpier overtones; there’s always been a bit too much Mitsubishi Carisma for our liking in the rear lights, for instance. It looks a lot better now – trust us, we’ve seen it in the metal.

Saloon and estate: both new Threes at once

That’s right, the four-door and Touring come first, but you can expect some of the facelift to spread across to the coupes and convertibles in fullness of time.

What’s new? Well the headlamps are subtly reprofiled, the bonnet is new and there are numerous detail changes to the styling that add up to a classic Germanic, evolutionary redesign.

And inside the facelifted 3-series?

Inside, there’s new trim but it’s hardly that different. The press material talks of ‘ergonomically optimised positioning of the window lift operating panel on the driver side’, for goodness’ sake. Rather more noticeable is the latest iDrive, which has been honed and improved some more – and now includes programmable short-cut keys. There’s also the BM joystick gearlever on certain auto models.

Look out also for BMW ConnectedDrive; the revised 3-series is the first BMW to get this gadget, which allows unlimited internet use from inside the car. We suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more about this particular gadget…

Click ‘Next’ for more tech details on the new 3-seriesNew tech then?

The 330d gains a new 3.0-litre straight six, mustering 245bhp and Euro 5 compliant know-how. It slots into a five-diesel and five-petrol line-up – and every one now includes Efficient Dynamics.

Look out also for the M3’s seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox, that’s now moved sideways onto the 335i coupe and convertible. It comes complete with paddles for finger-flicking fun as you nudge up and down the gearbox.

The full engine choice is as follows:

335i: 306bhp/295lb ft 3.0-litre six-cyl DI twin-turbo, 5.6sec, 155mph, 31.0mpg, 218g/km
330i: 272bhp/236lb ft 3.0-litre six-cyl DI, 6.1sec, 155mph, 39.2mpg, 173g/km
325i: 218bhp/199lb ft 3.0-litre six-cyl DI, 6.7sec, 155mph, 40.0mpg, 170g/km
320i: 170bhp/155lb ft 2.0-litre four-cyl DI, 8.2sec, 142mph, 46.3mpg, 146g/km
318i: 143bhp/140lb ft 2.0-litre four-cyl DI, 9.1sec, 130mph, 47.9mpg, 142g/km

335d: 286bhp/428lb ft 3.0-litre six-cyl TDI twin-turbo, 6.0sec, 155mph, 42.2mpg, 177g/km
330d: 245bhp/384lb ft 3.0-litre six-cyl TDI turbo, 6.1sec, 155mph, 49.6mpg, 152g/km
325d: 197bhp/295lb ft 3.0-litre six-cyl TDI turbo, 7.4sec, 146mph, 49.6mpg, 153g/km
320d: 177bhp/258lb ft 2.0-litre four-cyl TDI turbo, 7.9sec, 143mph, 58.9mpg, 128g/km
143bhp/221lb ft 2.0-litre four-cyl TDI turbo, 9.3sec, 130mph, 60.1mpg, 123g/km

Whatever you think about BMW, you can’t deny there are some pretty impressive outputs here. Just think about it: 60mpg and 123g/km in a compact executive? Expect to see plenty more poverty-spec 3-series on the company car choice lists some time soon…

More official information and photos of the new BMW 3-series as we get our hands on it

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet