2016 BMW 3 Series Adds Plug-In Hybrid Model

The 2016 BMW 3 Series will arrive later this year with a long list of mechanical and cosmetic enhancements, not to mention a fresh addition to the model range.

Following hotly on Mercedes’ coattails, BMW is introducing a plug-in hybrid version of the 3 Series called the 330e. The BMW 330e will be able to drive up to 22 miles without burning gasoline and should be able to run from 0-60 MPH in 6.1 seconds. BMW hasn’t finalized those numbers yet, but released preliminary figures today along with a 140 MPH top speed and output from the powertrain of roughly 250 HP and 310 lb-ft of torque. Further details on BMW’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz C350 PHEV haven’t been released yet.

But BMW did announce detailed information on the rest of the 3 Series lineup. All versions of the 3 Series get new front struts with five bolt upper anchor points instead of the previous three, new rear damper technology and redesigned electric power steering. The stability control system and rear dampers are also updated for 2016 to offer improved handling.

Content from what used to be the Sport line moves over to the standard equipment list on the gasoline and diesel models including high-gloss exterior accents including black kidney grills, black B-Pillars and a black high-gloss element on the rear bumper.

On top of that, BMW is also cancelling the 335i, at least in name. Instead, it will offer the 340i, which is powered by a new all aluminum 3.0-liter TwinPower inline six-cylinder engine that makes 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque that peaks at only 1,380 RPM. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, but customers can also choose a six-speed manual – which now offers rev-matching downshifts – as a no-cost option. BMW also revised the automatic gearbox by giving it wider gear ratios and reducing torque converter slip.

That alone might make for a significantly more entertaining driving experience, but BMW is also offering a Track Handling package that adds re-calibrated steering, brakes and an adaptive suspension borrowed from BMW’s M division along with 18-inch wheels shod in Michelin Super Sport tires. The package is available on all gasoline variants of the 3 Series with the provision for larger wheels on the 340i.

Visual updates to the 2016 3 Series are tough to pick out at first, but they exist. For example, the car gets new LED daytime running lights and halogen headlights along with new LED taillights. Similarly, the interior gets small tweaks to give it a more premium look and feel including new chrome accents and the availability of a high gloss black center console.

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