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2007 BMW 3 Series Coupe

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Story by Michael Ho

Developing a coupe has always been a particularly demanding and challenging mission for the automotive engineer. After all, the driver opting for a coupe is a truly discerning driver looking for the ultimate driving experience. With this in mind, BMW has succeeded time and again over the years in meeting the great demands made by the coupe-buyer while at the same time consistently resetting the bench mark in this segment.

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The new generation BMW 3 Series Coupe will arrive with a choice of two six cylinder engines. The entry level 328 Ci is a 3.0-litre, inline six-cylinder engine with valvetronic engine technology and amagnesium aluminum crankcase. It develops an output of 230hp, generates peak torque of 200 lb/ft and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 6.6 seconds. BMW claims this will be faster than the current 330 Ci by 0.2 seconds. Another addition to the lineup will be an all-wheel-drive version, the 328 Xi, representing the debut of xDrive in a coupe. With this added technology, the new 3 Series BMW Coupe driver will be able to enjoy the ultimate driving experience in all types of weather and terrain.

Pairing with DSC, xDrive plays an active role to stabilize the vehicle at the onset of oversteer or understeer. Code-named N54 – 335 Ci, the 3.0-litre is the world’s first inline six-cylinder with twin turbos and high precision fuel injection. The all-aluminium crankcase engine offers a new standard of responsiveness. This brand-new version develops maximum output of 300hp, and generates a peak torque of 300 lb/ft, accelerating from zero to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds.

The 3.0-litre engine consists of two turbochargers, each supplying compressed air to three cylinders, one big and one small in sequential arrangement, thus the turbo “gap” so typical of turbocharged engines is no longer perceptible. The engine is relatively lightweight, about 70 kilos less than its 4.0-litre V8 engine. Maximum torque is achieved between 1500 and 5800 rpm, and from there the engine continues to rev smoothly all the way to 7000 rpm.

This is the most powerful engine within BMW’s wide range of inline six machines without wearing the ‘M’ badge. In addition to the standard six-speed manual, both models will be offered with an available six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. Designed for responsiveness, the new transmission enhances driving dynamics without sacrificing fuel efficiency. When ordered with the available sport package for the 335 Ci, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles are included, maximizing the sporting potential of the automatic. The character of any coupe is reflected in its profile.

The long hood reflects BMW’s adherence to its tradition of inline six-cylinder engines. The sleek appearance of BMW’s newest coupe is enhanced by its long wheelbase with short overhangs, combined with lower and more elongated body design and a sleek roofline which slopes gently into the trunk, all classic proportions of BMW coupes.

The agressive front view starts with the powerdome on the hood which foreshadows the performance potential beneath. The bi-Xenon headlights, enhanced by four corona rings which serve as daytime running lights, appear to have been cut off at the top due to the hood extending beyond the headlights.

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Combined with the distinctive lower kidney grille, a typical feature of every BMW, and a new design of the front air dam, the new BMW Coupe enjoys a particularly low and sporty look. The couple’s unique rear, with stylish rear light clusters (the wider tail light design was split into two sections including horizontal LED conductors) extends all the way up to the trunk lid. The design is a big advance over the 3 Series Salon. The unique split tail pipes help distinguish the 335 Ci from its brother.

To ensure maximum stopping power and deceleration, 17-inch wheels come standard for both new 3 Series Coupes to match the larger diameter brake disc. An optional 18-inch wheel with run-flat tires can be ordered with the “Sport Package” and an additional 19-inch wheel is available for the 335 Ci. The emphasis on individual style and exclusivity continues with the interior. The driver-focused cockpit, in true BMW fashion, angles the instrument cluster and key controls towards the driver.

The controls for climate, as well as for the audio and navigation systems, are well within reach of the front passengers. Given that the coupe is a true four- seater, comfortable entry to the rear seats is via a lever at the top side of the front backrest. The rear seat passengers are treated to a rear centre console with ashtray, air vents and storage trays as well as footwell lighting. An ambient light strip contours the door sill, running from the door pillar all the way to the rear passenger area, creating a particularly warm, indirect lighting effect.

New colours and high quality metallic trim complete the elegant interior. The BMW 3 Series Coupe is unquestionably a very special car. Even more than its predecessor, the new 3 Series Coupe can be distinguished from its Sedan counterpart through its distinctive design. The new BMW 3 Series Coupe ensures a particularly refined combination of active driving pleasures and visual appeal.

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