2016 BMW 3 Series Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 07, 2015
  • Freshening for all 3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon models
  • New 340i Sedan features new 320-horsepower, turbocharged, inline 6-cylinder engine
  • Standard Sport Line on the 328i, 328d, and 340i models (including xDrive)
  • New Track handling package available for gasoline-powered models
  • Available navigation system features over-the-air map updates
  • LED headlights are optional on 320i, 328i, 328d, and standard on 340i
  • New 330e is first-ever plug-in hybrid 3 Series


The 3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon represent BMW's best-selling model line. For the 2016 model year, the new 3 Series receives a range of enhancements, mostly focusing on dynamics. The new BMW 340i premieres an all-new inline 6-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 320 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque. The new BMW 3 Series chassis includes improved front struts, new rear damper technology, and redesigned electric power steering. Both the Sedan and Sports Wagon feature a sharper design and a sportier front, including newly designed headlights with optional full-LED headlights (standard on 340i).

Exterior FeaturesBMW says the 2016 3 Series will be more eye-catching than ever, with a distinctively sculpted long hood and set-back passenger compartment working with the short front and rear overhangs and long wheelbase to create particularly dynamic proportions. The redesigned headlights add to the dramatic look; a redefined rear lighting design also contributes to the sportier appearance of the new 3 Series, the automaker says. In front, the "eyes" of the BMW 3 Series have moved farther apart, and the daytime running lights are more prominent than before because of the leveled-off upper and lower edges of the LED light tubes. The BMW 3 Series includes a newly designed 17-in. wheel for the 320i and 328i, with optional 18-in. wheels. The 340i features new 18-in. wheels and optional 19-in. wheels with performance tires. Twelve exterior colors are available.

Interior Features

The 2016 3 Series also features a dynamic, elegant, sporty interior, according to BMW. The new model features improved ergonomics, improved chrome highlights, and high-gloss surfaces. The center console features new ambient lighting, and chrome accents define the newly designed controls for the electric seat adjustment. New chrome applications are also featured on the electric window controls and air vents. Also, the highlight trim finisher in the instrument panel has been expanded into all four doors, and the cupholders in the center console now feature a sliding cover. An additional storage area for smaller items is positioned forward of the cupholders.

Optional Features

The 3 Series Sport Line options are now standard equipment on the 328i, 328d, and 340i (including xDrive models): high-gloss exterior components; black B-Pillars; black high-gloss element on the rear bumper; sport instrument cluster; and sport seats with side bolsters. The Luxury package adds comfort and design features, while the M Sport package offers options designed to increase road presence and driving pleasure. These include the M Aerodynamic package, M leather steering wheel, and M Sport suspension. The Premium package for the 328i and 328d models includes Comfort Access, LED headlights, lumbar support, moonroof, and satellite radio with a no-cost one-year subscription. The Premium package is standard for the 340i. The Track Handling package, designed for driving enthusiasts, is available on gasoline-powered models only. A full-color, high-resolution head-up display is also available.

Under the Hood

The 2016 BMW 3 Series comes with standard rear-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive. Engines include gas-powered models with output from 180 to 320 horsepower and a diesel engine that makes 180 horsepower and  280 lb.-ft. of torque. The new modular BMW EfficientDynamics inline 6-cylinder engine in the 340i is equipped with the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The new BMW 3 Series Sedan comes standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission. A 6-speed manual transmission is available as a no-cost option on 320i, 328i, 340i, and 340i xDrive models. Later in the model year, BMW will launch the BMW 330e, powered by a plug-in hybrid drive system with a combined output of around 250 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque.


High-tech safety features on the 2016 BMW 3 Series include Parking Assistant and BMW Assist eCall. With the 8-speed transmission comes the Driving Assistant System, which imparts speed limits and no-passing zone information, forward-collision warning with city-collision mitigation, pedestrian warning, lane-departure warning, and information relating to smartphone and media operation (shown in the optional head-up display).


The optional navigation system on the new 3 Series features quicker start-up and route calculation than the current unit, plus more realistic 3D visualization in cities, according to BMW. The navigation maps are automatically updated free of charge for three years via the embedded Sim cards and the vehicle's LTE system. Greater fuel efficiency is ensured by intelligent energy management for the ancillary units, including the on-demand coolant pump, electronically controlled oil pump, and electromechanical power steering that consumes no electrical power when driving straight ahead. When the air conditioning is off, its compressor automatically disconnects from the engine. On models with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, the ECO PRO Route navigation feature and the coasting function disconnect the engine if the driver lifts off the throttle at higher speeds. The engine then idles in neutral.
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