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2012 BMW 3 Series Debut

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What's New
Media coverage on the redesigned 2012 BMW 3 Series here at the Detroit Auto Show was intense as the sedan debuted the brand's evolving design language (especially the headlamps and grille) and four-cylinder engine which includes a hybrid. The BMW 3 Series is one of the automaker's best-selling vehicles and both car enthusiasts and automakers use it as a benchmark for the ultimate driving machine.

Who It's For
Buyers and fans will have to determine how they feel about the 2012 BMW 3 Series' new looks. The model underwent its last major design-change when the 2006 BMW 3 Series debuted in 2005. Competitors, including the Audi A4, Infiniti G, Mercedes C-Class and the all-new Cadillac ATS, continue to use the BMW 3 Series as the benchmark to beat in terms of power, performance, and sheer driving "fun". Now the 2012 BMW 3 Series as well as the competition are measured in a new arena -- fuel economy -- due to new federal regulations here in the states and across the pond.

Key Features
The 2012 BMW 3 Series, to the chagrin of fans, undergoes another teen growth spurt and adds three inches in length and nearly half an inch in height, all spelling more interior space for passengers and even in the trunk. The biggest change, though, is the availability of a four-cylinder engine, which puts out 240 horsepower and potentially more than 30 mpg on highway.

Other changes include:

  • The 2012 BMW 3 Series is nearly ninety pounds lighter that the prior model thanks to more extensive use of aluminum and plastics.
  • BMW drops hydraulic steering for more fuel-efficient electric steering in the 2012 3 Series.
  • The automaker claims the 2012 BMW 3 Series "Eco Pro" mode may improve fuel economy up to 20 percent.
  • Look for a BMW 3 Series Hybrid sometime in 2013.

What We Think
Watch requests for 2012 BMW 3 Series sedans to drastically increase among automotive media news sites when the sedan becomes available after its 2012 Detroit Auto Show debut. Most car enthusiasts consider fuel economy and performance diametrically opposing concepts and hold the BMW 3 Series as the poster child for the latter. We can't see BMW diminishing the "fun to drive" quotient in the 2012 3 Series and look forward in driving the compact to prove our point. Or disprove it.

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