BMW 325xi

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Description: The BMW 3 Series includes a huge number of vehicles built on eight different platforms. While the machines vary greatly in specification and design, they all remain true to the birthright of the

The BMW 3 Series includes a huge number of vehicles built on eight different platforms. While the machines vary greatly in specification and design, they all remain true to the birthright of the range: compact automobiles that perform well and are a pleasure to drive. Progeny of the 2002 and the 2000 coupe, the 3 Series was born to be a driver's car.

The BMW 3 Series includes a huge number of vehicles built on eight different platforms. While the machines vary greatly in specification and design, they all remain true to the birthright of the range: compact automobiles that perform well and are a pleasure to drive. Progeny of the 2002 and the 2000 coupe, the 3 Series was born to be a driver's car.

Because it defines the modern compact sports sedan, the 3 Series is held in near-reverential esteem by automotive enthusiasts. With a well-balanced blend of power, agility, and creature comforts, the 3-Series has been the benchmark of its class for many years. Nevertheless, there were bumps along the way, and some early versions of the series left something to be desired.

The 3 series two-door was introduced to Europe in 1975 in the wake of the oil embargo. Combining fuel-stingy frugality with good performance, it quickly won a following, outselling its 2002 predecessor by nearly 40,000 units. In 1977 it was introduced to the U.S. market. By 1978, sales had reached 320,000.

The only model offered for sale during this period in the U.S. was the 320i. Kin to the 2002 in both styling and mechanicals, the 320i nevertheless offered a number of refinements, including an improved suspension and a longer wheelbase for more stability. While the 2002 handled well, the new 320i displayed a sense of reassuring confidence that was easier for some American drivers to embrace.

The second version of the 3 Series kicked off with the 318i in 1984. Some fans of the brand were disappointed with this version, because while its specs were similar to the car it replaced, its price tag was much higher. The unhappiness was put partly to rest with the introduction of the six-cylinder 325e, but its engine was tuned for fuel-saving, low-rpm operation. As a result, its performance was not what one might expect from a BMW six. A four-door was added to the lineup in 1985 and was greeted with a huge ho-hum by enthusiasts, but it extended the reach of the series to a different kind of customer.

In 1987, enthusiast drivers got the 3 Series car they had been pining for. The 325i, with a six-cylinder engine tuned for performance, burst on the scene with a 168-horsepower punch. But if the 1987 offering made enthusiasts smile, the new M3 for 1988 made them drool. The first of the 3 Series M cars, it sprinted out of the gate with 192 horsepower, a 141-mph top speed, and body panels that gave it a race-worthy look.

In the years since, the 3 series continued to evolve with increased comfort married to excellent handling and the strong and smooth BMW inline six--albeit with ever-growing price tags. Today, the series includes coupes, convertibles, wagons and sedans. The squarish, clipped look of the early versions has evolved, and today's 3-Series cars are sleek and swoopy. Likewise, horsepower figures have multiplied exponentially, with turbochargers and a V-8 offered in the current generation. The latest M3, for example, features a V-8 generating a massive 414 horsepower, getting it to the end of a quarter mile in just 12.4 seconds while scalding the skidpad.



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