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The biggest change for the 2014 3-Series, is the lack of coupe and convertible models. These have now been redubbed as the 4-series, keeping things more in line with the rest of BMW's naming scheme. Wagons have been updated to match the current generation of sedans and a new base engine is available in the 320i.
The 3-Series is offered in Sedan or Sports Wagon body styles. Sedans are offered in 320i, 328i and 335i variants. The 320i makes 180-horspower and the 328i makes 240-horsepower, both employing a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The 335i version offers a 300-hp, 3.0L turbo six. All three engines employ twin-scroll turbocharging for quick responsiveness as well as strong torque output just above idle--making them feel like much larger engines. New-generation 8-speed automatic transmissions help the cars achieve excellent mileage, too--up to 33 mpg on the highway with the 335i Sedan or up to 34 mpg with the 328i Sedan.
Special xDrive versions of the Sedan and Sports Wagon offer all-weather capability to the 3-Series, albeit only with the 8-speed automatic.
The M3 is seen by BMW as a separate model altogether, although it's essentially a top-performance model based on the Coupe and Convertible. It comes with a 414-horsepower V8 and either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed M Dual Clutch Transmission, plus Electronic Damping Control with an optimized M Dynamic Mode. Compound cross-drilled brakes are also included, as are an M variable differential lock and an M Drive button that allows you to save personalized settings. A Competition Package is available and has a lowered suspension and wider-offset wheels.
Separately, those who like the idea of a sport sedan but want to make an especially green statement might want to consider the ActiveHybrid 3. With its turbocharged 'TwinPower' turbo 6-cylinder engine, 8-speed automatic transmission and a sophisticated electric-motor and management system, the ActiveHybrid 3 delivers 335 hp to the rear wheels and can accelerate to 60 mph in as little as 5.3 seconds, yet it achieves EPA ratings of 25 mpg city, 33 highway. The system permits operation on electric power alone for up to 2.5 miles, as well as coasting with the gasoline engine off at up to 100 mph. The hybrid gets special L-shaped LED rear lamps, as well as badging and Streamline alloy wheels, plus more standard features, with dual-zone climate control standard. The lithium-ion battery pack reduces trunk space somewhat.
Sedan and Sports Wagon models both have Auto Start-Stop, which shuts the engine off at stoplights and quickly starts it again when the brake is released. There's also a Driving Dynamics Control system, with Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Eco Pro modes,
Sports Wagon models are distinguished by their elongated roofline and exemplary utility and versatility compared to the other models. Available only in 328i trim, Sport Wagons feature comparable trims and materials to sedans, yet offer four cargo-floor tie-downs, a storage tray under the floor, a deep stowage compartment and a partition net, all to help keep cargo secure, while the rear seatbacks can be folded down as needed in three separate sections, with a 40/30/40 split. Compared to the last-generation wagon, there's more width between the wheel arches and a wide tailgate opening, scuff plates and available racking systems for outdoor gear or storage boxes help make the most of it. A Top View mode for the rear-view camera system and a BMW Parking Assistant, are there to help with visibility and make parking easier.
Most of the 3-Series lineup is offered in Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line versions, with each of these distinguished by separate trims, materials and details. There's also an M Sport package that brings an entire set of appearance features that give a nod to the M3 in appearance--and add a firmer M Sport suspension.
Major options include a variable-ratio steering system, the Adaptive M Suspension, a Head-Up Display, Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning and a High-Beam Assistant. The rear-view camera system has a Surround View feature to help spot pedestrians or other objects when backing up and the available Adaptive xenon headlamps swivel with the steering angle to help see around corners.
As part of the ConnectedDrive technology suite, the 3-Series models offer Bluetooth connectivity, text-to-speech capability, and features like Pandora and MOG music streaming through a BMW Connected app. All of these are accessed through the iDrive screen-based interface.