After innumerable sneak peeks, covered in black and white bathroom wallpaper, BMW has unveiled the longer, lighter version of its 3 Series sedan.
The new 3 Series - without its black and white pajamas
This is the sixth edition of a vehicle that first went on sale in 1975 and has sold 12 million examples. The model is key to BMW earnings because it has the highest sales volume, with 399,000 sold last year, or 32.6 percent of unit sales.The new version is 3 1/2 inches, longer, but 90 pounds lighter, and has more rear seat legroom.
Some models come with a color heads-up display, which shows the speed and other information on the inside of the windshield and other technology includes a lane departure warning system and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Marketing chief Ian Robertson called the car “the heart of the BMW brand” and the company’s “long-term growth engine” at the unveiling Friday in the company’s home in Munich.
The new model is a key to the company’s efforts to cut costs since it will share parts with the bigger 5-series. The 3 Series plays an important role in defining the brand because it's so popular, and buyers might move up to a more expensive model later. The added technology is included to draw buyers in by raising the quality of the ownership experience.
The new 3 Series goes on sale worldwide Feb. 11, 2012. —Paul Duchene