Late last week, BMW released these first shots of the new 3-Series, which gets the mildest of exterior makeovers. New versions of the 3-Series also get a spiffier interior; these shots show more wood interior trim, new steering-wheel designs, and some relocated controls.
For the 3-Series vehicles that have it, the iDrive is significantly updated for the 2009 model-year 3-Series. The wheel controller is now flanked by new buttons that give shortcuts to the operator for major functions like audio and climate control--a knockoff of the superior, but still sometimes frustrating MMI controller in Audis.
The new 3-Series also will be available with Google mapping services that are sent through Internet connections directly to the car's navigation systems in a service now called "ConnectedDrive."
The most important 3-Series news is the arrival this fall of diesel-powered versions, which TheCarConnection.com reported on earlier this month. However, the new 3-Series also gets a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; it's only offered in the coupe and convertible models, initially.
We'll have more on the new 3-Series soon--stay tuned for TheCarConnection.com's first drive in the diesel edition later this year.