1975 BMW 3 Series Meets its Modern Day successor in Munich

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Even the very first prototypes of the BMW 3 Series managed to inspire a wide target group, thanks to its brand-typical characteristics. Just six years after making its debut in the summer of 1975, the legendary BMW 02 was replaced by its predecessor as the biggest selling model in corporate history. The following generations saw the car’s popularity steadily increasing, with the BMW 3 Series quickly becoming the most successful premium automobile in the world. Today, it continues to top BMW’s inter-brand statistics.

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Correspondingly fast, the 3 Series continues its success story: Whereas it used to take BMW 66 months to exceed the threshold of a million sales, the current generation of the 3 Series recently took barely 29 months to reach sales of one million. Meanwhile, more than 15 million BMW 3 Series vehicles have been sold. Enhancing everyday traffic situations with brand-typical driving pleasure has been the mission of the BMW 3 Series mission right from the start.

When it made its debut in 1975, powerful engines and a sporty suspension setting provided for a balance between driving dynamics and comfort that was unmatched in the segment. Moreover, the driver-oriented 3 Series cockpit of the first generation also had its premiere. The ergonomically optimised positioning of control elements was a further contribution towards the characteristic driving experience. Additional wishes could be fulfilled with high-quality equipment options. The list of these included not only a 5-speed transmission or a 3-speed automatic transmission, but also air-conditioning, vent windows, sports seats and four different radio variants.

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Exactly 40 years ago, the 3 Series strengthened its top position in terms of driving pleasure with the introduction of an exclusive innovation under the bonnet. It was the first vehicle in its class to feature 6-cylinder engines. The new straight-6 power units developed specially for the 3 Series delivered 122bhp in the 320 launched in the autumn of 1977 and 1143bhp in the BMW 323 that followed a few months later. The BMW 323i with petrol injection, electronic engine management and transistorised ignition rapidly became an everyday athlete. With its high-revving, smooth-running engine and performance normally only achieved by sports cars, it remained unrivalled over a long period of time.

Once again, the 3 Series – the epitome of sportiness in the mid-range class for six generations now – will get an extra dose of driving pleasure, with the exclusive equipment options offered by the Edition Sport Line Shadow, Edition Luxury Line Purity and Edition M Sport Shadow, which are all available both for the 3 Series Sedan and the BMW 3 Series Touring. They optionally underline either the dynamic driving experience or the modern premium appeal offered by both models. More attractive than ever, the BMW 3 Series highlights those characteristic qualities that have been a distinguishing mark of this German model series for more than 40 years now.

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Story originally appeared on Torque.

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