2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
It is very busy at Hauptstrasse 26 in Nürburg. Every quarter of an hour the prototypes of the new BMW 3 Series are rolling into the well-secured workshop of the test center.
A quarter of a year before the world premiere and nine months before the market launch of their most important model, the Bavarians are currently in constant use in the Eifel to make the ninth generation of their bestseller fit for competition with the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4.
There is a simple reason why they are on the road more than most models on and around the Nürburgring; “We want to turn the three-wheeler into the 'Ultimate Sports Sedan' once more,” says Jos van As, who heads the vehicle dynamics application in development.
BMW 3 Series is also gaining ground in digitization
Of course, the keepers of the grail of driving pleasure cannot ignore digitization either, and the next three will therefore get even larger screens, even faster control chips, even more sensitive sensors, even more powerful data connections and even smarter assistants. But above all, it should continue to be fun not only to operate this car, but to move it, says van As and asks for a first trip through the volcanic mountains.
There, the new 330i, whose four-cylinder now has around 260 hp and 400 Nm and should still consume five percent less, feels a bit sportier than the current one. It was much more agile and lively than the C-Class or A4. It is almost as if you were sitting in a four-wheeler, the Erlkönig curves so dashingly through the Eifel, follows every steering movement, turns almost by itself into the curves and stirs up an almost unshakable trust with a very direct connection between driver and road.
This not only helps on the narrow streets around the Nürburgring and of course on the legendary Nordschleife, but above all where the three will be on the road most of the time. On the highway. Because regardless of whether 130, 180 or 220 km / h - the sedan always maintains a stoic calm and you are tempted to take at least one hand off the steering wheel even in tight corners.
Three with new chassis
According to the Bavarians, this is made possible primarily thanks to a new chassis. Yes, they also widened the track by three centimeters and lowered the center of gravity by one centimeter. And because both the shape and the format do not change significantly, but the engineers have nevertheless placed every part on the scales, the car is a hundredweight lighter than before. But the difference should be made by new dampers that can dissipate more energy without feeling too stubborn. This makes the three-man sporty and engaging without getting tough and you get out of the Nordschleife in a relaxed manner even after three laps.
That's a good thing. Perhaps not so much for customers who, apart from the M3, will probably never get lost on the Nordschleife with a three. But at least for men like van As. Because they still have a lot to do with the most important model from Munich. Not only will they soon have to vote on a dozen engine variants - including, of course, an M model, a plug-in hybrid and allegedly the first M-Diesel for the three-seater and a purely electric sedan. But of course there will also be a whole range of derivatives - the station wagon is just as set as the coupé, convertible and four-door of the four-series. So it won't be quiet that fast in the dovecote of the camouflaged vehicles and the main street of Nürburg is still busy. (SP-X)
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