ⓘ BMW 3 Series (E90)
The fifth generation of the BMW 3 Series consists of the BMW E90, BMW E91, BMW E92 and BMW E93 compact executive cars. The E90/E91/E92/E93 was produced from 2004 to 2013 and is often collectively referred to as the E90 or E9x.
The E9x was the first 3 Series sold with a turbocharged petrol engine. The E9x family also saw the introduction of run-flat tyres to the 3 Series range. Cars with run-flats are not equipped with a spare tyre.
The E90/E92/E93 M3 is the only generation of M3 to be powered by a V8 engine. Introduced in 2007, it uses the BMW S65 naturally aspirated V8 engine and was produced in sedan, coupe and convertible body styles.
Following the introduction of the F30/F31 3 Series in 2012, the E90/E91 sedans and wagons were phased out. However, the E92/E93 coupes and convertibles remained in production through the 2013 model year, after which they were replaced by the F32/F33 4 Series models.
1. Development and launch
The design for the fifth generation 3 Series was frozen in mid-2002, approximately 30 months before the start of production. The sedan and wagon were designed by Joji Nagashima. Marc Michael Markefka designed the coupe and convertible.
The range was introduced in March 2005 for MY2006 with the sedan and wagon body styles. The coupe was introduced in 2006 and the convertible was introduced in 2007, both for MY2007.
2.1. Body styles Sedan E90
The sedan model was the first model sold of the E90/E91/E92/E93 3 series, being launched on 5 March 2005 for the 2006 model year. Production continued until a facelift revision was made for the 2009 model year. Production of the E90 concluded after the 2011 model year, succeeded by the F30 for 2012.
2.2. Body styles Touring E91
The E91 wagon/estate models were marketed as Touring in Europe and Sports Wagon in the North America. Optional equipment included a panoramic sunroof, which extends to the rear passenger area. Trim levels typically were similar to the E90 sedan, however the M3 wasnt produced in the wagon body style.
Several markets outside Europe only offered a small subset of models in the wagon body style. In the United States and Canada, the only wagon model available prior to 2007 was the 325xi, and then the 328i and 328xi from 2007 onwards.
2.3. Body styles Coupe E92
In August 2006, one year after the sedan was introduced, the E92 coupe body style was unveiled.
Compared with previous generations of the 3 Series, the coupe has more external styling differences to the sedan models. These include the tail-light design L-shaped on the coupe, more steeply angled headlights and smaller side windows. As per its E46 predecessor, the doors of the coupe are longer and have frameless door windows, the rear seat holds two passengers compared with a three-person bench for the sedan with a rear centre console tray and the front seatbelts are on motorised arms that extend from the B-pillar to hand the seatbelts to the driver and/or passenger.
The E92 was the last generation to include coupe and convertible body styles as a part of the 3 Series range. For later generations, these body styles are marketed as the 4 Series. Despite the E90/E91 being phased out for the F30/F31 after the 2011 model year, the E92/E93 continued through the 2013 model year. It was then succeeded by the F32/F33 for the 2014 model year.
2.4. Body styles Convertible E93
The E93 convertible was BMWs first model to use a retractable hardtop folding metal roof, instead of the cloth roof as previously used. The E93 was one of first retractable hardtops in its price range. The "Comfort Access" option allows the roof to be raised and lowered using the key fob. The E93s side windows are 30 percent larger than its E46 convertible predecessor, resulting in a 38 percent increase in visibility.
The BMW 3 Series convertible was often priced higher than direct rivals, however reviewers have praised its passenger/boot space even with the roof down, driving dynamics, weight and chassis rigidity.
Official specifications are as follows:
Since the following generation of 3 Series used turbocharged engines for the entire model range, the E90/E91/E92/E93 was the last 3 Series to be available with a naturally aspirated engine.
At the front, MacPherson struts with an aluminum hub carrier and aluminum dual lower links forming a virtual pivot point are used. This design was previously for used on all 5, 7 and 8 series BMW models.
The rear suspension is a 5-link Multi-link suspension, with fabricated steel subframe, fabricated steel control arms, and cast iron carrier. This design is designated "HA 5" by BMW.
Optional features some of which are standard on higher models include Xenon headlamps, automatic climate control, parking sensors, power-adjustable seats, satellite navigation, glass sunroof, heated front seats, Bluetooth and USB audio input.
Optional equipment could be ordered individually or combined into packages. Optional interior colours, known as BMW Individual, were also available at extra cost.
The contents of the Premium Package varies according to model year and market. It included items such as leather seats with power adjustments, memory seat function, lumbar support, auto-dimming mirrors, a digital compass, auto-folding exterior mirrors, BMW Assist w/Bluetooth, and universal garage opener.
The Cold Weather Package includes headlight washers, heated front seats and split/folding rear seats with a ski bag.
The Sports Package includes a leather 3-prong sports steering wheel, sports front seats, 18-inch wheels, sports suspension and an increase in the speed limiter to 148 mph 238 km/h.
The Technology Package includes iDrive, navigation, keyless entry "Comfort Access", selectable driving modes "M Drive", HD radio and Electronic Damping Control.
6. Alpina models
The Alpina B3 and D3 models were based on the E90/E91/E92/E93. The B3 was powered by turbocharged 6-cylinder petrol engine and the D3 was powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine.
7.1. Special Editions 320si
To satisfy homologation requirements for the FIA World Touring Car Championship WTCC, BMW built 2600 units of the 320si.
7.2. Special Editions 335is
The 335is was produced in coupe and convertible models for the North American market. Its position in the model lineup was between the regular 335i and the M3, and approximately 4.500 units were produced. The 335is uses a higher performance version of the N54 engine, which increases boost from 8.7 to 11.6 psi 0.6 to 0.8 bar. This results in 239 kW 320 bhp and 450 N⋅m 332 lb⋅ft of torque, plus an overboost function raises torque to 370 lb⋅ft 502 N⋅m for up to 7 seconds.
Transmission options were a 7-speed double clutch transmission DCT with launch control or a 6-speed manual transmission. The manual transmission has an upgraded clutch compared to the regular 335i.
Other changes compared to the 335i include stiffer engine mounts, a higher-flow exhaust system, an upgraded cooling system, a different steering wheel, sport seats and "335is" badging on dash and in the instrument cluster. Exterior differences are larger air openings in the front bumper, a rear bumper that incorporates a diffuser-style piece, black kidney grills, and 18-inch or 19-inch "Style 313" wheels.
8.1. Model year changes 2008 Facelift LCI
In September 2008, the facelift LCI versions of the sedan and wagon were released for the 2009 model year. Compared to typically subtle BMW LCI changes, these changes were relatively extensive.
Mechanical changes included an increase in rear track of 24 mm 0.94 in for some models, a power increase for the 320d from 130 to 135 kW 174 to 181 bhp and the N57 engine replacing the M57 for the 330d model.
Styling changes included front and rear bumpers, wing mirrors, headlights, taillights, boot lid, wider kidney grilles and revised crease lines for the bonnet. The new 2009 - 2011 facelift LCI AWD models became known as "xDrive" models, unlike the previous 2006-2008 pre-lci AWD models, which were labeled as "xi" models. The new xDrive models received xDrive badges on the bumper and both the right and left sides right below the side marker lamps. For the interior, crash-activated head restraints were added to the front seats, the optional "Professional" navigation system was updated, iDrive was updated and the resolution of the display was increased.
8.2. Model year changes 2010
For the 2010 model year, the Sport, Lifestyle and Exclusive Edition were introduced for sedan and wagon models. The 316d wagon model was added, was the 320d EfficientDynamics Edition sedan.
Mechanical changes included compliance with the EU5 emission standard, EU6 emission compliance optional for the 320d and 330d models, power increases for the 318d, 320d, 325d and 330d models, the N54 engine in the 335i being replaced by N55 engine, and additional features for BMW ConnectedDrive.
The Euro NCAP noted the poor pedestrian protection awarding 4 points out of 36, reporting the 3 Series was "very disappointing" in this measure.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety IIHS gives the 3 Series a "Good" overall rating in both the frontal and side impact crash tests. The 3 Series received "Good" marks in all six of the frontal crash test categories, and "Good" marks in six of the nine categories in the side impact test. The IIHS also gave the 3 Series the Top Safety Pick award. The convertible is rated "Marginal" in side impacts, making the 3 Series convertible the lowest rated vehicle currently sold in its class in IIHS tests.
In November 2017, BMW recalled 672.000 3 Series cars from model years 2006–11 with climate control system electronic components at risk of overheating, due to a faulty blower motor.
In 2002, Norbert Reithofer and Development Chief Burkhard Goeschel started an initiative to halve the time it took to reach full production of the next generation 3 Series from six months to three.
The E90 was produced in Germany Leipzig, Munich and Regensburg and in South Africa Rosslyn. Local assembly of complete knock-down CKD kits was used for cars sold in China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Russia.
The production dates for each body style are as follows:
- Wagon E91: September 2005 – January 2012
- Convertible E93: December 2006 – October 2013
- Sedan E90: December 2004 – October 2011
- Coupe E92: June 2006 – June 2013
First marketed in March 2005, the car quickly became BMW Groups best-selling car worldwide, and by the end of the year 229.900 vehicles had been delivered.
The BMW E90 series was the best-selling luxury car in Canada and the United States. The 2006 E90 marked the 15th consecutive year that the 3 Series was named on Car and Drivers 10Best.
Units sold according to BMWs annual reports:
BMW WTCC works driver Andy Priaulx won the 2006 and 2007 World Touring Car Championships in the 320si E90, and four other drivers achieved over 35 wins in the championship.
The E90 320si was used by several teams in the British Touring Car Championship BTCC. The 2009 BTCC Drivers Championship was won by Colin Turkington using the E90 320si.
The E92 Art Car entered the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans race, with Andy Priaulx GB, Dirk Muller DE and Dirk Werner DE driving the number 78 car which failed to complete the race.
- In April 2011, the E90 335d sedan won the 2011 Diesel Car of the Year award, an honour bestowed by The Diesel Driver magazines readers, receiving 29.6% of the vote.
- The British motoring magazine What Car? awarded it Car of the Year 2006. From 2006 to 2011, they also awarded it Compact Executive of the Year.
- Car and Driver magazine listed the E90 on their Ten Best list eight consecutive times between 2006 and 2013.
- The British motoring magazine What Car? awarded the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Auto the Overall Winner Green Car of the Year 2012. The 320d model has a UK combined fuel economy of 56 mpg and CO 2 emissions of 110g/km.
- The E90 was named Best New Sports Sedan in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards.
- It was Japans Import Car of the Year for 2005–06.
- In April 2006, the E90 was awarded the World Car of the Year title. The car was praised for its balance between performance and practicality, as well as between style and seriousness. The jury also praised the new diesel engines and the all-wheel-drive variants.
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