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40 years of the BMW 3 Series

The model range was launched 40 years ago to replace the already legendary BMW 02, and is now set to enter its sixth generation. Today, as in 1975, purchasing a BMW 3 Series represents an expression of joy in sporty, agile handling, enthusiasm for innovative technology and appreciation of premium quality.

BMW 3 series models

First unveiled at the 1975 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, the BMW 3 Series has since developed into both the brand’s most successful model range and an international bestseller. And that makes the 3 Series a highly effective global ambassador for BMW’s core attributes.

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In 1977, two years after the launch of the new model range, the BMW 3 Series became the first car in its class to be available with six-cylinder engines. Further innovations were to follow, including revolutionary injection and engine management systems, ultra-sporty diesel engines and weight minimisation through the use of aluminium and magnesium.

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A four-door body variant joined the two-door model in the range back in the second generation, and it wasn’t long before the BMW M3 high-performance sports car, the first Touring model and the first Convertible based on the BMW 3 Series were given their premieres. The third generation of the model range saw the distinctively styled BMW 3 Series Coupe bring additional allure to the line-up, while the BMW 3 Series Compact forged a passage into a new vehicle segment.

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The sixth model generation further extends this attractive selection of distinctive body variants, which are now split between two model ranges: the BMW 3 Series Sedan and BMW 3 Series Touring have been joined by the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, and the mid-size model portfolio now also includes the BMW 4 Series Coupe, BMW 4 Series Convertible and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

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