Exclusive - Get Ready for the BMW 340i: LCI 3 Series Will Get New Model Names

BMW 335Li 1 photo
Photo: BMW
It seems like BMW has big plans for the refresh the 3 Series is going to get in 2015 that will be sold as a MY2016 model. According to a reliable source up in Munich, the Germans will start using the new B-engine family units on LCI 3ers and leave the N55 plants behind.
That’s not the only big news though. The new cars will have even bigger horsepower figures and therefore a change in the naming scheme was necessary. Get ready to welcome into the world the BMW 340i.

As you probably presumed, this model will be using a 3-liter petrol engine in the same traditional inline 6-cylinder architecture but it won’t be the N55 anymore. It will be codenamed B58 and it’s going to be part of the new generation we’ve been talking about here for quite a while.

The 306 HP and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque of the old unit will no longer be enough and the new ‘heart’ will be making around 330 HP to keep up with the ever tightening competition coming from Mercedes and Audi. While the C-Class won’t probably get too many updates by then, the Ingolstadt-based company is expected to launch their new A4 by 2016 and that’s going to be quite an interesting model, considering what we’ve seen on the new Passat.

The 330i will also make a comeback but, unfortunately, it won’t be using the same type of engine under the bonnet. This model will be seen as a sacrilege by those hardcore enthusiasts out there. That’s because it will be powered by a 2-liter 4-cylinder plant also known as ‘B48’.

If you think it sounds familiar, it’s because the same plant is going to be used inside the 225i Active Tourer starting this autumn and the upcoming MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop. The power output of the unit fitted on the 330i though, will be well over 245 HP so expect a new level of performance, close to 270 HP. The same plants will be used on the 4 Series, once that model gets its LCI as well.

Earlier this year we also spotted a plug-in hybrid 3 Series testing and we assumed its name will be 328e. Apparently, BMW dropped that name and decided to go with 330e which means it will probably have more power than we hoped for. It could also mean that it’s going to use a 3-cylinder 1.5-liter internal combustion unit and not the 2-liter that was rumored.

However, there are also some bad news in the mix. The US market won’t be getting these new plants with the LCI. The source tells us that the company decided to use the old units (Nxx) until the end of production, scheduled for October 2018. The 320i will also keep using the N20 engine until the end of its production.
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