The BMW 3 Series can look back over an extraordinary career path. Among the key milestones along the way have been its success in pioneering a new category of vehicle, establishing itself as the embodiment of driving pleasure in its segment and becoming the world’s top-selling premium car. 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.
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. Its history is testament to the advances achieved by the German carmaker in the areas of sporting ability, efficiency, safety, comfort and connectivity, as well as to the development of BMW design. Again and again, the introduction of trailblazing technological innovations in the BMW 3 Series has also broken new ground in the mid-size class in general. Moreover, for four decades now the BMW 3 Series has led the way with new vehicle concepts that have expanded the brand’s model line-up and injected fresh ideas into the segment as a whole.
The underlying character of the BMW 3 Series endures from generation to generation, complemented by the addition of new technological advances. Its design has likewise been shaped by a characteristic BMW sense of continuity and evolution. Indeed, throughout the model range’s history, its striking front end with twin circular headlights and familiar BMW kidney grille, the dynamic lines of the car’s flanks and the powerful rear end have always been quick to catch the eye. As for the interior, the unmistakable driver-focused cockpit design already established itself as a key element in the first model generation. The 3 Series’ exceptional run of victories in race competition has also contributed to the car’s status as a byword for sports performance. From the success notched up by the original BMW M3, its enviable record has continued all the way to victory in the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) race series in 2014.