3 Predictions For The Mp3 Players Market In 2011

3 Predictions For The Mp3 Players Market In 2011
Even if sales have been curbed by the advent of smartphones, touch screen MP3 players are still going strong. The MP3 player market is filled with high quality products that compete for the attention and the wallets of the clients. In recent years, MP3 players have evolved from simple playback devices, which could only play a limited number of tracks, to fully fledged portable entertainment devices, which store and play music, HD videos, e-books, and games. Some of them are even loaded with the Android operating system, turning them into mini Android tablets.
Touch screen MP3 players, such as the iPod Touch or the Zune HD offer a rich multimedia experience. In order to attract new customers and expand their sales, the manufacturers of MP3 players with cameras are preparing a number of improvements to their products, which will roll out during 2011. Here are three major features that are likely to be strong selling points in 2011:
1)Better cameras Manufacturers will include HD sensors in their products, allowing the capture of video at a minimum of 720p. The 2010 iPod touch already features an HD camera, which is optimized for capturing videos, but can also capture pictures in the form of still frames. Other MP3 players with camera and mini Android tablets are expected to follow Apples example and increase the quality of the cameras built in their products.
2)More touch screen MP3 players They currently occupy the smaller, high-end segment of the market. In 2011, it is likely that we will see more and more MP3 players with cameras that will be equipped with touch screens. Touch screen technology slowly becomes the de facto form of interaction with electronic devices, and MP3 players are not making an exception to this trend. They gradually transform in mini Android tablets, oriented towards multimedia.
3)WiFi & Apps Another trend to follow in 2011 will be the growing compatibility of MP3 players with apps and Wi-Fi capabilities. MP3 players can connect through Wi-Fi to the internet and allow users to download custom apps for their devices. This is common with smartphones and tablets and in 2011 it will be increasingly common with touch screen MP3 players.
As you can see, 2011 will likely bring some exciting developments for MP3 player enthusiasts. They will evolve in performance and functions, effectively functioning like miniature tablets, thus providing a richer and more satisfying experience for those who use them.

In this article Jonathon Blocker writes about touch screen mp3 players also learn more about mini mp3 player

2011 BMW M3 GTS

2011 BMW M3 GTS
The history of BMW M3 motor sport is to be enriched following the confirmation that the next chapter in ‘M’ heritage will be in form of the M3 GTS. The most powerful version of the high-performance M3 Coupé yet, the BMW M3 GTS features a 336kW engine that offers the ideal preconditions for use track use, while still being road-legal. In addition to a larger and more powerful V8 engine, exclusive tuning of the seven-speed M Dual Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic, the M3 GTS has also been specifically optimised with regard to aerodynamics and lightweight construction. original article  read full article
BMW M3 GTS (2011)
BMW M3 GTS (2011)

The sporting potential of the M3 GTS is underlined by a power-to-weight ratio that has been lowered to 3.4kgs per kW. The BMW M3 GTS accelerates from 0 -100km/h in a mere 4.4 seconds while covering the standing kilometre in just 22.5 seconds before going on to a 306km/h top speed.

Enhanced drivetrain

The power is delivered by a high-revving eight-cylinder engine taken from the ‘standard’ BMW M3 range that has then been enhanced with an increase in displacement, power output and maximum torque.

The engine’s displacement has grown from 3 999cc to 4 361cc and this has been achieved by a cylinder stroke that has been extended from 75.2mm to 82mm. The enlarged combustion chamber has resulted in a power output increase from 313kW to 336kW with peak power attained at 8 300r/min. Maximum torque has also been increased by 40Nm to 440Nm and is available at an engine speed of 3 750 r/min.

The engine is mated to seven-speed transmission in the form of BMW’s M Dual Clutch Drivelogic gearbox which is standard on the M3 GTS.High-performance suspension

The M3 GTS suspension, also derived from motor racing, is based on the front and rear axle construction featured on the M3 Coupé. However, the BMW M3 GTS features a rigidly bolted rear suspension subframe with adjustable height. The car, thus, can be lowered by up to 16mm at the front and 12mm at the rear. It also features separately adjustable dampers while, camber on the front and rear axles are also variable.

Compared to the standard M3, the GTS brake discs are 18mm larger in diameter at the front and 30mm larger in diameter at the rear.

Optimised aerodynamics

In order to optimise air stream and on-demand adaptation of downforce characteristics, the M3 GTS is fitted with racing-oriented front apron and rear wing elements. These offer the possibility to adapt the car’s aerodynamic characteristics according to the racetrack profile and other motor sport requirements.

2011 BMW X3

2011 BMW X3

With production expected to start at the company’s Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, the 2011 BMW X3 features a balder exterior design than looks more ‘simplified’ comparing to the model it replaces, while at the interior customers will get premium quality through a combination of leather, wood and aluminium plus a driver oriented center console.

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BMW X3 (2011)
BMW X3 (2011)

The 2011 BMW X3 will offer more luggage space than any of its competitors as the boot capacity is 550 or 1600 liters with the rear seats folded and and motorisation options at launch will include a 3.0-litre inline-six that produces 240 HP and 230 lb-ft of torque which will go on the C3 xDrive28i and a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six that outputs 300 HP and 00 lb-ft of torque for the X3 xDrive35i version. With the first powering option accelerating from 0 to 60 mph will take 6.7 seconds while the 300 HP version will take only need 5.5 seconds, and onto a top speed of 250 Km/h (electronically limited). Both these engines will use an 8-speed automatic transmission and starting from 2011 a third powerplant will be available to Europeans, and that is a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that will be badged as the xDrive20d and which will deliver 184 HP and 280-lb-ft of torque. This version will need 8.5 seconds to hit 100 Km/h from a stand still, with a maximum speed of 210 Km/h, and power will be sent to the wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox. Towards the end of 2011 the automaker says it will introduce more petrol and diesel engine options.

The 2011 BMW X3 price was not announced yet.

BMW press release :

• Second generation of the Sports Activity Vehicle with significantly increased space, optimised functionality and enhanced driving comfort.
• Strengthening of leading position in terms of agility and efficiency through new engines, eight-speed automatic transmission, innovative suspension technology and BMW EfficientDynamics.
• Two engine variants at time of market launch: BMW X3 xDrive20d with four-cylinder diesel engine (135 kW/184 bhp) and BMW X3 xDrive35i with straight six-cylinder petrol engine (225 kW/306 bhp).
• Auto Start Stop function featured for the first time in conjunction with six-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.
• Four-wheel drive technology BMW xDrive harmonised for optimised driving dynamics featured as standard, Performance Control optional.
• Newly conceived suspension technology, electric power steering featured for the first time in a BMW X model, variable sports steering optional.
• First BMW X model with optional Damper Control and Dynamic Drive Control.
• Highest degree of interior variability thanks to folding and 40 : 20 : 40-split rear seat backrests, maximum luggage compartment volume: 1,600 litres.
• Range of BMW ConnectedDrive options unique in the segment: Head-up Display, Internet access, reversing camera with Top View.

Characteristics.

• Engine variants:
BMW X3 xDrive20d: Straight four-cylinder diesel engine with aluminium crankcase, turbocharger and Common Rail direct injection,
displacement: 1,995 cc, power output: 135 kW/184 bhp at 4,000 rpm,
max. torque: 380 Nm at 1,750 – 2,750 rpm,
acceleration [0 – 100 km/h]: 8.5 seconds,
top speed: 210 km/h,
average fuel consumption according to EU: 5.6 litres/100 km,
CO2 emission according to EU: 149 g/km,
exhaust emission standard: EU5.
BMW X3 xDrive35i: Straight six-cylinder petrol engine with
BMW TwinPower Turbo, direct injection and VALVETRONIC,
displacement: 2,979 cc, power output: 225 kW/306 bhp at 5,800 rpm,
max. torque: 400 Nm at 1,300 rpm,
acceleration [0 – 100 km/h]: 5.7 seconds,
top speed: 245 km/h,
average fuel consumption according to EU: 8.8 litres/100 km,
CO2 emission according to EU: 204 g/km,
exhaust emission standard: EU5.

2011 BMW M3 Frozen Gray

2011 BMW M3 Frozen Gray

Approaching 25 years old with original BMW M3, BMW of North America announced the production lasted for thirty identical 2011 BMW M3 Coupe Gray Frozen equipped for the United States. 2011 BMW M3 Coupe Gray Frozen matte gray paint in particular with metallic sheen further emphasize sporty lines of a legendary M3. Unique Fox Red / Black Novillo bi-colored leather interior is also shown. This is the first and only opportunity to Frozen Gray metallic exterior paint is available on the M3 for the 2011 model year in the United States. Will be MSRP $ 77,600.

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BMW M3 Frozen Gray (2011)
BMW M3 Frozen Gray (2011)
Every 2011 M3 Coupe Gray Frozen will be supported by now familiar 4.0-liter, 414 horsepower V8 with BMW M Double Clutch Transmission and M (M DCT). Also shown is the new M3 Competition Package, a set of exclusive 19-inch wheels and adds other upgrades. In addition, each purchase of the BMW M3 Coupe 2011 Gray’s one-day registration is also frozen at the BMW Performance Driving School in Spartanburg, South Carolina. 2011 BMW M3 Coupe Gray Frozen making tradition of innovation and the spirit to ascend through the inclusion of key changes in the dynamics of the quality of the M3’s. Competition Package equipped vehicles reduce ride height by 10mm and includes a unique Wheel 19 ‘with wide offset to increase stability, the standard Electronic Control damping with improved planning, programming and a higher threshold for the M Dynamic Mode. The 2011 BMW M3 Coupe Gray frozen is also equipped with M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT), 0-60mph acceleration of 4.5 seconds from the M3 reduced to 4.7 (6-speed manual). Special BMW Individual matte finish on frozen Gray M3 adds shine a rare metal for vehicles. Compared with conventional exterior colors with gloss, statue-like characters frozen gray paint is made with athletic contours M3. To achieve this glow, a special BMW Color System matt varnish is applied in the primary Space Gray Metallic.

25 years and four generations of the BMW M3

Racing provides the basis for the creation of the original M3 1986’s. The BMW M3 was produced as a road-going homologation versions of the 3-series will qualify to compete in the German Touring Car Championship. The popularity and consumer demand is very motivated to continue developing the M3 case, so that both players are better and more inviting road car as it developed in line with the underlying 3 Series, the company’s most popular vehicles. In 1988, North America meeting with the BMW M3 for the first time, and the 2.3-liter high-revving inline-four with 192 hp is a legend on the side of the Atlantic. Second-generation M3 arrives in U.S. for 1995 model year, 3.0-liter (and later 3.2-liter) 240 hp inline-6 engines. The car started the next chapter of history M3 Racing, which spanned a decade on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1997 the first M3 Sedan joined the family and the M3 Convertible followed shortly thereafter. Third-generation M3, 2001-2006 is available as a coupe and convertible, again offered with a six-cylinder power, this time with 333 horsepower from 3.2 liters extraordinary. From 2002 model year, this marked the first supply BMW’s Sequential Manual Gearbox M3 from (SMG) for the United States.

2011 BMW 3-Series Coupe

2011 BMW 3-Series Coupe

BMW is giving its 3-Series Coupe and Convertible models a slight refresh for 2011, but the most significant change looks to be under the hood.The 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six in the 335i models maintains its strong output of 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, but it’s nearly an all-new engine BMW says, with five more years of development time, improved fuel-efficiency and emissions and better responsiveness.

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BMW 3-Series Coupe (2011)
BMW 3-Series Coupe (2011)

The engine, which was recently rolled out in the 535i Gran Turismo, incorporates a single twin-scroll turbocharger instead of the previous twin-turbo setup, along with full Valvetronic variable valve timing.The heavily revised engine will be paired with a six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed Tiptronic automatic in the 3-Series models. As before, BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system will be available on both Coupes.

Acceleration times for the new 2011 BMW 335i clock in at 5.3 seconds for the 335i Coupe and 5.5 seconds for the Convertible, with an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph—or 150 mph when equipped with the Sport Package.

Design-wise, the basic proportions of the Coupe and Convertible have been kept intact, but BMW has introduced a new headlight design—with Xenon Adaptive Headlights standard in the 3-Series Coupe and Convertible in the U.S.—along with a new fascia, new detailing for the taillights, and revised side mirrors. Overhangs have been slightly extended for 2011, while a chrome-framed BMW kidney grille has been widened slightly to match a broadened hood. The rear air dam has received additional contour lines as well, and taillights get a new look.

Both models remain offered with a wide range of interior trims, including Dark or Light Burl Walnut or Bamboo Anthracite woods, or Aluminum trim, and there’s a choice between leatherette or Dakota leather upholstery, in several shades. Special sun-reflective leather is offered in Convertibles, promising cooler surface temperatures.

Interior: a truly stylish ambiance

The emphasis on individual style, dynamic performance and exclusivity continues within the interior. Here again, the focus is on the driving experience, as announced by the standard leather multifunction steering wheel. Horizontal lines dominate the surfaces on and around the instrument panel which blend with the lines of the center console door panels to give the interior a light but dynamic feel. In true BMW fashion, all operational and informational elements essential to driving are grouped on and around the steering wheel. Climate controls, as well as those for the audio and navigation systems, are within easy reach of the front passenger. Because the Coupe and Convertible are four-passenger cars, the rear seat passengers are treated to a center console between their individual rear seats which includes individual storage boxes, additional air outlet vents, and footwell lights. The BMW 3-Series Coupe and Convertible come standard with Dark Burl Walnut wood trim. As a choice, Bamboo Anthracite wood, Light Burl Walnut wood, and Aluminum trim are optional. Like the standard Dark Burl Walnut, these materials appear on the dash, front and rear consoles, doors and rear side panels. The standard leatherette upholstery is available in Black and Creme Beige. For the optional leather upholstery, luxurious Dakota leather can be chosen. Here too, the buyer may choose Creme Beige, Oyster, Coral Red, Saddle Brown, Gray, or Black. Upholstery leather appears on the seat facings, door inserts and door handle surrounds; other leather-trimmed items include the gear shift boot, handbrake grip and steering wheel.

2011 BMW 3-Series Convertible

2011 BMW 3-Series Convertible

The 2011 3 Series Convertible is a 2-door, 4-passenger luxury convertible, available in 3 trims, ranging from the 328i to the 335is.

Upon introduction, the 328i is equipped with a standard 3.0-liter, I6, 230-horsepower engine that achieves 17-mpg in the city and 26-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard, and a 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is optional. The 335is is equipped with a standard 3.0-liter, I6, 320-horsepower, turbo engine that achieves 18-mpg in the city and 26-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard, and a 7-speed manual transmission with overdrive is optional. original article  read full article
BMW 3-Series Convertible (2011)
BMW 3-Series Convertible (2011)

The E92 3-Series convertible is BMW’s first model with a retractable hardtop. BMW says this convertible is the perfect car for two-person backroad vacation adventures whenever the weather permits. Built on the same chassis and with the same engine choices as the 3-Series coupe, it gives up just a little weight and luggage room in return for the fun of top-down motoring in an all-season automobile.

The only variation between the 328i and 335i models is in the power plant. The 328i uses BMW’s normally aspirated 3.0-liter inline six, offering 230 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 200 foot-pounds of torque at 2,750 rpm. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission; a six-speed automatic with rapid-action Steptronic gear selection is optional. The 335i has a new N54 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder with a single twin-scroll turbocharger, high-precision fuel injection, and an all-aluminum crankcase, pushing the car to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. The motor produces 300 horsepower at 5,800 rpm. Peak toque is 300 pound-feet, available from a mere 1,200 rpm, all the way up to 5,000 rpm. Sun-Reflective Leather offers cooler seats
BMW is the first carmaker in the world to use sun-reflective technology to mitigate temperatures on leather seating, armrest surfaces, headrests, and gear shifter. The process uses modified color pigments imbedded in the leather during the production process to reflect the infrared radiation of the sun in wavelengths of more than 720 nanometers.

This leather treatment is able to reduce surface temperatures on dark interior colors by up to 20 Celsius degrees (36 Fahrenheit degrees), and also offers advantages on light-colored upholstery, where the heating effect of sunshine is less severe, reducing the surface temperature by as much as 15 Celsius degrees (27 Fahrenheit degrees). All other qualities of the leather remained unchanged.

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2011 BMW 3-Series

2011 BMW 3-Series

The 2011 3-Series goes on sale toward the end of the summer and sits between the 1-Series and 5-Series in BMW’s range. The core of the range is built around 328i, 335i, and 335is models, with both rear- and all-wheel-drive models available. It starts at a base price of $ 33,100 for the sedan.BMW’s 3-Series has become a legend in its own time because of its sporting dynamics, trim proportions and reasonably affordable price. BMW has modestly upgraded its E90 3-Series — which is BMW-speak for the fifth generation of a lineup that dates back to the late-1970s — now with a new engine option, revisions to the exterior and an upgraded iDrive system.

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BMW 3-Series (2011)
About this Vehicle

Trim: 2011 BMW 3 Series 328i

MSRP: $ 33,650

Engine: 3L I6

Transmission: Automatic Drivetrain: RWD

Fuel Type: Gas

Curb Weight: 3,362 lbs.

Review

The BMW 3 Series is regarded as one of the most popular series of luxury cars on the road today. The 3 Series sedan is considered the luxury sedan of choice, year after year, in auto reviews. With a slight face lift and some engine modifications, the 2011 BMW 3 Series is now available for sale. Read on for the results of our road test of the new 3 Series sedan.

Performance

Like most auto manufacturers, BMW is aiming to make fuel economy and overall efficiency a priority, and the 2011 3 Series group is no different. In fact, BMW has a program called Efficient Dynamics that’s expected to be a leading part of the fuel-efficiency push in the auto industry. Thanks to that gas-sipping technology, the 2011 BMW 3 Series lineup now offers an N55 model that is more fuel-efficient and cleaner-burning than its predecessors. Other models should still achieve the 18/28 mpg city/highway rating of the 2010 model. The engine in the 328i remains the same for 2011, but places a single, twin-scroll turbocharger engine with 300 horsepower in the 335i model. All 3 Series models have 0-60 times of around five seconds. Handling and braking are solid, with a six-speed manual drivetrain standard and a six-speed auto optional.

Exterior and Interior Features

BMW made only a few cosmetic changes to the 3 Series for 2011. Auto reviews refer to the design changes as a «facelift.» The 2011 BMW is longer and slightly higher than the previous model. New exterior features include horizontal chrome blades, LED lighting in the front and the rear, a lifted back end, new bumpers, and new rocker panels and sideview mirrors. See photos of the 2011 3 Series in our gallery.

2011 BMW 3-Series Convertible

2011 BMW 3-Series Convertible

There are cars we like, and then there are cars we love. Cars we like get good reviews. Cars we love win 10Best awards. After awarding 10Best trophies to the BMW 3-series for the last 19 years in a row, it’s clear that we’re in love, even through multiple generations and model changes. Of course, every change made to the 3 could upset, or even destroy, its unique balance of attributes. Fortunately, BMW has controlled the pace of 3-series evolution, and the regular but subtle styling updates and the phasing in of new technologies have never diluted the driving experience for which the model’s known.

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BMW 3-Series Convertible (2011)
The sedan and wagon models underwent mid-cycle refreshes for 2009, getting off easy with just a tasteful cosmetic nip/tuck and nearly no other changes. Now BMW has released images and info on the face-lifted 2011 3-series coupe and convertible, which involve not just new looks, but also the 335i swapping its awesome twin-turbo motor for one with just one turbo.

Carefully Honed Package

While all of today’s 3-series variants are clearly related, the low-slung coupe and convertible models do not share many exterior pieces with their more upright four-door siblings. And for 2011, the two- and four-door 3-series grow even further apart visually. Up front, the nose has been smoothed and appears lower and wider, thanks to larger apertures for the trademark kidney grille and bigger bi-xenon headlamps. Replacing the current trio of lower air intakes is a squared-off, full-width opening with outboard fog lamps and a pair of horizontal chrome blades that, frankly, might have been better left in the knife drawer. Considering how sharp the current coupe’s front end is, we’re not quite ready to embrace the 2011’s newfound bluntness as an improvement, although we do look forward to staring down some Audis with the Bimmers’ bright new LED «angel eyes.»

The rear end also adopts slick LED lighting, as well as a new bumper, although the bumper is more sculpted, not less. New rocker panels and side mirrors round out the exterior changes. The nose job and butt lift add roughly an inch and a half of overall length, rendering the 2011 coupe and convertible the longest 3-series models ever, measuring about three and a half inches longer than the sedan.

Inside, the 2011 models bear no changes of consequence, other than newly designed (and still-optional) steering-wheel shift paddles for models equipped with automatic transmissions. iDrive remains optional, not standard. Given how well-executed the intimate cabin of the 3-series is, no news is good news.

 

335i: Same Thrills, Less Guilt

Mechanically, the entry-level 328i coupes and convertibles are carry-overs, with their shared 3.0-liter inline-six continuing to serve up 230 hp at 6500 rpm and 200 lb-ft of torque at 2750 rpm. Here again, no news is fine: there are few roads on which the 328i can’t put a smile on the driver’s face, and the willing engine is effortless in its power delivery. Fuel economy shouldn’t change from the 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway ratings (the heavier convertibles return slightly less) of the 2010 model, regardless of transmission choice.

Bigger changes, however, were made to the zesty 335i and its sweet, turbocharged BMW six. Introduced just over three years ago, the prodigious and velvety N54 still ranks among the engines we’d deem least in need of improvement. But with an eye on rising emissions and fuel-economy mandates around the world, BMW designed the new N55, dismissing the tag-team turbos in favor a single, twin-scroll turbocharger that BMW claims is even quicker to spool than the twin setup. The N55 also features BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve timing and lift system. Thus endowed and aided by direct injection, the all-aluminum N55 matches the N54’s 300-hp output at the same 5800 rpm. The N55 engine also serves up the same 300 lb-ft of torque, but starts doing so 200 revs lower, at 1200 rpm, and max torque is on tap all the way through 5000 rpm. Redline is 7000 rpm. The 335i sedan also will switch to the N55 as soon as production of the 2011 coupes begins.

More Choices than Ever

As with the 328i, the 2011 335i will be offered with a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. (Sadly, BMW won’t offer the 3er with an N55/eight-speed automatic combo, as is planned for the upcoming 535i GT.) But BMW will continue to make xDrive all-wheel drive available on all 3-series coupes. No matter the transmission or to how many wheels the power is delivered, every 335i promises to be plenty quick: BMW estimates that the manual-equipped rear-wheel-drive 335i coupe can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, with the droptop requiring 5.5 seconds. Add another 0.2 second to each time for the automatics. Even quicker is the xDrive-equipped 335i coupe, which overcomes all-wheel drive’s inherent weight penalty and hustles to 60 in a claimed 5.2 seconds in manual form and 5.3 with the auto. Those stats seem conservative to us, as we’ve repeatedly seen high fours from 335i coupes in the past. We expect to squeeze similar numbers from the 2011 model.

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2011 BMW 3-Series Wagon

2011 BMW 3-Series Wagon

The most practical of the 3-series family delivers the same dynamic excellence as the sedan. The steering, poise, and handling are nearly unparalleled in any vehicle, much less other wagons. All-wheel drive is optional, but the twin-turbo six and turbo-diesel unfortunately are not. original article  read full article
BMW 3-Series Wagon (2011)

The BMW 328i delivers a special mix of sporting performance, practicality and European luxury in a compact package. It’s the car that defines ‘sport sedan,’ and the benchmark every luxury car maker from Acura to Volvo aims at when it develops an entry-level luxury sport sedan. The rear-wheel drive 328i is available in coupe, sedan, wagon and cabriolet bodies, while the xDrive all-wheel drive system is available in coupe, sedan and wagon only. Power is provided by a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that puts out 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all variations, with a six-speed automatic transmission optional. Standard safety features include six airbags, four-wheel ABS disc brakes with adaptive brakelights, traction and stability control, active anti-whiplash head restraints, as well as automatic pop-up roll-over protection on the convertible. For 2011, the 328i sedan and wagon are unchanged, but the coupe and cabriolet have received a mid-cycle refresh with new front and rear fascias and lights. BMW, along with a rapidly diminishing handful of other European automakers, continues to prove year after year that there is a small niche in the United States for smaller, performance-oriented cargo haulers. Don’t call them station wagons, even though that’s what they are — BMW calls them Sport Wagons.

Offered in 328i or 328i xDrive guise, the latter indicating BMW’s sophisticated xDrive mechanism, the BMW wagons slot below the midsize 535i xDrive in the automaker’s North American lineup.

Until the latest model was introduced, BMW hasn’t often offered a 3-Series wagon in the United States, despite the fact that the automaker has long sold a cargo-hauling version of its best-seller in it home European market. Introduced to small success with the previous-generation E46 3-Series, the E90, as the current model is called in BMW’s coding, is only the second 3-Series wagon to be officially imported. Naturally, cargo space is up substantially over the standard sedans, coupes and convertibles that make up the rest of the fifth-generation BMW 3-Series lineup. With the rear seats folded, the 328i wagon can accommodate about 60 cubic feet of cargo, compared to the 12 cubic feet the sedan’s trunk will hold. The only available engine on both is the automaker’s otherwise entry-level (on sedans, coupes and convertibles) 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, which puts out 230 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 200 lb-ft. of torque at 2,750 rpm. It mates to either a six-speed automatic, with optional paddle shifters, or a conventional six-speed manual transmission.

 

The xDrive all-wheel-drive is programmed with a rear-axle bias in order to retain the traditional rear-wheel-drive feel of a BMW, though power can be apportioned to the front wheels rapidly when slip is detected.

Though most of the recent changes to the 3-Series were merely cosmetic enhancements, including a revised front fascia and new LED tail lamps, the optional iDrive system was thoroughly revamped with a new menu setup, faster processor and higher-resolution screen. The only change of note to the interior was a revised starter button design.