It doesn’t seem that long ago, but my calendar tells me that the current BMW 3 Series (F30) made its debut more than three and a half years ago. Back then, BMW surprised us on the launch in Spain by providing the Catalunya Circuit for our on-the-limit handling trials in the new 328i.
With its new 245-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, the 328i proved responsive, punchy and a lot of fun on the track. In fact, its performance didn’t seem far off that of the more powerful but heavier 306-hp six-cylinder 335i. And with less weight in the nose, the 328i was the sweeter-handling car.
This summer, BMW introduced the “Life Cycle Impulse” version of the F30 in Munich, debuting the facelifted car not with the four-cylinder engine but the new B58 six-cylinder that will soon become available in the next-generation 7 Series, as well.
The B58 has the same 2,998cc displacement as its N55 predecessor, but the top-rank 3’s trunk lid badge has gotten an upgrade from 335i to 340i. The new nameplate helps distinguish this car as powered by a member of BMW’s all-new EU6 emissions-compliant modular engine family, which includes three, four and six-cylinder gasoline engines as well as four-cylinder diesel engines.
EU6 yields a sublime engine
The new engine carries over many of the N55’s design features, like direct injection, Valvetronic, Double VANOS and TwinPower turbocharging, but it uses a new block, new internals and is slightly lighter.
“The major change in the search for better throttle response as well as improved efficiency is the move from air to water cooling for the charge air intercooler system,” says powertrain engineer Andreas Rodewald. “With water cooling, or indirect cooling as we call it internally, heat is removed through an independent water circuit and given off to air.