The 2012 BMW 3-Series is larger, lighter and turbo-only

Hey BMW 3-Series. Look at you on your sixth-generation day, less bulky, more design-forward, more Hofmeister kinky and lighter than before. And awww, look at your cute little four-cylinder engine. You just want to squeeze it, don't you?

BMW released official business on the new 328i, 335i and 320d models today. Big news, such that it is, includes the first four-cylinder 3-series in the U.S. since the 1999 318ti, economy-minded features like the hybridlike automatic start-stop function as a standard feature and an available eight-speed automatic.

The new model, arriving this fall, is a little lighter (88 lbs), a little longer in both overall length (3.66") and wheelbase (1.96"), and a track that's a little wider (+1.46" front, 1.85" rear). There's also a bit more rear leg and knee room, a relief for those with formerly jammed gams.

View gallery »

BMW will offer the new 3-Series in three trim packages, each of which — aside from including specific content add-ons — emphasizes a particular accent color/material, and each of which will appeal (broadly, of course) to regional buyers. Sport Line: black (Germans), Luxury Line: chrome (Americans, Chinese) and Modern Line: brushed aluminum (Swedes, Brits).

New engine specs:
2.0-liter Four: 245 hp, peak torque of 258 lb-ft from 1,250 rpm, 0-62 mph in
5.9 seconds (328i).
3.0-liter Six: 306 hp, peak torque of 295 lb-ft at 1,200 rpm. 0-62 mph in
5.5 seconds (335i).

A hybrid version and M Sport package will arrive for the new-gen 3-Series in 2012.