BMW is getting ready to implement a midcycle facelift for its current, F30 3-series. Part of the 2016 update will be new engine options, according to the website bmwblog.com. The 3-series will receive a plug-in-hybrid version with a four-cylinder gasoline engine, and the 3.0-liter 335i will be replaced by the 340i, which features a new six-cylinder turbo of the same displacement.
The plug-in hybrid, likely to be called 328e, will use a four-cylinder turbo and an electric motor. Combined output is 180 horsepower and 236 lb-ft, distilled through an eight-speed automatic; the hybrid also offers a 22-mile electric range. The model replaces the current ActiveHybrid 3, which is fitted with a powerful straight-six and an electric motor. (As for the new hybrid, its “e” designation reminds us of the mid-1980s “eta” engines.)
The 340i gets the new, modular 3.0-liter straight-six, code-named B58. It replaces the 335i, with its 300-hp N55 engine. We expect a power boost of about 20 horsepower, and we’re told that the B58 sounds better than the somewhat disappointing N55. The model designation 340i, of course, borders on the ludicrous. This is not a four-liter V-8, and it doesn’t come close to the power output of a modern V-8, either.
As to the M3, it will receive just a few minor upgrades reflecting parts of the facelift of the 3-series. Look for upgraded lighting units, but beyond that, we believe the styling of the M3 won’t change. The website bmwblog.com says that BMW is considering a competition package. We hear that further down the road, BMW is mulling a three-cylinder for the entry-level version of the 3-series. That’s not part of this update, and we don’t expect it to come to the U.S. any time soon.