The BMW 3 Series is a compact executive car manufactured by the German automaker BMW since May 1975. It was the successor to the 2002 coupe, and has now been produced in five different incarnations and a no less than five different bodystyles. The 3 Series is BMW's best selling automobile, accounting for nearly 40% of all automobiles sold by the company in 2005. The 4 series is the new 2 door 3 series starting in 2012.
(1975 - 1983) The original 3 Series. Known for its unique body styling and racing heritage, the E21 3 Series is a light, nimble, tail happy sports sedan with classic late 70's lines offering a connection to the road that few newer cars can match.
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(1983 - 1991) Born from the sporty character of the 2002 and the sharp design lines of the E21, the E30 was a blend of the best of BMW's heritage. The second generation 3 Series provided a thrilling driving experience that used the best technology available.
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(1991 - 1999) The first modern 3 Series, the E36, was the model that paved the way for the 3 Series to be named "Car of the Year" every year since the model was driving off showroom floors. Radically redesigned in 1992, the E36 was not the same 3 Series as the E21 and E30. Larger, less boxy in design, and equipped with a dual overhead cam engine, multilink rear suspension, and a more finished interior, the E36 balances sport with luxury.
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(1999 - 2006) Starting in 1999 the E46 3 Series picked up where the E36 left off. Larger, with smoother lines, and with more advanced engines than its predecessor, the E46 easily held the title of "Best Car of the Year" throughout its life.
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