Exclusive Report: \’09 E90 Mid-Cycle Refresh

As we ‘re previously reported, the current 3 Series sedan and wagon (internally dubbed the E90 and E91) will be undergoing the usual mid-cycle refresh next year. Expect several key changes to the exterior of the car. Notably the front and rear fascia will be tweaked. Also outside, look for the rear lights to incorporate LEDs similar to the X6 design and for the addition of upgraded halo daytime driving lights.

Inside the car BMW will likely offer an updated iDrive system (pictured) complete with a vastly improved input system that will allow for quicker access to information. As previously reported on BF, the new design will be a little closer to what Audi has had for several years with it ‘s MMI interface. Also inside look for some of the interior trim to be slightly tweaked.

Mechanically expect the biggest news to come from a new optional DCT (dual clutch transmission) that will be relatively close to what will be offered on the M3 this summer. As reported on BF last month, it will be a stripped down version in comparison to the //M. Drivelogic will not be as necessary and more than likely will not be a part of the system however it will have a couple of shift pattern options.

Eventually we could see a special sport model similar to the ZHP package (available on the E46) offered on the E90. We expect this to eventually be offered on the E92, E93 and even the E91 depending on the market. It’s this sport model that could see the debut of an up-rated 3.0L turbo, M style (or tii branded) body kit and an electronic limited slip differential currently available on the 135i.

The E90 3 Series sedan will be the first of the current generation to receive it’s customary mid-cycle refresh. Look for the coupe, convertible (and to a lesser extent M3 since it’s exterior design is generally left along) to get the same updates almost a year after the sedan. Theoretically the updated iDrive controller and interface could come sooner but we have no direct information saying it will at this point.


There is some internal debate at BMW and BMWNA about the correct timing of this car. While some sources have pointed to a standard fall roll-out throughout the world, others have specifically mentioned the possibility of a March launch for the US market among others. If that ‘s the case don ‘t be surprised to see the model year slip to ’10. This latter plan would be in response to the new 7 Series debuting this fall and BMW wanting to maximize the marketing message around that new car.

One thing we do know however; BMW is currently doing the photo-shoot of the updated 3er in Spain. So if any of our Spanish readers happen upon a slightly unfamiliar E90, get your cameras out quick.

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  • Chris Chao

    I’d love to see a Performance Package version of the E92 335i coupe. I personally prefer the smooth hood of the 335i versus the power dome of the new M3. I also prefer the regular mirrors as opposed to the new M3 mirrors. That’s just my opinion, however. Having the turbo engine tuned for more power would be great as long as it still gets good mileage. One of the major downsides of the new M3 is that it’s a gas-guzzler. I’d recommend just doing the engine performance and suspension improvements, and adding a much-needed limited-slip differential, and leaving the body alone. I already think the 335i coupe looks beautiful the way it is now.


  • Jim


    What about the possibility of the N53 engine? Is North American sulfur content still to high? A more efficient, or at least more powerful, 328i would be nice to see.

  • Chris Chao

    I forgot to mention a few things. I’d like to see the option to have a cloth interior, like the one the M3 offers as standard. And I am not interested in a sunroof/moonroof, so giving buyers that option would be good too, unlike the E90 and E92 where all of the cars must come with a moonroof. The thick steering wheel on the M3 is nice too. Don’t tack on a rear spoiler though. If I were to buy an M3, I’d opt for the rear spoiler deletetion option. The rear of the regular E92 is just too nice already. So if there’s someone out there at BMW who is listening, this is what I’d want in a 335i Performance Package! I’ll order one with a DCT please!


  • Enzo

    That rearview mirror does not look promising.

  • Patrick

    I agree Enzo. I hope BMW doesn’t do the “blinker in rear view mirrors” thing. Never liked it. IMO wouldn’t fit to the 3er. Looks acceptable on the C-Klasse, but still not a fan of it.

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