Terminology: Facelift vs. LCI

When people discuss cars receiving a “facelift ” it is meant to describe a car that is receiving a cosmetic change. A nip here; a tuck there, you know like Joan Rivers. These are usually simple exterior bolt on changes; bumpers, side skirts or new lights. Many manufacturers perform these little “upgrades ” to freshen the look of the car and improve sales.

When the updates are more than skin deep, such as in a BMW it is referred to internally as a LCI or Life Cycle Impulse. A mid-cycle refresh is also a good way to describe what takes place. The E90/91 will shortly receive a Life Cycle Impulse to update the look and technologies inside and outside the car, as well as drive train. The designation of the car will remain the same because the floor pan (as many call it) will remain the same.

We have seen the LCI mules for the last 12 or so months, that alone should indicate to enthusiasts that the changes are more than sheet metal and plastic, you do not need to test those types of changes for that long. For example, the lighting updates the E90 will receive are not a simple change in the look, they are based on new tech requiring additional components and programming (so they will not be bolt ons to the prior version). BMW will also be widening the track of the car to improve handling. There are also some indications (though not completely confirmed) that the 330 will return with a new direct injection motor producing the same horsepower as the previous one offered a few years ago but with better fuel economy; this will replace the 328.

We have discussed many additional updates in the past and will continue to bring you the latest news on the car. E90 to receive new iDrive, Mid-Cycle Refresh and more. Now that you are savvy to the term LCI, do not be surprised to see it used more often!

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  • Barry

    Holy Moly..a return of the 330i would be great. 260hp would be nice too. Come on BMW. Its nice to see that facelifts go beyond cosmetics.

  • Chaz

    Its nice to get a little info on the mechanical changes, as the face lift part doesn’t interest me. A 330 would be great, as the 2006 330 was one of my favorite cars. Still, the acceleration and driving differences between the 330 and 328 are pretty subtle – not nearly as big as the difference between the 325 and 328 in my experience.

    Thanks!

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