BimmerCast #68: BMWUSA 3 Series & Z4 Product Manager Interviewed

Jan 20 • BimmerCast, E89 Z4 Roadster, F30 3 Series, F31 Touring9 Comments

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While at NAIAS we caught up with Victor Lelue, BMW 3 Series and Z4 Product Manager for the US. We used this opportunity to chat about everything you can imagine 3 Series. Starting with the 320i and why it exists without much if any improved MPG figures. We then moved onto the new 3 Series wagon and what we should expect with it. And yes that means only xDrive and 8 Speed auto.

But the big subject we tackled regarding the 3er is of course the new diesels. We learned from Victor that the new 3 Series diesel will be powered by a 2.0L four cylinder (as expected) with around 180 hp and 300 ft lbs of torque. And MPG? BMW is expecting 40 pus MPG on the highway.

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The new 3er diesel (likely called the 328d) will be all about efficiency where the 335d was marketed mostly with performance in mind.

Yet the Z4 had a big day at NAIAS with the world debut of its LCI. Victor gives us some insight into why the LCI was so subtle (hint – it ‘s already pretty good looking). Additionally we asked Victor about the lack of a M Performance Line Z4 considering the 35is is basically just that. And what about that N54 sticking around? You ‘ll have to listen to find out the official answer.

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  • johnparke

    In BMWUSA’s press release they said that the RWD and X-drive touring would be available in the USA. Under the dynamic options section: “The BMW 328i xDrive, all-wheel-drive models will go on sale at launch along with the introduction of the rear wheel drive 328i Sports Wagon”. Is it possible that he misspoke? Or did BMW change their minds?

    http://www.f30post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=714556

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      Great catch. We’ll follow up.

  • D

    I hope they call it the 320d. I can certainly see why they would want to call it the 328d for the uneducated US consumer, probably similar price to the 328i, but the uneducated US consumer isn’t going to buy this car anyway. To me it just seems like false advertising when it’s clearly the same as the 320d in other markets. The performance compares better with the 320i, which is why they call it the 320d. If they wanted a 328d they should have given us the higher output N47 from the 125d/525d, but they chose the 320d for a reason, so call it what it is. It seems odd to me that this car is supposed to launch in the next couple months and they haven’t decided what to call it yet.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      You may be right. If you listen carefully you hear Victor slip and call it both the 328d and then the 320d.

  • Robert

    If i heard him correctly he said that the 320i will have comparable or better performance than the e90 325i. Not a bad alternative if you dont want to spend $45,000 on a 328i. I like the ability to pick and choose the opitions with the 320i (e.g. sport package, etc.) without having to buy options you dont want.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      Agreed. I really like the return to options simplicity with this model.

  • bmwdriver

    I was just resigning myself to the 8-speed auto (no manual) on the wagon…but if it’s true – x-drive only – that’s a deal breaker.

  • Dave
  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.granados.733 Frank Granados

    I prefer the packaging of the 320i with single “A la carte” menu options vs the “All or nothing” option packages in the 328i/335i (Hopefully this will be remedied in years to come). Me thinks, BMWUSA should have made the 320i the defacto 4-cyl (N20) model and leave the sweet N52 straight six well alone in the 328i. I know, I know…. CAFE regulations, emissions, lousy politics, etc.

    I think the 320i is the “Affordable” new F30 3-series to have but be careful with the amount of options you tick. A fully loaded 320i can easily set you back over $45K making the more “Powerful” 328i a better alternative. Keep the 320i under $35K and you’ll have a winner.

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