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.