BMW 3-Series Touring 2002 posters

The BMW 3-Series Touring is a compact executive car that was produced by BMW from 1998 to 2007. It is part of the E46 generation and was introduced in May 1998 in the sedan body style. Soon after, a coupe and touring body style became available to all markets, while the sedan was released in the United States. In 2000, a convertible and hatchback body style was released, the latter only for Europe, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The BMW E90 replaced the E46 sedans in late 2004, although the coupe and convertible remained in production until 2007. All-wheel drive ("xDrive") was reintroduced in the 3 Series, after a break of 18 years. It was available for the 325xi and 330xi sedan/wagon models. The E46 was considered the performance benchmark of its class, generating great success in many markets. The best year for the E46 was 2002, when it sold a whopping 561,249 vehicles worldwide. Its main competitors at the time included the Alfa Romeo 156, Audi A4, Lexus IS/Toyota Altezza, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Saab 9-3, and Volvo S60. The M3 version of the E46 was powered by a BMW S54 straight-six engine and released in 2001 in coupe and convertible body styles. The six-speed manual or the 6-speed "SMG-II" sequential manual gearbox were the two transmission options. The E46 was developed as an evolutionary replacement for the BMW E36 chassis and was designed with an emphasis on improving aerodynamics and increasing the car's aggressive stance. The exterior was made to be 70% more rigid than the E36's and weight distribution was at a 50/50 balance, which allowed for better handling. Inside, the entire in-car entertainment system was based on a highly flexible computer system, so it was easy to upgrade to newer BMW technologies. This included Bluetooth, DVD-based navigation, and CD changers that play MP3s.

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