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2007 BMW 3-Series Coupe first look

2007 BMW 3-Series Coupe first look

We just got back from the U.S. launch of the 2007 BMW 3-Series Coupe at a swish event here in San Francisco. The press event came complete with the usual glib and glossy PR trappings, including a real-life German engineer in the shape of Udo Lindner, who is the project manager for the drivetrain of the new model. With the aid of a slide show, Lindner went to great lengths to underscore just how unique the new 3-Series Coupe is--particularly the many ways in which its external design differs from that of the 3-Series Sedan, which was released in the United States last May.

The six-cylinder '07 3-Series Coupe arrives at U.S. dealers next month in two incarnations: a naturally aspirated, 230-horsepower 328i, and a twin-turbocharged, 300-horsepower 335i. Lindner justified the turbo option--traditionally a source of concern due to lag and poor fuel economy--by focusing on what he called BMW's "efficient dynamics," which includes the use of high-precision fuel-injection systems. The result is a six-cylinder car that competes with V-8s for performance while beating them on fuel economy, he said. The 335i will be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox and as an automatic with available steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

As well as the two launch models, an all-wheel-drive 328xi incorporating BMW's xDrive system will be available in October, just in time to attract buyers in the U.S. snow belt. The 328xi will be the first 3-Series Coupe to offer xDrive.

Bi-xenon headlights, adaptive brake lights, and run-flat tires will come standard on all 2007 3-Series Coupes. Optional tech features include GPS navigation (as part of the iDrive interface), Bluetooth (as part of the BMW Assist package), keyless entry and start, and adaptive cruise control. The 328i Coupe will base at $35,995, while the 335i Coupe will start at $41,295.