2012 BMW 3-Series: Bigger, Bolder And More Fuel Efficient Page 4

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M Sport Package and xDrive add to the fun

Once again there will be a performance themed M Sport Package, which adds a new aerodynamic package, 18- or 19-inch light alloy wheels, an M Sport suspension, a blacked-out kidney grille, special interior pieces with blue accenting, an M Short-shifter (on manual models), M door sill covers, an M driver’s footrest and a new M leather steering wheel.

And for those in snowy climates, BMW offers its all-wheel drive xDrive option. In addition to the typical benefits of all-wheel drive, the electronically controlled xDrive system--which can fully vary the power split between the front and rear wheels with split-second speed--ensures surefootedness in the wet or snow.

The M Sport Package and xDrive option will be available next summer.

Another performance option is a new variable-ratio steering system. This system provides different steering gear ratios depending on the turning situation, so that the car responds either more directly or more softly to the driver’s steering inputs.

This reduces the number of steering wheel rotations required for bigger turns by up to 25 percent and makes for easier, more convenient parking and turning since less effort is required from the driver. The best part is that the variable-ratio steering is a purely mechanical system, meaning you don’t have that lack of feel many electronic systems can have.

Look out for the 2012 BMW 3-Series’ showroom appearance early next year and stay tuned for our first drive report.

While you wait for its arrival, click here to read up about the new high-performance M3 variant that’s still in the works.

Also, click here for our mega-gallery of all the different 2012 BMW 3-Series model lines.

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