The fourth generation of 3 series was introduced in 1998 as E46 3 series.
A complete new design with a nice looking interior and some updated engines.
The higher price of the new 3 series did not matter, it sold well from the start.
There were five models available: 318i, 320i, 323i, 328i and the 320d diesel.
All were six cylinders except the 318i and the 320d diesel which were 4 cylinders.
Only one year after introduction of the sedan, BMW introduced the new coupe and
the new touring. All were available with the same engines as the sedan although
the coupe did not have 4 cylinders. This means it was only available as 320Ci,
323Ci and 328Ci. BMW also introduced a new 4 cylinder engine for the sedan.
This was the 316i with 105 HP but maybe more important was the arrival of the
new six cylinder diesel, the 330d. It had 184 HP and a top speed of 230 km/h!
Before summer 2000 started, BMW had their new convertible ready. First available
as 323Ci only since BMW was about to replace the 2.8 engine with a new 231 HP
strong 3.0 engine! This engine replaced all 2.8 engines so all models received it.
With this new engine, BMW decided it was time to introduce four wheel drive again.
The last four wheel drive 3 series was available in 1991 as 325ix in the E30 3 series.
Named 330xi, it was only available as sedan or touring. BMW must have thought it
would sell more four wheel drive cars as a 325xi and a 330xd diesel followed soon.
But before this happened, BMW replaced the 323i with the 325i, which had 193 HP.
The same engine would also be used in the compact, which was introduced in 2001.
This new baby BMW was not like any other 3 series but had a whole new look!
It had double, round head lights and clear rear lights which looked a bit strange.
The interior, however, was just like any other 3 series and it also received the
same engines as the sedan had. The news did not last long as BMW decided the
sedan and touring needed a face lift. Both front and rear received new lights
and bumpers while the interior received a new navigation unit. More important
were the engine updates: the 318i received the new valvetronic engine and the
320d diesel now had common rail. BMW also introduced a 318d diesel.