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    5. New BMW 3 Series Compact: what it could be


    New BMW 3 Series Compact: what it could be

    Once upon a time, the range of the third series included not only a sedan, station wagon, coupe and convertible, but also a three-door hatchback. What would such a car look like today?

    The short history of the Compact model began in 1994, when a three-door version of the E36 body was born, 4 years after the presentation of the sedan. The car became the brand's first hatchback after the 2000/2002 Touring, which was produced until 1974. The Compact has retained the size of the sedan's wheelbase and is identical to it up to the A-pillar, but otherwise it differs from the entire range of the 36th body. If the front suspension is similar to the entire family, then the Compact received the rear suspension from the previous generation in the E30 body. Why did they even make such a car? The fact is that the E36 body has significantly increased in size relative to the E30 (for example, the length increased from 4325 to 4433 mm), which did not please many fans of the brand. The main market for the third series was Europe, and its narrow streets required more compact golf-class cars, to which the thirty-sixth body could no longer be classified. Thus, it was decided to release a shortened version of the model; by the way, it was initially planned to make three- and five-door versions, but in the end they settled on a three-door. Its length was 4210 mm, which is 223 mm less than that of the sedan. The main difference between the Compact and its golf-class competitors is the presence of rear-wheel drive.

    The second generation of the Compact was made on the basis of the E46 body and presented in 2000, while the sedan was shown to the public at the end of 1997. It was already significantly different in appearance from the rest of the range of bodies, which you can see in the photographs attached below. The wheelbase of the E46 Compact is identical to the sedan and is 2725 mm, and the length is almost 20 centimeters shorter. The model was produced until the end of 2004, after which it was replaced in the model range by the new 1st series. As we know, the current “penny” has switched to front-wheel drive, so a rear-wheel drive Compact based on a “three-ruble note” in the G30 body would be a good alternative.

    The wheelbase size remained the same, but the length was reduced due to the rear overhang, similar to the first two Compacts. The hatchback received wide side doors, while they retained the window frames – frameless doors are a privilege of the more expensive coupe body. In order to save money, the lights are identical to those installed on the sedan, especially since they are quite successful in design, but the trunk lid is new: as expected, it now opens together with the rear window, and its end is made higher.

    This is what the Compact looks like in E36 and E46 bodies 1/4 This is what the Compact looks like in E36 and E46 bodies 2/4 This is what the Compact looks like in E36 and E46 bodies 3/4 This is what the Compact looks like in the E36 and E46 bodies 4/4

    Today in Russia the price of a 3 Series sedan starts at at 2,460,000 rubles (318d AT, 150 hp). The most affordable all-wheel drive version 320i xDrive (184 hp) is estimated at 2,750,000 rubles. At the top of the range is the 374-horsepower M340i xDrive for 4,110,000 rubles in the base.

    By the way, a completely new all-wheel drive BMW 325iX in the E30 body was recently put up for sale.

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