The BMW E90 series is the fifth generation of the BMW 3 Series range of compact executive cars. The car is also available as a touring (designated as E91), coupé (E92) and coupé cabriolet (E93). A high performance BMW M3 version of the E90, E92, and E93 is also available. It is the successor to the E46 model, and was launched in March 2005. The E90 is slated to be replaced in 2012 when a new 3 Series body is introduced.
In 2002, Head of Production Norbert Reithofer and Development Chief Burkhard Goeschel started an initiative to halve the time it took to reach full production of the next generation 3-series from six months to three. First marketed in March 2005, the car quickly became BMW Group's best selling automobile worldwide, and by the end of the year 229,900 vehicles had been delivered.It is by far the best-selling entry-level luxury car in Canada and the United States.
In 2009, the saloon underwent an extensive mid-cycle facelift. In 2011, the coupe and convertible were facelifed as well. Facelifted 3-series are commonly referred to as "LCI" (Lifecycle Impulse) models.
he Canadian 3 Series followed the US very closely, and also had an additional trim in the entry-level 323i RWD saloon, which takes over from the 2005 BMW 320i (E46) and its 168 hp 2.2-litre inline six, which was in turn preceded by the 1999 BMW 318i 138 hp (103 kW) inline four. With an MSRP of $35,200 for the 2006 model year, the 323i is priced the same as the BMW 128i, making them the least-expensive vehicles in the BMW Canadian lineup. As the base model in 3 Series lineup in Canada, the 323i does not have available or optional; Xenon headlamps, fog lights, automatic climate control, power-adjustable seats, navigation, premium audio, and Dakota leather upholstery. The 323i also only has a six-speaker audio system and 16-inch alloy wheels. The 2006-7 model year 323i did not have an engine block heater available—though one can be retrofitted—without this ignition in extremely cold weather are problematic. The 323i received fog lamps for 2008, automatic climate control for 2009, and 17-inch alloy wheels for 2010. Amenities like a glass sunroof, heated front seats, Bluetooth, and USB input are options on the 323i that are standard on the more expensive 3 Series trims. Facing heavy competition from the more-recently refreshed Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW Canada released the 2011 BMW 323i Luxury Edition with an MSRP of $37,650, including $3,500 of upgrades including automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, electric front seats, Bluetooth and USB compatibility, and an electric glass sunroof.
The E90 saloon is 49 mm (1.9 in) longer, 78 mm (3.1 in) wider and 9 mm (0.4 in) taller than its predecessor (E46). The wheelbase is longer by 35 mm (1.4 in). In previous 3 Series models, space for passengers and luggage were common criticisms; however, BMW made significant improvements to the poor leg and headroom in those previous models. BMW's brochure even highlights, 'Now long legs can be enjoyed even by the people who have them'. Large amounts of aluminium were used in the body work and suspension in an attempt to keep the weight close to previous models; however, the E90 weighs between 50 lb (23 kg) and 300 lb (140 kg) more than comparable older models. The N54B30 engine is all aluminium with cast iron liners, while the N51 and N52 engines largely consist of magnesium with an outer shell of aluminium and even aluminium bolts to prevent corrosion from dissimilar metals. The piston sleeves in each are steel and have copper coating.
The E90 also introduced run-flat tires to the 3 Series range. Consequently, cars with run-flats are not equipped with a spare tire. While these theoretically improve performance and handling, run-flats sometimes cost more to replace and can give a harsher ride.
The saloon model was the first model sold of the 5th generation BMW 3 series. Debuting in the US in 2006, the E90 came in two trims, the 325i/xi and 330i/xi models. Later, the 3 Series lineup received an engine boost with the debuts of the 2007 328i/xi and 335i/xi models, the 335i/xi receiving the new 3.0L twin-turbo inline-6 engine.