With an all-new model in a growing segment, BMW of North America Inc. expects sales of its 3-series coupe, which went on sale in July, to nearly double next year.
BMW expects to sell about 14,000 3-series coupes in the 2000 calendar year. In 1998, BMW sold 7,155 3-series coupes in the old body style.
The redesigned 3-series coupe and the sedan, which went on sale a year ago, are now designated 'E46,' denoting a new generation. Also new for 2000 is a 'C' designation for 'coupe.' Before, coupes and sedans shared the same designation.
Like the sedan, the coupe comes in two models distinguished by engine size: the 323Ci, with a 2.5-liter inline-six; and the 328Ci, with a 2.8-liter inline-six.
The only parts the sedan and the coupe share are the door handles, the side marker lights and the BMW roundel badge. Inside, the coupe gets its own interior door panels and a smaller-diameter sport steering wheel. The front seats are a fraction of an inch lower than the seats in the sedan.
The coupe comes standard with a sportier suspension, which makes the car about an inch lower than the sedan. The coupe also has a lower roofline, a flatter windshield angle in profile and wider fender flares, plus distinct headlights, taillights, blinkers and front spoiler. Its small, high-intensity fog lights will be shared with the high-performance M5, which debuts late this month.
Still to come in the 3-series lineup are a two-door convertible and a station wagon, expected to go on sale in the first quarter of 2000 as 2000 models. An all-new, high-performance M3 coupe is due in the fall of 2000 as a 2001 model.