BMW 3-Series Malaysia

The new 2009 BMW 3-Series Sedan facelift is now in Malaysia, a timely launch as it now faces competition from the B8 Audi A4 and the new W204 C-Class. All models are locally assembled, with one four-cylinder engine and 3 six-cylinder engines.

There’s no need to talk about the E90’s lovely handling but it promises it could be slightly better now thanks to a new rear track which is wider by 24mm.

New to the range is the 323i Sedan which brings entry-level inline-6 power to the 3-Series, range allowing many aspiring E90 owners to experience the sweet smooth-revving magnesium-alloy N52 engine instead of settling for the 156hp inline-4. The 323i’s engine is detuned version of the 2.5 litre unit in the 325i Sports, producing 190 horsepower and 230Nm of torque instead of 218 horsepower and 250Nm of torque.

iDriveThe interior is largely the same except for uprated padding on the door armrests for more comfort, and the biggest change of all, the latest generation of BMW’s iDrive system, with an 8.8 inch high resolution LCD screen. It’s no longer the North-South-East-West and laggy system that it was in the past – the new iDrive system is so much easier to use and now uses a hard drive-based storage system.

The 80GB drive is used to store the navigation data and 8GB of capacity is also reserved for your personal music collection. iDrive can copy music files off your iPod, MP3 player or USB thumbdrive, or even rip your audio CDs and store it in the car so you don’t really have to bring your player around if you want to listen to your music in your car.

I tried the iDrive system and found it so much better and faster to respond as well. Navigation is now via a vertical scrolling list instead of the NSEW and stacked menus that the old iDrive had. It takes some learning but once you’re used to it you can navigate through the menus so much faster and far more intuitive.

The following are the E90 facelift models on sale in Malaysia:

Model Power Torque Price
BMW 320i 156hp 200Nm RM236,800
BMW 320i Sports 156hp 200Nm RM248,800
BMW 323i 190hp 230Nm RM275,800
BMW 325i Sports 218hp 250Nm RM309,800
BMW 335i Individual 306hp 400Nm RM539,800

All are CKD except for the 335i Individual. The 325i and the 330i is now missing from the line-up, as are the 320i and 320d Touring (stationwagon) models which existed with the pre-facelift line-up but are now gone because of poor response from the public.

Stay tuned for a test drive report next week.

PHOTO GALLERY: E90 BMW 3-Series Sedan Facelift
Click thumbnails to view high resolution photo