The sixth and current generation of the BMW 3 Series debuted on October 14, 2011 in Munich. The model arrived in showrooms in February 2012. Its exterior is influenced by the F01 7 Series and especially the F10 5 Series.
The first model of the F30 to debut was the sedan/saloon, which will be followed by the wagon, gran turismo (GT) high-roof five-door, coupé, and hardtop convertible body styles afterward. The convertible, coupé, and gran coupé will be spun off into their own nameplate as the BMW 4 Series so that they can command a higher price differential over the F30 sedan, compared to the E92/93 couple/convertible over the E90/91 sedan/wagon. This practice is similar to BMW's own 6 Series coupé premium over the 5 Series sedan, as well as rival Audi's A5 over the A4.
The 2012 3 Series is powered by a new family of aluminum four-cylinder petrol engines ranging from 135 to 245 horsepower. These will include new technologies such as variable intake and exhaust-valve timing, sequential turbochargers, and direct fuel injection. A 240 hp (179 kW; 243 PS) four-cylinder engine is one of two engine choices available on US-spec models (the last four-cylinder 3 series was the 1999 318ti with a 138 hp (103 kW; 140 PS) engine). The N52 3.0L naturally aspirated I6 was replaced by the N20 which increased power output (230 hp (172 kW) in the outgoing engine vs. 240 hp (179 kW) in the new 4-cylinder) and improved fuel economy. The other petrol engines will be four-cylinder turbocharged units displacing either 1.6 or 2.0 litres. High-performance diesels will also feature 2.0-litre twin turbo versions with a 215 hp (160 kW; 218 PS) 325d and a 306 hp (228 kW; 310 PS) 335d 3.0-litre, inline 6 version. There will also be a hybrid version which augments the transmission with two electric motors and expected fuel savings of 20 percent, a similar powertrain that will be found in the upcoming X5 hybrid, developed in a joint venture with GM, Chrysler, and Daimler.