Lexus has lost its decade-long reign at the U.S. premium car market to BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The two German automakers have been battling it out in the past months but there’s no clear winner just yet. As of the end of November, BMW had sold 221,073 units in the U.S., just 1,582 higher than Mercedes-Benz. The competition is so close that they’ve both unleashed all the discounting techniques that they could to attract customers.
TrueCar.com said that BMW and Mercedes-Benz are dangling about US$4,800 in discounts by subsidizing interest rates (as low as 0.9%), waiving lease payments for the initial months, increasing the residual value of vehicles when the lease expires, and throwing more incentives at loyal customers.
For this year, BMW’s auto sales increased by 12.3% while Mercedes-Benz posted an 11.8% increase. Overall, sales of U.S. premium vehicles went up by 35%.
Compared to its predecessors, the new BMW 3-Series Sedan is larger in all dimensions. Despite that, the new 3-Series Sedan is still a representation of perfect balance between elegance and sportiness. However, just like its predecessors, the proportions of the new 3-Series Sedan are shaped by its sweeping bonnet, long wheelbase and short front overhang, as well as a set-back greenhouse.
With these, the new BMW 3-Series Sedan is able to carry on the legacy of the previous models, continuing to represent BMW’s visual appeal, dynamics and sporting character. The sporting character of the new BMW 3-Series Sedan is very apparent on its front end, which is defined by its multi-faceted surfaces and precise contours as well as by wedge shape of its silhouette – as further emphasized by sedan’s track that is now wider by 37 mm on the front and 47 mm at the rear.
This emphasis on the sedan’s width also allowed the front end’s multi-faceted surfaces to provide the BMW 3-Series with a sportier and more expressive face. On the other hand, the premium German carmaker was able to emphasize the confident stance of the new 3-Series Sedan by providing its front end with the signature BMW kidney grille with a wide, squat interpretation. This grille features closely spaced, squat openings with visually striking surrounds, where the precise lines of the sedan’s dynamically contoured bonnet finish. This lends the BMW 3-Series with a front end that seems to be lower-slung.
Meanwhile, the frame of this grille is visually connected to the sedan’s elegant-looking twin headlights, thereby forming a single stylistic unit that further emphasized its wide stance. When the optional xenon headlights are specified, these illumination units feature corona rings. Just above of these headlights are eyebrow-like LED accent lights that further intensify the already strong BMW-focused look.
Placed underneath these headlights -- to the outer edges of the front end – are two new larger air intakes, thereby replacing the central air intake of the previous model. Located on the far left and right of the main intakes are small vertical ones that help create the so-called "Air Curtain." This feature helps improve the sedan’s aerodynamic efficiency and lower its fuel consumption at higher speeds by enhancing the flow of air around the front wheels.