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BMW Schools us on the History of the 3 Series

Six generations of the 3 Series compacted into the briefest of history lessons.

Born in 1975, BMW's brand-defying sports sedan has been a mainstay on highways across the globe for almost 40 years. Documenting the history of the 3 Series, BMW looks back to the first generation 109-horsepower E21 320 whose class-leading performance resulted in the sale of a million models in just six years. The series-defining E30, built from 1982 to 1991 set the template for future models.

During this era came the M3, including the four-door and convertible versions, as well as the first inline six-cylinder diesel motor. The upscale E36 arrived in 1990, cementing BMW as the compact executive segment leader, followed by the handsome E46 in 1998, the E90 in 2005 and the current F30, the sixth generation of the 3 Series.

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