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From news from England:

BMW is planting an improved version of its 3.0-litre diesel engine under the bonnet of the 3-series from March plus a makeover which affects the entire range.

The enhanced engine offers a 20bhp power hike to 204bhp and 14 extra lb ft of pulling grunt at, improving performance across the board.

Acceleration to 62mph is cut by 0.6sec to 7.2sec, while top speed extends from 141 to 149mph. Fuel consumption is also 1.3mpg better at 43.5mpg on the combined cycle.

On the continent, the new diesel engine makes it into the 3-series Coupé range for the first time by March, but UK buyers will have to wait until 2004 for the 330Cd to arrive. BMW says it still has no plans for a diesel version of the Convertible, despite the availability of an oil-burner in its arch-rival, the Audi A4 Cabriolet.

BMW has freshened up the face of the Coupé and Convertible in line with changes made to the saloon and estate cars this year, however. Both feature the smoother bonnet and redesigned front-end with updated headlight housings and wider kidney-shaped grille. The Compact gets a redesigned rear light cluster and sporty side sills, and all the face-lifted models will be available from March.

A six-speed manual gearbox also replaces the five-ratio transmission in all 3.0-litre BMWs as well as selected 3-series diesels and Compacts. The five-speed Sports Sequential Gearbox option has been replaced by a new six-speed ‘box offering sharper shifts.

Prices will be announced in the new year but are likely to increase slightly.

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2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport
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