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Continental Technologies Feature Prominently in the New BMW 3 Series

Continental components feature prominently in the new BMW 3 Series

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 13 -- Continental Teves' innovative brake system helps the new BMW 3-Series stop quicker, respond faster in inclement weather, start easier on hills and monitor the car's on- road position through the electronic stability control system, known as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) at BMW. The new BMW 3 Series models set benchmarks in terms of active safety and convenience. Other features contributing to the overall quality and performance of the new BMW include Continental tires, technical equipment and electronic modules.

Conti Teves MK60 E5: Analog valves for perfect braking

The new BMW 3 Series comes standard with the latest Continental MK60 brake system. The high-performance Conti Teves MK60 E5 brake system processes signals from five pressure sensors, one on each wheel and one on the master cylinder. In addition, a new generation of hydraulic valves provides precise control of the foundation brakes.

These analog valves have the advantage of being infinitely variable, unlike digital mode where the valve is either fully open or closed. Using these new valves, the anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control system (ASC) and electronic stability control (ESC) system (marketed as DSC at BMW) all operate more smoothly and effectively. This brake system is also better matched for the conventional or adaptive cruise control systems fitted to the new 3 Series.

When ASC activates, the enhanced control of the MK60 E5 becomes fully effective, taking maximum advantage of tire traction. The advantages of the MK60 E5 also become apparent under emergency braking with ABS. After the initial drop in brake pressure to prevent wheel lock, the MK60 E immediately compensates, bringing pressure back up to the wheel-lock limit. As a result, wheel slip is kept at maximum non-lock braking force longer than was possible with previous systems. This provides exceptionally short stopping distances. The second advantage of the MK60 E5 is minimized pulsation from the brake pedal during emergency braking. On the new BMW 3-Series, this is reduced to the minimum level required to let drivers know that ABS has intervened.

The enhanced control MK60 E5 is also apparent when Dynamic Stability Control intervenes to correct skidding. Additionally, if the driver selects dynamic control mode for DSC, the electronics will even allow the vehicle to oversteer under certain conditions. It can improve traction under adverse conditions, for example when driving uphill over fresh snow. If the driver comes too close to the limits, or the control unit recognizes that the driver needs assistance, DSC intervenes to help the driver maintain control.

Controlling dynamics: Active steering and Conti Teves MK60 E5

Optional active steering on the new BMW 3 Series automatically corrects for impending oversteer in much the same way an experienced driver would. The steering automatically applies a carefully controlled amount of opposite lock to bring the rear end under control. This type of automatic intervention is almost imperceptible through the steering wheel and works through the networked brake and steering systems.

In an unbalanced traction situation, such as right-hand wheels on asphalt and the left-hand wheels on ice, the vehicle will tend to swing to the right under braking. All electronic brake systems can compensate for situations like this by controlling the brake pressures at the wheels individually and reducing brake pressure at the rear axle. But this can cause reduced brake effectiveness since the brakes on asphalt can only be given the same pressure as the ones on the ice. Otherwise, it would create an unstable situation. However, the driver still needs to provide some control by counter steering. But the combination of MK60 E5 with active steering shows a significant improvement in performance. The electronically controlled steering system automatically applies opposite lock without any irritating feedback to the driver via the steering wheel. An electric motor automatically turns the front wheels to the angle required to ensure optimum driving stability. Drawing on feedback from the wheel pressure sensors, the MK60 E5 calculates the steering assist required and sets the brake force at each wheel to obtain the maximum deceleration possible, resulting in significantly shorter stopping distances.

Additional Features

In addition to enhanced safety and braking features, the six-cylinder 3 Series models now offer a wide range of new functionalities from Continental that make driving even easier:

Hill Start Assist (HSA)

Starting a manual shift vehicle on a hill can be a challenge. With Hill Start Assist (HSA) taking off on a hill from a standstill is made easy, even for inexperienced drivers. When the driver's foot moves from the brake to the gas pedal, HSA maintains the brake system pressure for up to 1.5 seconds, releasing the pressure smoothly as the car accelerates. The driver has plenty of time to control the gas pedal and clutch, ensuring just the right amount of torque at the rear wheels for a smooth, skillful hill start. HSA prevents the car rolling back without frantic operation of the parking brake.

Rain Brake Support (RBS)

In the rain, a film of water forms on the surface of the brake discs. Brake response is delayed, as the pads must cut through the moisture before they can grip the disc. Rain Brake Support (RBS) ensures an ideal response even in wet conditions. To remove the film of water effectively, the pads are pressed gently against the disc at regular intervals - so gently that the driver will not notice. This keeps them ready for effective braking at a moment's notice.

Ready Alert Brake (RAB)

Drivers need time to move their foot from the gas to the brake pedal, and hydraulic systems need time to build up brake pressure. In an emergency these fractions of a second can make all the difference between a safe stop and a collision. The MK60 E5 brake system reduces delay by building up pressure in the brake system in advance. If the electronic control system recognizes that the driver has lifted off the gas pedal quickly, it begins pre-loading the brake system. Any brake commands received in the next few seconds are carried out with no delay. If the brakes are not applied, the pressure is simply released again.

Soft Stop Assist (SSA)

We all know the situation: Just before a car comes to a complete stop there is an abrupt jolt. Experienced drivers can often avoid the jolt by letting up on the brake pressure at the last possible moment. The Soft Stop Assist function of the MK60 E5 remedies this situation automatically. It recognizes that the vehicle is coming to a halt and reduces the brake pressure at the rear wheels just before it stops, allowing the vehicle to settle smoothly.

BBV: Monitors Brake Pad Wear

An additional function of the MK60 system makes life with the BMW 3-Series even easier: BBV, brake pad wear detection. This function calculates the remaining service life of the brake pads from a number of parameters. The driver can call up the result on the display and decide with much greater confidence whether to replace the brake pads before making the next long road trip.

Fading Brake Support

Under the extreme stress and heat of emergency braking even the best brake systems lose some performance. This phenomenon is known as brake fade. Drivers have to compensate for fade by applying more pressure to the brake pedal in order to obtain the same rate of deceleration. With the Conti Teves MK60 E5, that is no longer necessary. The system boosts the servo pump output, increases the pressure in the hydraulic system and ensures that there is always enough hydraulic pressure at each wheel for the deceleration required by the driver. A red light on the instrument panel warns the driver of possible brake fade.

Brake hydraulics

With Continental Teves foundation brakes on the new BMW 3 Series, Fading Brake Support will rarely be needed even under extreme conditions. The 3 Series is fitted with Conti Teves FN/FNR fist caliper brakes with extremely high reserves in terms of performance and temperature. For the first time on a vehicle of this category, the front-wheel calipers are made of aluminum.

For reduced actuation force, the newly-developed tandem tie rod booster develops greater boost than on previous 3 Series. Like the tandem master cylinder, this is a lightweight aluminum part, bringing a weight saving of almost 2.5 pounds. Apart from the brake booster and the master cylinder, Conti Teves also supplies the rear axle brake hoses for the new BMW.

Continental tires: Safe, comfortable and economical

Like many BMWs, the new 3 Series model will also be fitted with Continental tires. Summer tires available as original equipment in Europe include the run-flat 205/55 R 16 H, V and W versions of the ContiPremiumContact and the 225/45 R 17 V and W versions of the ContiSportContact 2. The DDS (Deflation Detection System) integrated in the MK60 and MK60 E5 (which uses signals from the wheel speed sensors) warns the driver of any hazardous loss of pressure.

Conti Temic and ContiTech: High durability components

Conti Temic and Conti Tech parts and components for the new BMW 3 Series are designed to ensure years of trouble-free operation. Conti Temic supplies the electronics for the optional heated seats, the electric 5-axis seat adjustment system and the seat memory that allows individual seat settings to be assigned to different car keys. Additionally, Conti Temic supplies the control unit for forward dynamics management, which also governs the innovative adaptive cruise control system.

Finally, ContiTech supplies v-ribbed belts and diaphragms for the BMW 3 Series, as well as foamed plastic foils for the interior and ducting of refrigerants, transmission oil, servo oils, coolants and heat transfer fluids.

With 2004 sales of approximately $15.6 billion (US), Continental AG is a major supplier of brake systems, chassis components, vehicle electronics, tires and technical rubber products. Continental Automotive Systems' North American operation is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich. and is a leading global supplier of quality automotive systems that contribute to driver safety, comfort and peace-of-mind. For additional information, visit our media website or