It’s been raining BMW prototypes all week as after checking out the next 5 Series Touring, X3, and X5, now time has come to have a closer look at the all-new 3 Series codenamed “G20.” For the first time, the prototype was spotted carrying the production body, although it still had the temporary headlights and taillights used only in the early testing phase. While it’s hard to make out the details at this point, we are not holding our breath for any major styling changes as the impression this prototype is giving us is of evolutionary rather than a radical new design approach.
But while the exterior design won’t be all that different, underneath the skin there are going to be some major changes brought by the switch to the CLAR platform, which has already underpinned the new 7 and 5. It should enable a considerable boost in torsional stiffness and a rumored 176-pound (80-kilogram) weight loss, even though Bavaria’s next premium compact sedan will likely grow in size a little bit. Although not visible, a stretch in the wheelbase seems possible to grant the new BMW 3 Series with more legroom in the back, while the reshaped rear end could accommodate a more spacious trunk.
Besides the usual assortment of turbocharged engines with three, four, and six cylinders likely being upgraded for the new 3 Series, the model is expected to spawn a couple of plug-in hybrid derivatives. Later in the life cycle, there might even be an all-electric version if we were to rely on the rumor mill.
The current 3 Series has been around since 2012, with a very subtle facelift introduced last year. It will be replaced by this new generation likely towards the end of next year or early 2018. Unlike the 1 Series that will switch to a front-wheel drive layout for the next generation, the next 3 Series will thankfully remain a RWD model, with the option of xDrive for select engines.