The all-new 3 Series was dressed in sportswear for another round of testing on public roads.
The 3 Series G20 has already been caught on camera several times, but it’s the first time we’re seeing it in the spicy M Sport guise. Despite being clad in camouflage, it’s easy to notice the discreet spoiler lip mounted on the trunk, the stiffer suspension setup, beefier brakes, and a pair of fat exhaust tips. In addition, the different camouflage on the front bumper compared to other prototypes indicates the test vehicle was masking a more aggressive look with larger vents suitable for the hotter iteration of BMW’s sporty compact sedan.
Although it probably isn’t necessary, we should point out those are not the final headlights and taillights, while some other provisional parts might be hiding underneath the psychedelic disguise. Once the new 3 will get all the final bits and will lose the camo, it’s going to exhibit an evolutionary design in line with the styling changes the 5 Series G30 brought over its predecessor.
While on the outside and inside it is going to look more like a facelift of the current car rather than a next-gen model, underneath the familiar sheet metal some big changes will occur. That’s because the new 3 Series will switch to the CLAR platform that has underpinned so far its bigger brothers, the 7 and 5 Series. It will bring a healthy weight loss estimated at 176 pounds (80 kilograms), which sounds even more impressive once you take into account the next 3 will actually be a tad longer and maybe even a little bit wider.
That rumored growth will pay dividends in terms of cabin roominess set to increase especially for passengers sitting in the back, but the trunk’s cargo capacity should also benefit from the mild transformation.
The best-selling BMW ever in its new generation will use an assortment of three-, four-, and six-cylinder engines, all of which are going to be turbocharged. These will likely be evolutions of today’s units and should bring a boost in fuel economy and maybe some extra power to sweeten the deal. A new plug-in hybrid version is also on the agenda and will likely be available from day one with more electric range than the current 330e. You’ll have to wait for the cream-of-the-crop M3 as that will bow later in the model’s life cycle.
An official reveal of the overhauled 3 Series should take place in the latter part of 2017, with the Frankfurt Motor Show in September likely the venue for the premiere. Sales are going to kick off before the year’s end for the regular models, while the M3 should arrive before the end of 2018 to serve as the cherry on top. A recent report indicates a pure electric 3 Series will join the lineup between 2019 and 2021 with a 315-hp rear-wheel-drive version and a beefier 402-hp xDrive-equipped flavor.