The matryoshka doll design theme continues.

The next-generation BMW 3 Series is returning in a new set of spy photos, this time showing us a prototype of the car winter testing. The premium sedan is still hiding under a lot of camouflage, but it is not enough to fool us about the look of the new 3 – it is very much going to look like a smaller version of the 5 Series.

What makes us think like that? Looking at the front end of the prototype, the shape of the two-section headlights and the form of the LED daytime running lights mirror the lighting clusters found in the latest 5 Series. Also, the central section of the lower bumper grille features identical radar, while a small camera appears to be positioned between the “kidneys” in the upper grille, just like in the bigger sedan.

New spy shots have arrived:

Interestingly, in some of the photos, the prototype wears snow chains on the rear axle, which suggests this is a RWD vehicle. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as we already know the new 3 Series will be offered in both traditional RWD and xDrive-equipped AWD layouts.

Other similarities between the 5 Series and the next-gen 3 Series will include the CLAR architecture, which should bring a healthy weight reduction of about 88 pounds (40 kilograms) and improved torsional stability. A slightly longer wheelbase will result in more room for the passengers and possibly a bigger trunk.

2019 BMW 3 Series spy photo
2019 BMW 3 Series spy photo

Initially, the most powerful version of the 2019 3 Series will be M340i, using a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six producing 340 horsepower (254 kilowatts) and 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters) of torque. Two hybrid versions will also join the lineup, as well as a purely electric version.

The latest gossip indicates the model will also get a diesel-powered performance variant in the form of the M340d xDrive M Performance, which will be powered a 3.0-liter inline-six diesel. With 320 hp (238 kW) and tons of torque, it will fight for the crown in the diesel compact premium segment.

Photos: Automedia

2019 BMW 3 Series spy photos