A partially camouflaged prototype of the BMW 3-Series facelift has been spied undergoing testing.

A partially camouflaged prototype of the BMW 3-Series facelift has been spied undergoing testing.

It appears to be equipped with the M Sport Package and judging by the light amount of disguise, the visual tweaks will be modest. Expect some minor revisions to both front and rear bumpers, updated turn signals and more importantly, optional LED headlights while the taillights will also benefit from LED technology and as noticeable in these spy shots will have slightly different graphics.

The Life Cycle Impulse will also bring some mechanical changes, with the most important one being a plug-in hybrid version as previewed in a recent prototype. It had a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter turbo and an electric motor enabling a combined output of 245 HP (180 kW) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) sent through an updated eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The lithium-ion battery pack has enough juice for a 22-mile (35 km) electric range while use as a hybrid the prototype does 117 mpg US (140 mpg UK or 2 liters / 100 km) with CO2 emissions of just 50 g/km.

BMW could also be planning an entry-level version equipped with the MINI's three-cylinder 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine while some of the four- and six-cylinder motors could gain more power.

An official reveal of the facelifted 3-Series should occur in the first half of this year.

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BMW 3-Series facelift spied with M Sport package