New BMW Series 3 Production Preview 2018.
he upcoming BMW Series 3 has been officially shown by BMW in a new image released ahead of its official launch in 2019.
BMW’s first preview of the car shows the outline of the 3 Series under a sheet, with the car’s distinctive daytime running lights highlighting extra details. The image first surfaced on BMW forums, but the brand confirmed that the preview is genuine.
The upcoming Mercedes-Benz C-Class rival was most recently spotted in Touring guise, being put through its paces at the Nurburgring ahead of its launch early next year.
Spy photographers captured this camouflaged test mule undergoing high-speed testing, with extra panels riveted in place towards the rear end to disguise the cargo area. It is also sporting the redesigned headlights and taillights that will set it apart from the outgoing model.
The Touring is expected to go on sale shortly after the saloon, which BMW is due to reveal at the Paris Motor Show. Other variants should follow later in the year, with a plug-in hybrid model completing the line-up.
This latest sighting follows photos of a ‘330e’ plug-in hybrid model, which looks like a regular 3 Series but has “Electric Test Vehicle” written on each side.
Further clues include a small lump in the C-pillar disguise, exactly where BMW has traditionally placed the ‘eDrive’ badge on its plug-in models. The car was also seen later on the same road with its kidney grille blanked off, suggesting an active aerodynamic shutter system may feature on the new car.
The future BMW 3 Series will also be offered with more variants, including new M-fettled versions that feature generous boosts in performance.
The first variant will be the rear-wheel-drive M340i M Performance, which will feature a 360bhp version of BMW’s twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder petrol engine. It will be followed by a four-wheel-drive M340d xDrive M Performance, which is set to receive a 320bhp version of the company’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder diesel engine.
Key to the expansion plan for the seventh-generation BMW Series 3 is the addition of two new M Performance models powered by six-cylinder engines. In a strategy mirroring that undertaken with the latest 5 Series, the new M Performance variants will go on sale shortly after more mainstream versions of the new 3 Series are launched in both saloon and estate bodystyles. The new derivatives will be offered as either a petrol or a diesel and will bridge the gap in the line-up that presently exists between standard six-cylinder models and BMW M’s range-topping M3 saloon.
The new performance-oriented BMW 3 Series models will be targeted at the likes of the Audi S4 quattro and Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic. They will have individual styling touches, their own unique chassis tuning and relatively high equipment levels. Autocar can reveal they will also form the basis for the two-door M440i M Performance Coupé and M440d M Performance Coupé models, which will arrive in showrooms in 2020.
As the first BMW 3 Series model to be fully honed in BMW’s Munich-based wind tunnel, the G20 is also claimed to match the aerodynamic efficiency of the 5 Series. The most slippery body style is said to have a drag co-efficient of 0.22.
The new 3 Series has grown in most key dimensions. Nothing is official, but Munich insiders suggest overall length is up by 60mm to around 4703mm. Some 20mm of this is said to be concentrated within a lengthened wheelbase, which has increased to almost 2830mm, up from 2810mm. By comparison, the current C-Class is 4696mm in length and has a 2840mm wheelbase.
The new 3 Series is based on BMW’s latest CLAR (cluster architecture) platform — as used by all recent BMW models — and features a longitudinally mounted engine. In keeping with developments already seen on the larger 5 Series, it benefits from a range of weight-saving initiatives, including the greater use of hot-formed high-strength steel within the main body structure, to cut the already highly competitive kerbweight of today’s sixth-generation model by up to 50kg, despite the larger dimensions.