The 3 Series business class sedan is BMW's most important model globally. What can we expect from the new model when it's revealed later this year?
Artist credit: Calvin Fisher
*Update: The all-new BMW 3 Series will be revealed at the 2018 Paris Motor Show*
BMW has released this teaser image of the next-generation 3 Series, ahead of its imminent reveal next week
The F30 BMW 3 Series, which was introduced in the local market early in 2012, has fallen behind the competition in some areas. Dynamically, it falls short of the Alfa Romeo Giulia and its interior is eclipsed by that of the Audi A4. The F30's comfort damping/handling balance has always been admirable (the latest generation run-flat tyres seem to offer more "give"), but in terms of ride quality, the Bimmer falls short of the A4 and a Mercedes-Benz C-Class equipped with air suspension. Suffice to say BMW hopes the new 3 Series, codenamed the G20, will return the Munich-based brand back to the top of its class...
The image above is an artist's impression of the new 3 Series, based on the multitude of spy pics we've seen over the last year or so. We've dulled some of it down to look more like a production model and as the impression came to life, we noticed how much it looks like a 5 Series! The new 3 Series will ride on a new platform called CLAR - cluster architecture. This platform lightens the 3 Series by around 70 kg and apparently features a longer wheelbase, wider track and lower centre of gravity, much of which lends itself towards looking like a 5 Series.
Unlike the C-Class, BMW has chosen not to go the air suspension route with the new 3 Series, but will continue to develop adjustable dampers, anti-roll bars and an updated version of active steering and torque vectoring systems.
Current images of the interior aren't much to go on, but BMW is expected to release the new 3 Series with a multifunction instrument display, a larger, more sophisticated infotainment screen and semi-autonomous driving modes. The design of the current model's interior will need to be refreshed as it feels old compared to the more modern and uncluttered design in the Audi A4.
There doesn't appear to be much difference in engine derivatives for the G20. The 3-cylinder turbopetrol is likely to remain the entry point, while the 2.0-litre turbopetrols will be the most popular, sales-wise. Expect incremental power/torque improvements for each engine and lower claimed fuel economy figures throughout the range. The 340i is expected to join the M Performance line-up in the shape of the M340i.
When is it coming?
Unofficially, the reveal will be at the Paris Motor Show in October this year (2018). Expect to see a few leaks online as well as more spy pics of testing in summer conditions in the months ahead. It will likely only go on sale in 2019 and a few months after that in South Africa.
Spy pics credit: S.Baldauf / S.B. Medien