Different as in totally reinvented.
Although it's several years away, BMW is already laying the groundwork for the 2022 3 Series. However, the next major redesign for the benchmark premium sedan is due in 2018, so why is BMW already looking so far ahead here? Because of some radical engineering changes that'll make the 3 Series today seem obsolete. According to a new report from Autocar, BMW has learned a lot thanks to the i3 and i8 in terms of both construction and advanced powertrain capabilities.
Those lessons will be applied to more mainstream models, starting with the 2022 3 Series. Simply put, welded steel bodies and engines that drive the rear wheels with manual gearboxes will be a thing of the past. Expect a body constructed from a mix of steel, aluminum and various other lightweight composites. The powertrains will incorporate electric motors as the primary drive source, which will be teamed up with a large battery pack and an all-new internal combustion engine family that'll serve mainly as generators. In order to meet strict upcoming EU emissions standards, BMW is planning to make all models from the 3 Series and up plug-in hybrids.
Problem right now, mainly, is weight and high costs, both of which are expected to decrease in the coming years. As the powertrain technology improves, BMW will concurrently develop said lighter weight composite materials along with dramatic aerodynamic improvements. The gasoline engine will again be front-mounted but again, it'll serve purely to generate electricity. The bottom line here is that the 2022 3 Series will be very different from the 3 Series you see on sale today both inside and out.