These are very, very early details.
Although it’s not due to arrive until 2018, some early information is beginning to come out regarding the next generation BMW 3 Series. As we all know, the 3 Series is the most important model in the lineup for many reasons, so it’s vital BMW doesn't mess with a good thing, but improvements are always possible. According to BMW Blog, some of those improvements include a sharper exterior design and a "greater differentiation of equipment lines."
The basic platform, called Cluster Architecture (CLAR), will also underpin the next generation 5,6, and 7 Series. However, it’s highly flexible, comprised of a mix of high-strength steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. This new platform allows for a longer wheelbase as well as a shorter front overhang. What’s also interesting is that, for the first time ever, the 3 Series will offer a three-cylinder engine. Expect for a future 316i trim to utilize the 1.5-liter engine found in the 218i and the Mini Cooper. The 316d will have the same diesel as the Mini Cooper D. Various types of new hybrid tech are also expected, such as inductive capable plug-ins, and a range from 50 to 100 miles.
Like the upcoming redesigned 7 Series, the next 3 Series will feature assistance systems like automatic parallel parking, lane assist, and some level of autonomous driving. iDrive will also return, but it’ll be controlled via gestures, touches, or the familiar knob. Along with the sedan, expect to see a new wagon and GT. But again, all of this is quite preliminary and plenty more specific updates are expected in the future.