Spy Video

The Next-Generation BMW 3 Series Is Already Driving Around Germany

And it's expected to debut later this year.

Now that BMW has launched the all-new 5 and 7 Series, it’s time for the 3 Series to undergone a complete redesign. We’ve seen a few spy photos previously, but now Automotive Mike has caught a late stage test mule driving on the Autobahn. If these pre-production cars are ready for public roads, then that means an official reveal is happening very soon, perhaps as early as this March at Geneva. For now, BMW isn’t giving anything away as to when that unveiling will happen, but there’s still a few things to note about the vehicle shown in this spy video.

Try to visually strip away the camouflage and you’ll see a sedan that bears many of the design traits found on its two larger siblings, mainly the front headlight styling and various body panel creases. It does look a bit larger than the vehicle it’s replacing, but that makes sense consider the 3, 5 and 7 Series are all now built on the same CLAR architecture.

Obviously it can be lengthened and shortened depending on models. As far as what will be under the hood, again, BMW isn’t saying much, but we have some pretty good ideas. Some engine downsizing is expected. The base gasoline engine will likely be 1.5-liter turbo while the base diesel a 1.6-liter three-cylinder. Some turbo fours are also expected and will likely vary depending on markets, but the M340i is expected to feature a turbocharged in line-six. But perhaps the biggest powertrain news is a fully electric variant, due in 2020. It will go head to head with the Tesla Model 3, though previous sources have indicated that this all-electric BMW will be the next-generation 4 Series Gran Coupe and not the 3 Series.

Both are built on the same platform like they are currently. A plug-in hybrid 3 Series is also expected for those who want to save money at the pump but aren’t interested in a pure EV. Codenamed G20, the next 3 Series is expected to go on sale as a 2019 model, so an official debut this year is nearly a given.

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