Almost every fourth BMW sold – 24 percent – belongs to the 3 Series family, so flops are not allowed. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, the 2018 successor – with the code G20 – must be engineered to the last detail.
New, Fresh Design
Autobild Germany says the new 7 Series has opened the eyes of the BMW bosses – great car, superior driving qualities – but the car does not look as new as it really is. Therefore, the next 3er must be very clearly distinguished from its predecessor. This applies not only to the interior, but also to the exterior design.
The old 3 Series goes, the new 3 Series comes, but in the same segment, the same price range and for the same audience?
In practice, the classification of the G20 family is, however, much more complicated. These are the main factors:
- The next 1 Series switches is rumored to move from rear to front-wheel drive
- The 2 Series remains with the rear-wheel drive and with the 2 Series Gran Coupe moves fairly close to the 3 Series
- The M2 takes the M3’s from ten years ago, so its successor needs to move up.
BMW design team was tasked with an interesting project – design the future 3 Series which is not only extremely luxurious and full of tech, but also the Ultimate Driving Machine. Renderings by Autobild and Autozeitung reveal some cutting edge design lines, with more sculpted surfaces than the current generation and more luxurious looks. The use of chrome is an interesting choice since it denotes both a sporty and premium design.
The underpinnings of the G20 3 Series come from the CLAR platform. The modular architecture provides high flexibility, multi-material capability, improved stiffness and lower weight. CLAR can be used with four different drive concept – petrol / diesel, hybrid, electric BEV, fuel cell FCEV. To get this complexity under control, BMW developed – for vehicles with an alternative engine – a new centerpiece housed between the axles: the so-called flat memory module. If it sounds familiar is because a similar approach is also used by Audi, Mercedes and Porsche. Also planned are innovative, scalable lighting technology – in the top model with lasers and OLEDs – more stability control systems, Integral Active Steering, active anti-roll bars, progressive rear axle and a new generation of brakes for 3 and 4 Series.
BMW is working on the modernization of its current engine kit. The start of production of the 3 Series – scheduled for summer of 2018 – will coincide with the launch of an electrically driven compressor (instant torque), more powerful 48V systems and an advanced regen system that can recirculate 20 kW and more.
Electric or partially electric driving follows four steps:
- A plug-in hybrid with four-cylinder gasoline engine, but significantly more power than the current 330e.
- An eDrive sport with more battery power (75 to 90 kWh), greater range and a shorter charging time.
- After 2020, an eDrive BEV with similar equipment built in China for the long wheelbase electric 5 Series.
- After 2025, depending on the conditions, probably also as a fuel cell.
The new 3 Series aims to dominate the next step of digitization. Instruments, head-up display and central monitor are combined into a composite indicator ergonomically placed in the cabin with pre-defined priorities and information to come into view. The input is amplified by touch, zoom and wipe commands, but gesture and view control could be a part of the system as well.
An interoperable voice control makes the known rotary-push iDrive knob long superfluous.
Driving Assistance Systems
The assistance systems are refined and expanded. The Traffic Jam Assistant works in G20 3 Series initially up to 60 km/h, lane changes are initiated fully automatically on command and/or the driver is allowed – under certain conditions – to even take his eyes off the road for a short time.
By using the keyfob from outside the car, the G20 3 Series can be automatically parked, just like the new 7 Series.
Most systems can be updated over-the-air and they can communicate with each other and with the data storage in the cloud.
BMW is clearly entering a new era of automobiles and if at least half of those rumors come true, then the future looks bright for the Bavarians and its customers.[Source: Autobild]