They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so this article is over – just look at the spy photo below capturing the all new 3 series. But in all seriousness, much can be gleaned from this pixilated aerial snapshot – and it’s worth taking a look.

The BMW design house has traditionally skipped generations to complete both evolutions, and revolutions of their cars. Alternating back and forth, the E46 was a safe (and handsome) evolutionary step from the E36, while the E90 broke the mold and found a revolutionary “flame” inspired new shape, as Bangle would later tell us.

That means – you guessed it: the F30 3 series is due for an evolutionary update based on traditional BMW stylistic principles. Heavy emphasis has been placed on the fundamentals of BMW exterior design: double kidney grills, double round headlights, longitudinal bonnet lines, and Hofmeister Kink not withstanding. We’ll also throw L-shaped tail lights in for good measure, though they are in fact a more recent design hallmark in the long and illustrious history of the brand.

Starting at the nose, we see a prominent grill standing vertical – though not shark-nosed (in other words: leaning forward from the highest point). Most interesting is the recessed headlight assembly which links up with the kidney grill, drawing a horizontal line from the “eyebrow” of the head light unit across the top edge of the kidney grill. The bottom edge of the headlight projector fluidly turns up and joins this character line, emphasizing the kidney grill’s prominence in the overall design. The visual connection between the headlights and the kidney grill could be a new design trend to be played out across future models.

Horizontal winglets in the lower front fascia are now seen mounted above the fog lights, whereas before they had been transecting the round fog lamps. This stylistic change will enhance the appearance of the F30, making the front end appear wider.

The head light units themselves share the “droopy eye” contours featured on the new F20 1 series, and seen last on the outgoing 6 series. We love this new design after seeing it on the F30 1 series in person, and we suspect its execution on the new 3 series will grant the car a muscular, almost ‘mean’ appearance. A good thing on a performance sedan.

Artist’s Rendering of new F30 3 Series

The hood has been settled down with more subtle longitudinal bonnet lines through the center, spread further apart in their divergence toward the windscreen. The roundel has been moved from the hood to the front grill mount.

A significant new design approach is seen along the sides of the hood and front 3/4 panel. Also seen on the new F20 1 series, a broad “bow wave” curves from the roundel sharply outwards toward the very edge of the hood at which point it ‘falls off’ and drops vertically toward the side of the car – this character line then follows the side of the 3/4 panel until it reaches and joins up with the A-pillar. This design approach exaggerates the height of the front of the car, adding some boldness and a muscly contour.

The side profile and proportion is not unlike the F10 5 series, and the high belt-line crease flowing above the rear wheel well to the rear lights also shares familiarity with the 5 series.

Artist’s Rendering of New M3

Light emitting diode (tell me you knew the meaning of LED!) L-shaped tail lights will be the focus of the rear end design, this time squatter in profile.

The new F30 3 series is a ‘safe’ design that clings to the tradition of the brand. We can’t wait to see high definition photos of BMW’s latest bread-and-butter maker and you’ll be the first to see said photos when they finally arrive in the near future.

Stay tuned to BMWBLOG for the latest breaking news, photos and eventual reviews of BMW’s new 3 series.