While BMW has just released its mid-cycle LCI update on its venerable 3 Series sedan, the Bavarian brand is currently in the process of finishing up development on the next iteration. The 3 Series is BMW’s most important car, it’s the bread and butter of the lineup, as BMW sells more 3 Series’ then some brands sell cars. It’s one of the best-selling cars in the world, so you can imagine the importance this next one is to BMW and why the brand is already working on a new one.

We’ve already seen some spy photos of the upcoming G20 BMW 3 Series, but we weren’t really able to make anything out, as it was heavily camouflaged. However, Autoblog has some photos of it being winter tested and we can make out some minor details. Firstly, it’s evident that the G20 3 Series will have taken some design cues from the latest BMW 7 Series. This was to be expected and it’s a welcome change here. The headlights have slimmed down quite a bit on this G20 compared to the current F30 generation. They seem to be much narrower and the kidney grilles seem to have grown a bit, with less bars inside of them. So it is definitely taking some front end design from its bigger brother.

In profile, it’s difficult to make out any differences between the two cars, as the overall proportions remain the same. The front overhang is still very short and the Hofmeister Kink also remains. Aside from that, there really isn’t much to see, though. The rear end not only has camouflage on it, but the taillights are covered in faux taillight covers to hide the actual design. Though the dual exhaust tips lead us to believe that this is the 340i model being tested. A plug-in hybrid variant will also be coming but this car seems to lack the plug-in port on the front fender, so this likely isn’t it.

BMW has claimed to be making this G20 iteration both wider and longer, however, it’s not very noticeable from these pictures. In fact, the slimmer headlights actually give the front end a smaller look than the outgoing car, so it may hide its size gain well. Despite the gain in size, the G20 should actually be quite a bit lighter than the outgoing F30 3 Series. BMW will be using a lot of lightweight materials in the chassis construction for the new 3 Series. We know that BMW is using its Carbon Core chassis technology on all of its cars, but it’s yet to be seen how extensive that will be on the lower-cost 3 Series. However, it should be lighter than its predecessor, therefor it should be the faster and better handling car of the two.

Check out the spy shots to see if any of you eagle-eyed readers can spot anything we missed.