It actually doesn’t feel like that long ago that the F30-gen BMW 3 Series came out. It actually still seems kind of fresh. In a vacuum, that is. When compared to some of its newer competition, such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and the Jaguar XE, the 3er is starting to show some grey in its beard. It makes sense that it’s starting to age, though, as it’s nearing the end of its life cycle. The F30-gen 3er debuted in 2012 and, right on time, the new one will be hitting the road in 2019. (Can we just pause for a moment and remember when cars aged well? The E46 3 Series is still as handsome as the day it debuted yet the F30 looks old just six years later)
Built on BMW’s new CLAR architecture, the new G20-generation 3 Series will shed about 80 kg (176 lbs) over the current-gen car. That’s not an insignificant amount of weight. So it should be far more nimble and dynamic that this current 3er. And it’s going to need to be, considering how good the competition is to drive. Even the new Audi A4, a car that’s typically lacking in the fun department, is as engaging, or more so, than the F30. So the weight reduction, along with the new chassis’ dynamics, will pay off greatly.
As far as engines go, expect a bit of downsizing. A 1.5 liter turbo-triple will likely be the base petrol engine and a 1.6 liter three-pot will be the base diesel. Obviously, there will be some turbo-fours and the big turbo-I6 in the BMW M340i. We’re excited about the latter. Also, expect there to be a full-on EV 3 Series to contend with the Tesla Model 3 but don’t expect that until closer to 2020. BMW’s CLAR architecture has been designed for electrification already, so it should fit the physical requirements well. There are rumors of a 90 kWh battery pack and a range of 300 miles. That would put it right with the top-of-the-line Model 3. For those of you that want a high-tech, fuel-sipping, tree-hugging 3 Series but need the flexibility of a petrol engine, there will also be a plug-in hybrid variant, similar to the current 330e.
The G20 is currently under development, so don’t expect to see it without camouflage any time soon. Expect it as a 2019 model, with the possibility of it debuting in late 2018.