Now that winter has arrived and the Nurburgring is closed, prototypes are moving away from their traditional proving grounds and on to more diverse scenarios. BMW has test facilities around the world, from the Arctic Circle to the warmest places on Earth but one key area where the upcoming 3 Series model will be used is the Autobahn. A proving ground itself, especially if we’re talking about the unrestricted portions, the Autobahn should provide valuable insight to those behind the wheel of the G20 model.

The car is supposed to reach dealers next year and it will be bringing a much needed upgrade to the 3 Series name. Built atop the CLAR architecture, it will have to deal with tough competition from Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class, Jaguar’s XE model and Audi’s newly revealed A4. All these models have already stepped their game up and will be looking to hurt the popularity of the 3 Series. However, while they may look nice and shiny, the one essential aspect that differentiates the 3er from the rest of the pack is the way it drives.

BMW promises to cut some weight off its generous hips and lower its center of gravity. That said, the new 3er is going to use a lot of aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber on high-end models, in key areas. Furthermore, the engines will be updated, with the petrol models now featuring particulate filters to keep emissions in check. Base models will most likely come with 1.5-liter 3-cylinder petrol and diesel engines while at the top of the range will sit the M340i model which is said to have over 380 HP and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque.

One of the most interesting models to come will surely be the new iPerformance version as well as a fully electric version that has been rumored for a while now. According to our sources, an all-electric 3 Series is still not confirmed but you can expect the hybrid choices to gain popularity as diesels start to fade away.