The facelift of the new BMW 3 Series Touring spied on
BMW is preparing a mid-cycle refresh for the 3 Series, with the aim of pushing back the Mercedes C-Class and the impending new Audi A4. Our spies grabbed the revised Touring Estate model test near the Nürburgring, revealing a subtle restyle under thick camouflage at the front and rear. The most significant changes will be under the skin, however, with a new iDrive 8 infotainment system and electrification across the range.
Up front, the new 3 Series will adopt a set of new headlamps with a sharper LED light signature. Grills will not be enlarged to reflect those of BMW’s 4 Series and flagship iX, but the 3 Series may receive redesigned grille bars at production time.
The front bumper has also been modified with a redesigned lower grille, although it is difficult to distinguish the exact changes under disguise in the latest images. This pre-production car carries a set of 18-inch wheels shared with the current model, although a selection of new wheel models may be part of the update. More swirling camouflage at the rear suggests that the taillights and rear bumper will also be changed.
But it’s inside that the 3 Series facelift will see the most significant upgrade. The new car will be fitted with BMW’s latest iDrive 8 infotainment system, which debuted on the iX SUV. The 3 Series shares its cabin architecture with the i4 electric sports car, which also uses this system.
The Series 3 will use the i4’s curved dual-screen setup, which combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel with a 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen. iDrive 8 can also be operated using a click wheel on the center console and features BMW’s most powerful technology suite to date.
The brand’s latest voice assistance will be included, along with a ‘learning navigation’ system and live software updates. Aside from the new screens, the cabin design will remain broadly the same as before, with a redesigned center console and new trim options likely to be added.
Under the skin, the new 3 Series could receive a fully electrified range, the entire range of gasoline and diesel engines benefiting from 48-volt mild hybrid assistance. The 330e plug-in hybrid model can be joined by a more powerful PHEV model, and a fully electric 3-series could also be on the cards.
The 4 Series has already received the fully electric treatment with the i4 and rides on the same platform as the 3 Series. A revamp of BMW’s EV naming strategy would see the Electric 3 Series adopt the i3 moniker currently used for. the brand’s all-electric city car.
The i3 would use the same undercarriage as its four-door coupe counterpart, with a rear-mounted electric motor producing 335 hp. We don’t expect the i3 to deviate from the i4’s claimed 365 mile range.
A high-performance i3 M50 could also be in the works as part of the facelift, with a dual-engine setup of 544bhp and over 300 miles of range.
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