The Next Generation BMW 3 Series Comes into Focus

Thanks to several sources notably including AutoBild, we’re getting our first true glimpse at the next generation BMW’s heart and soul. The next 3 Series, scheduled for 2018, will usher in a new era of technology and lightweight materials for BMW’s bread and butter products. The G20 (as it’s internally code-named) will be based on the CLAR platform that will underpin the next generation 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 Series. Under CLAR BMW will go exclusively front wheel drive or all wheel drive with the UKL platform.

What this means is that BMW is putting enormous engineering efforts into a scalable platform that will literally have the company’s core products on its shoulders.

The look of the G20 will continue along the themes we’ve seen on recent BMW concept cars. Sharper creases, bolder and slimmer lighting and improved materials are all expected. Also expected is a drop in weight with increased use of aluminum, high-strength steel, composites and yes carbon fiber.


Under the Hood

While the F30 was initially rumored to get MINI’s three cylinders, it never materialized. That honor will be saved for the G20 right around the time when revised versions come to the market. Expect the 316i/316d and 318i/318d to use variants of the MINI’s three cylinder range.

On the top end of the line-up, look for a new version of the 2.0L four cylinder along with a revised version of the venerable six-cylinder. All engines will be turbocharged.

Hybrids will also play a role with inductive capable plug-ins likely being offered in several capacities (60 or 90 kW with range from 50 to 100 miles).

Safety Derived from the 7 Series

As is customary, 7 Series tech will filter down to the 3er with the G20 just about everywhere. Notably this Intelligent Driving Systems such as Adaptive Braking Assist, Lane Change Assist and even semi-autonomous driving.

Inside we’ll see a larger and more sophisticated head-up display along with the new generation of iDrive complete with touch-screen and hand gesture recognition.

Look for the G20 sedan to be joined by the Touring, 4 Series Coupe, 4 Series Gran Coupe, long wheel base 3 Series sedan (G28) and even a reprise of the 3GT (G24).

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  • CJ

    How is BMW going to capture the enthusiast market when the only RWD platform underpins the 7 Series? Will the next iteration of the M2 be AWD and will BMW not have a small RWD coupe/sedan? They seem to be filling every other niche besides this one.

    • That’s a great question and one that we’ve posed on this site a few times. The jury is technically still out no whether the next generation 2 Series will be RWD or FWD based but the bigger question would be what architecture could even support a small RWD car by the time the new 2er should arrive?

      • Bosozoku

        The UKL platform running backwards?

  • Herr26

    The G20 is not finished visually so this is not a final vision it does interpret ideas from the final selection process which have been acquired such as more edgier and angular technical looks , my particular favourite looks like a 3er size of the Vision Future Luxury sedan , very visual and futuristic when shrunk to that premium entry size.

    The new car utilises the upcoming cluster architecture or matrix from the 7er so the central load weight bearing area will be CFRP this amounts to around 100 KG drop in weight over the current F30. The G20 like all other new BMWs will be Combined with other lightweight materials .

    The first vehicle to demonstrate similar weight loss and edgier looks that will be present in the G20 will be the next BMW X3 which follows its forthcoming brother the X1 by offering both standard and Li model with seating for 7.