The upcoming 3-series replacement (chassis code: F30) is likely to debut in 2011 as a 2012 model. Now that the winter months are upon Europe, the car is undergoing cold climate testing, and has been spied on video at a local gas station.
Not much is known about the car as of yet, as the car is under heavy body cladding covered with BMWs classic psychedelic camouflage. Current thinking is that the forthcoming 3-series will continue to use styling cues from the BMW CS concept car. Many of those same styling cues have so far been translated to the latest iteration of the BMW Z4, 7-Series and 5-Series.
What is known is that this new 3-Series will ride on a shared chassis with the next generation 1-Series (and other future BMWs such as the X3). The chasis is initially stamped in the proper size and then body components are added to the car in a modular fashion depending on which series is being produced.
What we can tell so far from this video is that the general proportions will maintain the 3-series' famed athletic proportions with short overhangs. What appears to be new is a raised hood-line relative to the body, which is to suggest that the low slung look of the recently unveiled 5-series will be translated to the 3-series as well. We also expect there to be more aggressive and sculpted fenders and side-skirts.
Engine and drivetrain options are not set yet, but likely would continue with the current line-up with naturally aspirated and turbo engines, follow-up by a gradual phase in of newer engines during the lifecycle of the car. Many speculate an ActiveHybrid version is in the works as well. Regardless of which engines make the cut, expect EfficientDynamics to play strongly in the marketing campaign associated with this car. Although it is far to premature to talk about the M3, most pundits agree that the V8 will be gone and replaced with a turbo charged 6-cylinder engine.
The car will continue to be rear wheel driven with an xDrive all-wheel drive version.
Inside, technology improvements should follow a filter down of many technologies already seen in more expensive BMWs such as HUDs, etc..
Keep your eyes peeled in 2010-2011!