CARtoday.com recently published artists’ impressions of the upcoming BMW 3 Series and subsequent spy pictures indicate that the Munich-based manufacturer has taken an uncharacteristically conservative approach to the styling of its compact saloon range.

CARtoday.com recently published artists’ impressions of the upcoming BMW 3 Series and subsequent spy pictures indicate that the Munich-based manufacturer has taken an uncharacteristically conservative approach to the styling of its compact saloon range.


It’s been suggested that the upcoming fifth-generation 3 Series, which will reportedly be launched internationally middle to late next year, will be slightly bigger and bolder than the current E46 and share several design cues with the BMW X3.


These pictures of disguised 3 Series prototypes being tested in Europe suggest the new range will have the same kind of changing radius curved headlights as seen on the 1 Series and a similar front bumper and wide-kidney grille to the X3, but that the application of the design cues will be far more conservative than those seen on recent BMW releases.


The rear of the car has a raised bootline (first seen on the 7 Series and later, to a lesser degree, on the 5 Series) – a fact that became evident from the spy pictures CARtoday.com’s Nic Retief took outside Stellenbosch in March.


A design aspect that will probably be criticised by many of Bangle’s critics is the look of the somewhat compartmentalised X3-style rear lights. However, the rear of the next 3 Series (especially the upwardly-sloping bumper) will clearly be more individualistic than that of the current car.


The car’s new rear-drive platform features a MacPherson strut (front) and trapezoidal-shaped multi-link (rear) suspension, parts of which will be shared with the 1 Series. Steering will be courtesy of a speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion mechanism incorporating BMW’s new Active Front Steering system, sources say.


The usual electronic driving aids anti-lock brakes, DSC+T stability and traction control, CBC (cornering brake control) will all be standard, as will a comprehensive safety package with a full complement of airbags, those up front featuring multi-stage detonation. Also planned are adaptive headlamps that swivel to follow the angle of the front wheels to improve night-time visibility.


The base 3 Series will continue to be powered by a four-cylinder engine. Higher in the line-up, BMW’s classic in-line sixes will be re-engineered with the Valvetronic throttle system, and a third-generation version of the Vanos variable valve timing and direct-injection system from the 760i flagship.


Among the new powerplants will be what BMW claims is currently the world’s lightest six-cylinder engine. The new three-litre straight six will deliver about 192 kW and its fuel-saving features include a water pump operating at a tenth of regular power. This innovation allows the engine to reach its optimum temperature more quickly from a cold start. A new magnesium-alloy composite crankcase designed is said to reduce the assembled weight to about 150 kg, increase performance by about 12 per cent and drops fuel consumption by the same margin.


On the diesel side, there will be reworked versions of the popular 2,0-litre in-line four and 3,0-litre in-line six turbocharged common-rail engines. Transmission choices will include a new standard six-speed manual and optional six-speed automatic. The manual will be available with BMW’s SMG sequential shift arrangement and steering-wheel-mounted buttons.

Original article from Car