Sign up for our newsletter


All-new BMW 3-series spotted testing – 2018’s crucial new compact exec

Jordan Katsianis
20 Mar 2018

The all-new BMW 3-series, rumoured to be codenamed G20, has been spied ahead of its release later this year.


The current ‘F30’ BMW 3-series is due for replacement later this year, so it’s not surprising to see the next-generation version of the compact executive saloon undergoing testing in preparation.

New from the ground up, the G20 3-series will need to take on the polished Audi A4 and recently renewed Mercedes-Benz C-class in order to maintain its position at the top of its class. The development car shown in these images is a late-cycle prototype, giving us a clue to its near production-ready status.

> Click here for spy shots of the upcoming BMW M3

From what we can see under the body-concealing wrap, the new 3-series should ape the larger 5-series, with similar wide kidney grilles and LED headlights. BMW design hallmarks such as the quartet of round headlights and the Hofmeister kink at the base of the C-pillars both appear to be present and correct, despite being details that are no longer sacred within BMW’s design studios.

At the rear, BMW’s next-gen L-shaped lamps, first seen on the X4, have been applied, sitting on what looks to be a more aggressive tail that integrates wider wheelarches and a tapered bootlid. The second car pictured is likely to be an M Sport model, given away by its more aggressive bumper treatments and rear bumper vents.

The cabin will also likely mirror that of the 5-series, which is no bad thing, but as with the exterior, those wanting a dramatic change might be disappointed. BMW has given no indication as yet whether it will follow Audi in moving to a touchscreen-only infotainment system in the future, but as one of the originators of the click-wheel interface and with i-Drive being one of the more resolved systems, if it ain’t broke, why change it? Instead BMW will focus on further improving interior plastics, build quality and general refinement.

> Click here for our review of the BMW 5-series

Engine choices should mimic the three-, four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel units available in the current 3-series, although we also expect a stronger emphasis on plug-in hybrid versions such as the tax-friendly 330e. We have already spotted the BMW M3 in development, albeit in an earlier prototyping stage than this car. That car will hold on to its six-cylinder power unit and is tipped to apply mild hybrid tech with a 48V electrical system, which could support an electrically assisted turbocharger.

The next 3-series will be rolled out in saloon and estate forms, with coupe and convertible body styles due soon after under a 4-series classification. Due to be shown to the public later this year, the compact executive class is sure to become more competitive upon its release.


Read more about:

Experience the thrill of driving every month with evo magazine, devoted exclusively to the greatest performance cars in the world. If you're passionate about performance cars then evo is your ultimate monthly read.