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New 2019 BMW 3-series spied – to include an Audi S4-rivalling M340i for the first time

Jordan Katsianis
23 May 2018

We anticipate seeing the all-new BMW 3-series in a couple of months. Here is what to expect

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BMW’s crucial all-new 3-series is nearing its reveal at the Paris motor show later this year, where it will introduce a wealth of new tech and electrified powertrains before reaching UK showrooms in early 2019.

The next 3-series, mooted to be called G20, will be launching with a new chassis architecture shared with the BMW 5-series and X3, and will allow the 3-series to add further electrified, and more interestingly, M Performance variants.

> Click here for spy shots of the upcoming BMW M3

We’re led to believe that the 3-series will be available in an M340i version for the first time, finally giving BMW a direct rival to the Audi S4 and Mercedes-AMG C43. Due to feature the same turbocharged 3-litre straight-six as in the X3 M40i, power is expected to sit at around 360bhp. This model, and a possible M340d, are likely to be the only six-cylinder 3-series variants available (aside from the upcoming M3), and paired exclusively with eight-speed automatic gearboxes and all-wheel drive.

Otherwise, expect the same combination of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines making up the bulk of the engine range, as well as an entry-level 318i utilising a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit. BMW will also be paying attention to its plug-in hybrid variants, expanding beyond the current 330e model with an entry-level 325e, combining an electric motor and 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine.

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 with four lighting elements. M Performance models will offer bigger wheels and brakes, more aggressive front and rear bumpers and dual exhaust pipes.

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

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 the 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.

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.

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