Kidney Punch: Seventh-generation BMW 3 Series Teased, Aims for Wider Look
Undoubtedly, the BMW 3 Series, besides being the benchmark among premium sports sedans, holds the crown for having the most stereotyped drivers.
It doesn’t help that, while attempting to make my way across a city jam-packed with tornado-darkened intersections last weekend, a sedan failed to wait its turn at one of the impromptu four-way stops, nearly hitting me. The make and model of the gauntlet runner? A BMW 3 Series. I’d love to see a study on this phenomenon.
Anecdotal accounts of impatient drivers aside, BMW loyalists have a new 3 Series to look forward to, and they won’t have to wait long to see it.
This image, released Wednesday, precedes the 2019 3 Series’ big October 2nd reveal at the Paris auto show. Looks wider, doesn’t it? For the upcoming generation, BMW’s designers saw fit to eliminate the narrow strip of body color separating the two signature grille openings, fusing the two together in a chrome embrace. Headlights, now underscored by LED hockey sticks, move away from their traditional circular shape.
Beneath the vehicle, the 3 Series sees the same modular CLAR architecture coming to a host of rear-drive models in the Bimmer stable. Steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber combine to form a platform that’s lighter and stiffer than before. Like all modular platforms, this one is versatile. A number of powertrain configurations are possible, though Bimmer’s keeping tight-lipped about what we can expect at launch.
BMW developed CLAR and its FAAR front-drive sibling to hedge its bets. The automaker isn’t sure exactly how many future buyers might want a plug-in hybrid, electric vehicle, or traditional gas-powered whip, so it developed the platform with all of these applications in mind. It looks like we’ll see an all-electric 3 Series before too long, too. A silent prototype was spotted plying the streets of Germany in August.
Currently, 3 Series drivers with a soft spot for the environment can choose the 330e, a plug-in hybrid sedan with a paltry electric range of 14 miles.
Joining the next-gen 3 Series in Paris are the new Z4 and the resurrected 8 Series coupe.
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