The revamped estate version of the BMW 3 Series is set to arrive in 2023 with fresh design and infotainment upgrade
BMW is readying a mid-cycle refresh for the 3 Series, in a bid to fend off the Mercedes C-Class and impending new Audi A4. Our spies have caught the revised Touring estate model testing near the Nurburgring, revealing a subtle restyle beneath heavy camouflage at the front and rear. The most significant changes will be under the skin, however, with a new iDrive 8 infotainment system and electrification across the lineup.
At the front, the new 3 Series will adopt a set of new headlight clusters with a sharper LED running light signature. The kidney grilles will not be enlarged to mirror those on BMW’s 4 Series and flagship iX, but the 3 Series could receive restyled grille bars come production time.
The front bumper has also been tweaked with a reshaped lower grille, although it’s difficult to make out the exact changes under the disguise in the latest images. This pre-production car wears a set of 18-inch wheels shared with the current model, although a selection of new wheel designs could come as part of the update. More swirling camouflage at the rear suggests that the tail lights and rear bumper will be tweaked, too.
But it’s inside where the 3 Series facelift will see the most meaningful upgrade. The new car will be equipped with BMW’s latest iDrive 8 infotainment system, which debuted on the iX SUV. The 3 Series shares its cabin architecture with the i4 electric sports car, which also uses this system.
The 3 Series will utilise the curved, dual-screen setup of the i4, which combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel with a 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen. iDrive 8 can also be operated using a click wheel on the centre console, and features BMW’s strongest tech suite yet.
The brand’s latest voice assistance will be included, alongside a “Learning Navigation” system and over-the-air software updates. Aside from the new displays, the cabin design will remain broadly the same as before, with a redesigned centre console and new trim options likely to be added.
Under the skin, the new 3 Series could receive a fully-electrified lineup, with the entire range of petrol and diesel engines gaining 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance. The 330e plug-in hybrid model may be joined by a more powerful PHEV model, and an all-electric 3 Series might also be on the cards.
The 4 Series has already been given the full-electric treatment with the i4, and rides on the same platform as the 3 Series. A rethinking of BMW’s EV naming strategy would see the electric 3 Series adopting the i3 moniker currently used for the brand’s all-electric city car.
The i3 would use the same running gear as it’s four-door coupe counterpart, with a rear-mounted electric motor producing 250kW. We don’t expect the i3 to deviate from the i4’s 587-kilometre claimed range.
A high-performance i3 M50 could be in the pipeline as part of the facelift, too, with a 405kW dual-motor setup and more than 480 kilometres of range.