AS ITS MOST popular model, BMW’s 3 Series generates plenty of interest whenever a new model is set to debut. With the next generation due in 2012, it’s no surprise that unconfirmed reports about the car's details are now beginning to circulate.
The lines of the new car are reported to borrow heavily from the latest 7 Series and concept CS to deliver a look that is less-polarising than the current car.
The bonnet and belt-line are expected to sit higher than on the current model, offering improved pedestrian protection, as this rendering of the 2012 3 Series Touring demonstrates.
Tightening emissions and fuel consumption regulations are expected to see the 3 Series debut with a three-cylinder turbocharged engine. Power is expected to be somewhere between 110 to 125 kW with torque figures of around 200 to 300 Nm.
As part of BMW’s EfficientDynamics technologies, the new car will feature an eight-speed automatic transmission, wind-cheating aerodynamics, on-demand electronics and more efficient heating and cooling systems.
One of the new EfficientDynamics features will be an aerodynamic ‘air curtain’. A series of ducts and vents around the bodywork will direct air more cleanly around high-drag areas, such as the car's wheel wells.
The car's construction will benefit from the used of advanced materials and lightweight metals such as aluminium to keep weight to a minimum.
BMW is looking to cut manufacturing costs for the new model. Whether BMW will offer lower specification versions of the new 3 Series is not yet clear, but the aim is to maximise production volumes without increasing cost.
Also under consideration is a slightly less-complex version of the hybrid drive system set to debut in the 7 Series and X6.
While BMW already has a range of fuel-efficient diesel engines on offer, the hybrid option is expected to be aimed primarily at the US market, where diesel take-up rates are lower than in Europe.