Following the trickle of spy photos over the past year, BMW's upcoming 2012 3 Series sedan has been teased in a new promotional video this week. The clip follows the car's development team as they put it through hot weather testing in Death Valley, California.
Despite wearing some of the heaviest camouflage that we've seen on a BMW, this new video shows that that development of the next generation 3 Series sedan and touring/wagon is well underway.
The official BMW clip comes after TMR's own spy shots earlier this year, which offered the first view of the new 3 Series interior, revealing a new steering wheel and centre stack design.
With one major styling update since its debut in 2005, the current generation E90 BMW 3 Series is due for retirement in the next couple of years.
BMW's EfficientDynamics technologies is expected to be a major element in the new 3 Series, with low-drag aerodynamics and smaller-capacity engines playing a role.
One of the new EfficientDynamics features will be an aerodynamic ‘air curtain’. A series of ducts and vents around the bodywork designed to direct air more cleanly around high-drag areas, such as the wheel-wells.
Ever-tightening emissions and fuel consumption regulations are expected to see the new 3 Series debut with a three-cylinder turbocharged engine, developing an estimated 110 to 125 kW and 200 to 300 Nm.
BMW has also confirmed that, along with a similar model in the 5 Series range, a hybrid version of the new 3 Series will feature in the model line-up.
While BMW already has a range of fuel-efficient diesel engines on offer, the hybrid option has come about as a result of the massive uptake of hybrid models in the Japanese market.
Thanks to the heavy camouflage, styling remains unclear for now. BMW has hinted in the past that the next 3 Series would draw inspiration from the Concept CS - elements of which can already be seen in the new 5 Series GT.
Stripping away the camouflaging, our rendering, above, shows how the next 3 Series might be expected to appear.
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.