BMW has begun testing its next-gen 3-series on Indian soil. The yet-to-be unveiled seventh-gen 3-series sedan will see a public debut at next month’s Paris Motor show 2018. The model spied on the outskirts of Pune seems to be equipped with emission testing gear, indicated that BMW is gearing up for the upcoming BS-VI norms that come into effect in April 2020.
With the new 3-series, BMW will take the fight to the Mercedes-Benz C-class by engineering its next-generation 3-series with an enhanced focus on comfort while retaining the dynamic prowess of its predecessor. BMW is pulling out all the stops to ensure the new 3-series (which goes under the internal codename G20) possesses the stylistic appeal, performance credentials, dynamic ability and overall technical prowess it needs to claw back the gains made by its rivals – most notably the Mercedes-Benz C-class, which officials have described to our sister magazine Autocar UK as the clear benchmark.
The new 3-series has grown in most key dimensions. Where no details have been revealed officially, Munich insiders suggest overall length is up by 60mm, to around 4,703mm. Around 20mm of this is said to be concentrated within a lengthened wheelbase, which has increased to almost 2,830mm, up from 2,810mm. In comparison, the current C-class is 4,696mm in length and has a 2,840mm wheelbase.
The seventh-gen model is based on BMW’s latest CLAR (cluster architecture) platform – as used by all recent BMW models – and features a longitudinally-mounted engine. In keeping with developments already seen on the larger 5-series, it benefits from a range of weight-saving initiatives, including the greater use of hot-formed, high-strength steel within the main body structure. This helps reduce its already highly competitive kerb weight by up to 50kg, despite the larger dimensions.
Closer to home, expect the new 3-series to come with a fresh set of diesel and petrol engine options along with M sport trims, with more hardcore M versions joining the line-up later.
Next-gen BMW 3-series to be unveiled at Paris motor show 2018
Audi A4 vs Mercedes-Benz C-class vs BMW 3-series comparison video