Last week, BMW introduced the new i3 in China, which is essentially a fully electric version of the current 3 Series G20.
The EV also works as a preview for the upcoming 3 Series facelift, and now we have a better idea of the changes to be introduced.
One of the biggest changes to the 3 Series is the thinner headlights, which feature inverted L-shaped LED daytime running lights. They are now contained in reshaped groups that have a straight edge at the bottom instead of the Peugeot-like notched “claw” design.
The kidney grid, closed on the i3, has also been redesigned to be more angular and slightly more vertical than before, although it has not grown substantially in size. Elsewhere, the front bumper has sharper contours, a larger U-shaped central air intake, and simpler corner air intakes with no additional ducts inside.
Along the sides, there are new vents that are not on the current model, while the rear bumper on the i3 strongly emphasizes the lack of any exhaust pipes. These indications are probably exclusive to i3 and may differ from the revised 3 Series when it finally debuts.
Difference and not much
As for the interior, the first thing you’ll notice is the large widescreen display panel connected to the latest BMW 8 operating system, just like the i4. In fact, the entire dashboard seems to be shifted from BMW’s other electric sedan to the panel under the central vents that houses the media controls, emergency lights and defogger settings – the line of favorites is gone.
Other omissions include the display screen for air conditioning control, placed between the center vents of the current model – now integrated into the center touch screen – along with the quick access buttons for the car’s safety and air conditioning systems. The center console, steering wheel and various other touch points appear unchanged from the front.
Keep in mind that BMW could make the widescreen display exclusively for the i3 to differentiate it from the 3 Series, similar to what happens with the 4 Series Gran Coupe and i4.
The facelifted 3 Series will probably come with a range of three-, four- and six-cylinder engines, possibly enhanced by mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies. The obvious rival is the latest W206 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which was launched in Malaysia in February this year.
BMW has not said whether this model will be launched in Europe.