By Gabriel Nica - Auto Evolution
The guys from Automobile Magazine seem to be on a roll recently, as they are posting all sorts of insider info that seems rather believable. Unlike other publications, the specs they put out are more or less on par with what we’re guessing BMW will be aiming for on future models.
After telling us that the German company plans to introduce a new car known as XCite at the moment, that could fit right between the 1 Series and X1 models, they claim that they know every interesting detail about the future G20 3 Series. So, what did we already know and what’s new?
What we already knew
For the future products that will come out of Munich, BMW plans to keep only two architectures standing: one of them will be front-wheel drive, using the UKL platform and the other will be called CLAR (from Cluster Architecture) and will use the 35up platform. Basically, all cars as big or bigger than the 3 Series will be rear-wheel drive while the rest of them will be front-wheel drive.
That includes SUVs like the X1 and X2 and MPV like the 2 Series Active Tourer and 2 Series Gran Tourer. The question that seemingly hasn’t found an answer yet is whether the 2 Series will have the same faith.
Having driven the M235i, I can sincerely tell you that this would be a huge mistake. BMW built its name on the fact that they can make brilliant small coupes and the 2 Series is exactly that. As far as we know, the discussion regarding this issue is still heated in the higher hierarchies of Munich management and a decision is still to be made.
The new 3 Series will also benefit from the tech bits from the 7 Series that will be launched this year. Since the new 3er will come out somewhere in 2018 or 2019, there’s still plenty of time to allow tech to trickle down to the volume seller of the brand.
Things like the new iDrive, new lightweight materials and new xDrive system will be used on the future 3 Series range. The plug-in hybrid model that is going to be introduced as part of the facelift the car will get this year will also be continued in the next generation, at the very least.
Of course, all the new B-family engines will be inserted under the bonnet and we won’t see plants bigger than the 3-liter inline 6-cylinder mills we have today.
Things we didn’t know
According to Automobile Magazine, there will be more than one plug-in hybrid version. There will be an entry-level model using a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine connected to an electric motor that can make around 80 HP and a 2-liter 4-cylinder one hooked up to an electric motor good for 120 HP. That’s a prospect that we can really see coming to life.
The body of the car will be even more aggressive thanks to a lower center of gravity, a sleeker greenhouse and a sportier stance. There will also be active anti-roll bars, active steering and a new torque-vectoring system.
The M3/M4 duo to get 500 HP
And then we get to the M cars. The same source claims that the future version of the S55 plant that we have today will keep its size in check but will add some new technology that will take the power levels up to over 500 HP.
This increase could be achieved in a number of ways but our money is on the new water injection cooling system introduced on the M4 Safety Car and rumored to make its debut on the M4 GTS later on. However, there’s also talk of electric turbochargers so the two could be combined into one big, mean package.