The new BMW 3 Series prototype has been snapped, and we have all the latest concerning everything from efficiency scores to onboard tech. It’s not set for release until late 2018, but here’s what we know so far.

Styling

The body of the 2018 BMW 3 Series will borrow lightweight components from the latest 5 and 7 Series, so it should be markedly more efficient. Of course, you won’t notice the difference from the outside. In fact, the prototype looks roughly similar to the outgoing 3 Series.

Granted, we can’t see everything through the swirling camouflage paint job, but there do seem to be a few details drawn from the new 5 series. A wider kidney-shaped grille seems to be complemented by bolder headlights and a single wide air intake. Brake lights aren’t quite as tall, and the vehicle has an altogether lower and sportier look about it.

Interior

The cabin of the new 3 Series should feel completely refreshed. Your eyes will be drawn to a widescreen infotainment system that comes paired with a digital driver’s display in place of the old analogue dials. Better yet, BMW’s outstanding iDrive system will revise graphics and deliver cool gesture controls, just like in the ultra-luxurious 7 Series.

Thanks to the new platform, drivers can expect more interior space. Rear-seat passengers will feel better able to stretch out and relax, and boot space should grow over the outgoing 480-litre capacity.

Performance

Engine changes also won’t be too dramatic, but the 3 Series has never really had a problem with performance to fix in the first place.  Expect a slightly revised selection of petrol and diesel powerplants, including a fuel-sipping hybrid model and a thunderous twin-turbo six-cylinder capable of more than 460hp.

As ever, the BMW’s diesel engines should appeal to those drivers who want to make longer journeys. If you’re one of them, you might think about equipping the new autonomous driving technology. For example, adaptive cruise control can accelerate, brake, and even steer in heavy traffic.

Price

You’ll be waiting until towards the end of 2018 to finally see the new 3 Series – after that, it should appear in showrooms fairly sharpish. You’ll probably be able to get behind the driver’s seat by early 2019. Once the new model arrives, expect prices to start around the £26,000 mark.

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