News has come from publication Auto Express, which cites insider sources about the next-generation BMW 3 Series due in 2018. We learn that the German automaker is working on an important platform update to introduce a large battery pack in the 3 Series.
Auto Express reports:
“The next-generation 3 Series, codenamed G20, gets a switch of chassis technology as the car leaves its existing platform and moves to an all-new architecture called CLAR, for Cluster Architecture. CLAR brought in carbon-fibre construction techniques to the 7 Series when it was introduced on that car earlier this year, and elements will be retained on the limousine’s smaller brother.”
The publication is claiming that BMW’s engineers are said to be working on the installation of a 90kWh battery pack, potentially giving the 3 Series EV – which is likely to carry the badge eDrive Sport – a range of around 300 miles. This would bring the vehicle to the same energy capacity as Tesla’s current top of the line Model S and X, but much higher than the base Model 3, which is expected to be introduced with a battery pack smaller than 60 kWh.
The eDrive may not arrive until 2020, but there will be at least one plug-in hybrid from launch. It’s a new version of the 330e, using a development of the existing car’s 2.0-litre petrol engine set-up and an 87bhp electric motor – but with a larger battery pack to increase the electric-only range.
Inside, the 3 Series will get improved rear legroom as a result of a slight extension in the car’s wheelbase. And while the dash will look pretty familiar, it should benefit from a step up in material quality as BMW responds to Audi and Mercedes’ latest upgrades.
We’d expect the 3 Series to make its debut next autumn, perhaps at 2017’s Frankfurt Motor Show, with sales starting in early 2018.