BMW 3-series spy photos (2008)

Published: 27 June 2008

BMW is putting the finishing touches to the mildest of mild facelifts for its all-conquering 3-series saloon and estate – caught here almost camo-free – ahead of its Paris motorshow debut this coming October. The brush up readies it to take on the new C-class and Audi 4.

This is the facelifted one? Sure?

Given how successful the 3-series is, BMW has wisely left the car’s looks largely untouched. This is a car that outsells the Mondeo, remember. Look closely at our images and it’s (relatively) clear the new-look 3 will get a more creased bonnet and deeper M3-inspired snout that will immediately distinguish it from the current model. Clear-lensed headlamps and a revised rear lamp cluster will the introduction of LED light emitting diodes.

Does this mean lots of work under the skin?

Uhh…no, in a word. The 3-series has already been fettled with Munich’s vaunted Efficient Dynamics – all manual four-cylinder models get the start-stop tech and regenerative braking. So the engines will simply be tweaked and fettled to make them cleaner – which explains the rather odd-looking exhaust monitoring system attached to this car. The stop-start technology may not have the headline-grabbing sophistication of hybrid, but combine the improved economy and lower emissions with the ubiquity of the 3-series and the savings start adding up very quickly.

Interesting. Anything else?

The current engine line-up – a pretty encompassing five petrol and five diesel range from 143bhp to 306bhp – is expected to be carried over unchanged, and of course the two and four-door M3 will remain unchanged. The familiar ES, SE and M Sport trim levels wil remains as is, and expect the inevitable £2-500 price hike.

The 3-series outsells the Mondeo, yet still retains a gleaming premium lustre. Just how does it manage this trick – any thoughts?

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars