► Mildest of tweaks to BMW M3
► Features revised LED tail-lights
► Expect interior and kit upgrades
Facelifted 3-series prototypes have been doing the rounds for a while now – we’ve even driven one ourselves – but this is the first time we’ve spotted a BMW M3 facelift development vehicle.
Don’t expect any massive changes on the styling front, with fresh LED tail-lights the main news on the two cars spied here.
The facelifted 3-series range as a whole, set to arrive in UK showrooms from September 2015, will gain a restyled front end, with new bumpers and LED lights. The M3 will get a tiny facelift at the same time, mainly limited to the aforementioned tail-lights and some interior enhancements.
Siri on your Three
Apart from a material quality hike, expect a light interior refresh to include a greater range of ‘Connected Drive’ features on the updated iDrive interface. That includes music streaming service Spotify and the integration of Apple’s Siri voice control system, so you’ll be able to bombard the car with questions, asking the sat-nav to direct itself to the nearest hotel for example.
With or without success, if the iPhone’s system is anything to go by...
What can we expect from more humble 3-series models post-facelift?
There’ll be a new four-pot diesel, capable of a tax-friendly 99g/km CO2 – vital for company car sales, and to keep the 3-series competitive against the new Jaguar XE. While the Jag's headline emissions figures belong to the manual version, the new 320d will duck under the 100g/km threshold while using an eight-speed automatic transmission – an important selling point in the fleet world.
The range will also be bolstered by three-cylinder and four-cylinder engines manufactured in the UK and already familiar from certain 2-series Active Tourer and Mini models. They'll provide a new entry point to the 3-series range. A petrol-electric plug-in hybrid model will join the ranks too, a prototype of which we’ve driven some months ago.
A 340i too... and it's not an old Volvo hatch!
There’s speculation in Germany that a new BMW 340i model will also be introduced, bridging the gap between the 335i and M3 with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine packing around 360bhp.
Minor suspension alterations will cap off the update. Production for the updated 3-series range as a whole is scheduled to start in July 2015 for saloon and Touring estate models. The blobbier Gran Turismo version will get its own separate set of updates a little further down the line.
Click here to find out how CAR magazine is getting on with its long-term test BMW M3.