BMW's next 3-series – the F30 – scooped

Published: 26 May 2009 Updated: 26 January 2015

Our scoopsters in Germany have caught the next-generation BMW 3-series out on test early in the development process. Our spyshots capture a test mule – the widened track and bulging bodywork let slip this is the new 3-series, codenamed F30, which is due in showrooms in early 2012.

Our info is that the new Three will sport a brand new body, designed by recent design boss appointment Adrian van Hooydonk, wrapped around carryover chassis and suspension from today’s E90 3-series family.

Will the new 3-series range share oily bits with other BMWs?

Oh yes. The 1-series, 3-series and X3 will all use parts of the new F30’s architecture, which is planned in three different wheelbase options: 2700mm for the next 1-series (codenamed F20), 2800mm for the new 3-series and 2900mm for the off-roaders, according to CAR’s sources.

And, BMW being BMW, Munich is studying some interesting new bodystyles for the new 3-series range. Sporty tii models could sport a bespoke bodystyle codenamed ‘sharknose’ while a Progressive Activity Sedan (PAS) version like a mini 5-series Gran Turismo is also under consideration.

Engines on the new 3-series (2012)

Powering the new 3-series will be the latest iteration of familiar powerplants. The latest Efficient Dynamics tech is a given and we’d expect a downsized range of engines with some more exciting icing on the cake for enthusiasts hellbent on bhp rather than mpg.

Rumours abound that the current M3’s V8 will be no more, forced to shrink to a bi-turbo V6, while the stepping stone sports model, the imminent tii family of intermediate sports models, is rumoured to boast a 300bhp twin-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words