The replacement for this current BMW 3 Series will be shown at the Paris motor show in September. Picture: BMW
The replacement for this current BMW 3 Series will be shown at the Paris motor show in September. Picture: BMW

BMW will reveal the next generation of its 3 Series at the Paris motor show in October.

The next-generation 3 Series will make the move to the larger CLAR architecture, which debuted with the 5 Series and X3 models.

The shift will allow the 3 Series to use the same all-electric powertrain and battery pack as the upcoming i4 BEV, earning itself an i badge. BMW will hint at the strength of the 3 Series’ electric future with two plug-in hybrid versions early in its production cycle before unleashing the full electric version for the tighter EU7 emissions rules in 2020.

The first of the plug-in hybrids will run the Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid’s (PHEV) powertrain, which combines a 1.5l, turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor. A more powerful PHEV should use a 2.0l turbo petrol motor in concert with a more powerful electric motor and could even use a 330e badge.

The full battery electric 3 Series should arrive in 2020. The powertrain layout is based on the Vision Dynamics concept car from the 2017 Frankfurt motor show and should deliver about 700km of pure electric range per charge. It will also run an array of three, four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, though most models will rely heavily on the eight-speed, ZF automatic transmission.

Six-cylinder engines are likely to be only available on the top-spec 340i in both petrol and diesel forms, while the M3, due around 2020, will borrow heavily from the switchable all-wheel drive of the M5.

Next step for BMW

BMW chairman, Harald Krüger revealed this sketch of the brand’s iNext due in 2021. Picture: BMW
BMW chairman, Harald Krüger revealed this sketch of the brand’s iNext due in 2021. Picture: BMW

Still with BMW, sketches of its step-change battery-electric iNext have been shown to the Bavarian company’s workers and shareholders.

While BMW showed an i4 concept at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, the 2021 iNext is planned to be the centrepiece of its electric and autonomous-driving future and it will reveal a Vision-badged concept of the car later on in 2018.

Harald Krüger, right. Picture: SUPPLIED
Harald Krüger, right. Picture: SUPPLIED

Chairman Harald Krüger insists BMW electric vehicles are in the pipeline with 700km of electric range, turning them from a fringe technology to a mainstream alternative. He showed the early sketch while declaring a record sales year in 2017, including 100,000 electrified cars, while predicting a 40% jump in sales of electrified cars in 2018.

"The iNext project is our building kit for the future. It will benefit the entire company and all our brands," Krüger said.

"For the first time, we are combining all key technologies for future mobility in one vehicle. The iNext is fully electric, fully connected and also offers highly automated driving. Today, we gave our shareholders a first glimpse of the design of the BMW iNext. Later this year, we will be presenting the BMW iNext as a Vision Vehicle."

"’Project i’ started out as an independent project. Now, the letter ‘i’ is coming to our core BMW brand," Krüger said. "All pure electric BMW models will sport the ‘i’ badge and come equipped with fifth-generation battery technology. With a range of 700km, electric models will become entirely practical for everyday use."

The iNext is planned to be a system as much as it is a car, with the entirely modular chassis and powertrain systems able to slot inside all future BMW Group models.

Musk spreads the love

A test of the Tesla Model 3 by US organisation Consumer Reports has found major flaws. Picture: TESLA
A test of the Tesla Model 3 by US organisation Consumer Reports has found major flaws. Picture: TESLA

Tesla boss Elon Musk sent one of his early-hours tweets this week, saying: "Just wanted to say thanks to Tesla supporters. I damn well love you."

We won’t speculate what lead to the tweet but Musk has come under fire after a Consumer Reports test of the Model 3 found it was unable to brake within a safe distance. It also found the central touchscreen controls flawed, saying "the complex interactions with a touchscreen can cause driver distraction because each act forces drivers to take their eyes off the road and a hand off the steering wheel." The scathing test came days after Musk announced a $78,000 performance version of the Model 3 which starts at $35,000.

No turbo for GT4

Porsche will stick with naturally aspirated power and throttle response for its Cayman GT4, despite pressure to move to a turbocharged engine.

While the mainstream 718 versions of the Boxster and Cayman all use turbocharged, four-cylinder engines, sources at Porsche insist the GT4 will borrow the 911 GT3’s flat six.

That means it will use a 4.0l, horizontally opposed engine, slightly detuned from its flagship coupe, to give the second-generation Cayman GT4 as much of a power rise as Porsche wants it to have.