2022 will bring some significant changes to the 3 Series as the mid-cycle update will usher in the long-awaited M3 Touring. In addition, the Life Cycle Impulse will transform the dashboard to accommodate the iDrive 8 already implemented in the 2 Series Active Tourer, i4, and iX. In these fresh spy shots depicting the sedan and wagon, we can catch glimpses of the side-by-side screens.
Both body styles are hiding seemingly slimmer headlights flanking a normal-size grille as the standard 3 Series (thankfully) won't get the M3's gargantuan kidneys. The redesigned front bumper appears to have new vertical air curtains and there could be some other minor changes hiding behind the disguise. A closer look at the sedan shows a honeycomb mesh pattern for the lower grille, suggesting the test vehicle had the M Sport Package.
The charging port on the driver's side front fender shows we’re dealing with a plug-in hybrid prototype of the sedan. In addition, the fuel cap is hiding a badge under the black tape, which we believe is an M logo. On the current 330e with the M Sport package, the "most powerful letter in the world" is located right above the charging port.
The facelifted 3 Series will spawn an i3 serving as an electric sedan based on the long-wheelbase model, but only in China where it will be assembled. Elsewhere, the "i3" name will be retired in the coming months as BMW will end production of the hatchback in July. For a globally available purely electric 3er, we'll have to wait until 2025 when an EV will arrive on the Neue Klasse platform. It's rumored to be sold alongside the next-generation, combustion-engined 3 Series riding on the familiar CLAR platform as today's car.
Meanwhile, the 3 Series LCI will debut later this year and we're curious to find out whether the M340d will live on considering Europe's increasingly stringent emissions regulations. Also coming this year are the next-generation M2, M4 CSL, 7 Series / i7, facelifted X5, and the production-ready XM. These will all follow the recently updated 8 Series / M8 lineup.