BMW will replace its entire 3-series family over the next three years via the introduction of a new 3-series saloon, 3-series touring and X3 SUV, the model pictured here.
BMW is also working on a 3-series ‘GT’ model to broaden the appeal of its biggest selling model family, although the new fastback model will not replace the Touring, a car traditionally thought of as the most practical in the range.
Frankfurt 2011 is the earliest that we’re likely to see the new 3-series, putting the very first UK saloon sales in early 2012. The touring is likely to follow later that year.
Slated for a potential show debut as early as this year’s Paris show, however, and based on the same platform as the new 3-series is BMW’s all-new X3.
Being a year closer to production, the X3 in our picture is wearing much less disguise than the 3-series. It’ll be a significantly larger car than the current X3, allowed to grow by the introduction of the X1. A 2900mm wheelbase will make it slightly roomier for rear seat passengers than the current car too.
When it enters production in 2011, production of the X3 will move from its current base at Magna Steyr in Austria to BMW’s Spartanburg plant in the USA, which also makes the X5 and X6.