We've already spotted the next generation of the BMW 3 Series out and about on the German motorways, but now we've got a spy video of the small saloon out on the move. 

BMW's designers certainly aren't planning to radically overhaul the look of the next 3 Series. The kidney grilles appear broader, and the headlights have a more slanted appearance – there's no mistaking this for any other car, though. 

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Underneath the familiar appearance, the 3 Series moves to BMW's CLAR platform that's already underneath the latest 5 Series and 7 Series. The new saloon should be about the same overall size as the outgoing model, but a longer wheelbase will mean a boost in passenger space. The vehicle's weight should fall by around 40kg, too.

Inside, a new instrument panel will include old-fashioned analogue dials and a digital display in the middle. Rather than the cleanly integrated screen that Mercedes has implemented for its instrument panel and infotainment systems, BMW continues to put its digital screen on top of the dashboard.

An array of internal combustion engines will remain in the lineup. Until the next-gen M3 arrives, the M340i will occupy the top of the range with its 3-litre turbocharged inline-six that produces 340bhp and 369lb ft of torque. Plus there will two plug-in hybrid variants – the 330e and 325e. A fully electric version will likely arrive during the new model's lifetime.

Look for the new 3 Series to debut at a motor show near you in 2018. A new generation of the 4 Series coupe won't be too far behind, and it'll likely spawn a new Gran Coupe four-door as a more stylish alternative to the basic saloon.

Gallery: 2019 BMW 3 Series new spy photos