Mercedes and Audi are being served notice – BMW is coming after the C-Class and A4 models with its brand new 3 Series.

The official unveiling of the new car is scheduled to take place in the latter half of 2018, which is why near-production prototypes have put on new camo attire revealing a little bit more of what's going on underneath. 

We are being given the privilege to check out the swanky new headlights flanking a redesigned grille with the two kidneys meeting in the middle. The side profile doesn’t reveal a great deal, other than the fact the prototype could have used a bigger set of alloy wheels, but we’re sure the final 3 Series will be available with bigger rims.

More BMW 3 Series:

The new headlights are on display on this latest prototype, with a redesigned grille in-between. A longer wheelbase is expected, as well as a bit of extra length in the rear doors to give better access to the rear seats. 

Unless the disguise is playing tricks on us, the centre of the boot lid appears to be slightly more curved compared with the outgoing model. It continues to incorporate a section of the rear lights, although these are mostly hidden underneath the black and white tape. Overall, the styling won’t represent a significant departure from the model it's about to replace, but it should have enough changes to make it worthy of a new generation.

Photos depicting the interior of the car are not available here, but we know from previous prototypes that there's a digital instrument panel on the way as well as a revamped dashboard with bigger screen for the iDrive infotainment system.

The biggest changes for the new 3 Series will be in the switch to the CLAR platform already underpinning the car's bigger brother, the 5 Series. It should enable a healthy weight loss of around 40kg thanks to extensive use of aluminumi and a touch of carbonfibre. A roomier interior cabin is likely on the agenda too, along with a revamped engine lineup.

Expect to see the standard 3 Series models debut as early as the beginning of October at the Paris motor show, with the M3 to arrive in the second half of 2019.

Gallery: 2019 BMW 3 Series saloon new spy photos