BMW's latest design language has been subjected to a lot of criticism and some would argue it's a bit inconsistent from one model to another. The seventh-generation 3 Series (G20) came out three years ago and is naturally preparing for a mid-cycle facelift, and thankfully, it won't rock the boat as far as exterior changes are concerned.
Spotted here in spicy M340i flavour testing near and at the Nürburgring, the 3 Series LCI seems to be keeping the regular grille rather than adopting the love/hate XXL kidneys of the M3. The extended camo suggests there will be significant changes at the front and rear fascias, but in reality, the sports sedan will likely go through a minimally invasive cosmetic surgery.
Gallery: 2022 BMW 3 Series M340i saloon facelift spy photos
A major novelty brought by the facelift will occur inside the cabin where the refreshed 3er will adopt the eighth-generation iDrive infotainment system. Unveiled earlier this year for the iX and i4 electric models, it encompasses side-by-side screens in a familiar setup arch rival Mercedes has been using for a number of years.
We'll remind you that in the i4, essentially an electric 4 Series Gran Coupe, the latest iDrive relies on a generously sized 14.9-inch touchscreen accompanied by a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The two screens share a frameless bezel giving the illusion of a single ultra-wide display, while the infotainment is slightly angled towards the driver for a better user experience.
The 3 Series facelift will also usher in the very first EV version to bolster BMW's zero-emissions efforts, which also include already confirmed electric derivatives of the next-gen 5 Series and 7 Series. Sadly, none of these models are going to ride on a dedicated electric car platform as the Bavarians won't have one ready until 2025 when the Neue Klasse architecture will debut.
With the regular 3 Series about to go under the knife, there's a pretty good chance the first-ever M3 Touring arriving in 2022 will also be based on the facelifted model, but obviously with the controversial grille also used by the 4 Series and M4 models, as well as the i4 and iX.
We're hearing the high-performance diesel, M340d in both saloon and estate configurations, will soldier on in markets where oil-burners are still in demand. The 3 Series saloon is said to remain in production until October 2025 while the more practical Touring (G21) will allegedly be phased out in June 2026.
Sources: Automedia, CarPix