BMW has released a fresh batch of details about its next-generation 3 Series (plus images from testing at the Nürburgring Nordschleife), confirming that the upcoming G20-generation sedan will be offered with the "most powerful four-cylinder engine" ever fitted to a production model from the brand.

Although the Munich-based automaker has yet to reveal power figures, it says this petrol engine has been “thoroughly revised” and mated to a “further developed” eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. In addition, BMW claims the powerplant is some five percent more efficient than the current equivalent.

BMW also revealed that the new 3 Series will benefit from a “comprehensive renewal” of its suspension (which uses the first lift-related dampers ever to be fitted to BMW), steering and braking systems, with a view to optimising both ride comfort and dynamic performance. In addition, the vehicle's centre of gravity has been lowered by 10 mm, while axle load distribution is balanced at a claimed ratio of 50:50.

The automaker says the sedan will weigh up to 55 kg less than the outgoing generation (depending on the model, of course), adding that rigidity levels have been “significantly enhanced”. Track widths have also been widened.

"We're using the lift-related dampers as an active set-up element so as to create supreme driving properties in all conditions," said Peter Langen, head of driving dynamics at BMW.

"With short spring travel, a sensitive damping response ensures comfortable vibration compensation. When the car passes over large bumps, the body movements are controlled by increased damping forces."

An optional M sports suspension, which includes a lowering of 10 millimetres, 18-inch light alloy wheels and mixed tyres, will also be offered (in conjunction with “specially reconfigured" variable sports steering), and features 20 percent higher damping forces than the standard suspension.

"This means the difference from the standard suspension is much more perceptible than before. We've also made the M sports suspension much sportier, with more rigid bearings and stabilisers, harder springs and additional body struts," revealed Langen.

The automaker says its M sports differential (an electronically controlled locking function in the rear axle) is linked to the dynamic stability control system, making it possible to “pre-emptively influence both understeering and oversteering” without brake intervention.

"Unlike conventional mechanical locks, the regulated M sports differential can optimise so much more than just traction. In addition to cornering dynamics, there is a particularly tangible increase in drive stability in the event of load changes, for example. This allows the new BMW 3 Series Sedan to be driven remarkably confidently and effortlessly even when travelling in dynamic style," said Langen.
BMW 3 Series