We’ve been waiting for the new G20 BMW 3 Series for some time, and after plenty of speculation, spyshots and juicy details, it seems we’re finally reaching the end of the tunnel, as a teaser image of the seventh-generation compact executive model has surfaced on French forum Worldscoop.

While the car seen here is draped in cloth, there are a couple of obvious design details that can clearly seen – the biggest of which (quite literally) being the massive double kidney grille. Unlike other recent BMW models, this grille is still connected to the headlights, but it’s now far larger and conjoined in the centre, in a similar form to what you’d find on the new 8 Series.

Speaking of the headlights, they feature three-dimensional LED daytime running lights that are almost L-shaped. While the shape of the lamps themselves can’t be seen, previous spyshots have revealed a notched design, and you can see this in a rendering prepared by Photoshop wizard Theophilus Chin.

These renderings show what the finished product could look like

The Cerium Grey grille surround hints that this is the M Performance version, the M340i, which will utilise a new version of the B58 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six petrol engine. Although outputs have yet to be revealed, it should make between 340 hp and 360 hp, similar to other M Performance models like the X3 and X4 M40i, the M140i and M240i and the new Z4 M40i.

There will also be a new 2.0 litre four-pot mill first seen on the facelifted MINI Hatch, which BMW says is its most powerful four-cylinder engine ever – despite using around five percent less fuel than before. This is clearly seen with the 330i already tested by publications such as Autocar, which now makes 260 hp (up from 252 hp) and 400 Nm of torque (from 350 Nm).

Interior takes cues from recent models like the G05 X5 and G29 Z4

The entry-level 1.5 litre turbo three-pot should continue to be offered, as will the usual brace of diesel engines. As before, there’s a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox and a ZF eight-speed automatic, but this time models 330i and up will be offered exclusively with the automatic.

Under the skin, the next 3 Series will utilise a version of the modular CLAR architecture already used by the 5 and 7 Series, with a greater use of aluminium, magnesium and high-strength steel bringing total weight down by as much as 55 kg. It gets a new form of twin-rated passive dampers for improved comfort (adaptive dampers are optional) and a new optional M Sport differential.