Last week, BMW introduced the all-new i3 in China, which is essentially an all-electric version of the current G20 3 Series. As we reported at the time, the EV also doubles as a preview for the upcoming 3 Series facelift, and we now have a better idea of the other changes to expect thanks to new images posted on BMW China’s website.

Firstly, let’s recap what we already know. One of the biggest changes on the 3 Series are the slimmer headlamps, which feature inverted L-shaped LED daytime running lights. These are now contained within reprofiled clusters that have a straight edge at the bottom instead of the notched, Peugeot-like “claw” design currently.

The kidney grille (closed-off on the i3) has also been reshaped to be more angular and a little more vertical than before, although it hasn’t grown substantially in size. Elsewhere, the front bumper sports sharper contours, a larger U-shaped centre air intake and simpler corner air inlets that are without additional ducting within them.

Along the sides, there are new Air Breather vents that aren’t on the current 3er, while the rear bumper on the i3 heavily emphasises the lack of any exhaust pipes. These cues are likely exclusive to the i3 and could differ on the revised 3 Series when it finally debuts.

As for the interior, the first thing you’ll notice is the large widescreen display panel linked to the latest BMW Operating System 8, just like the i4. In fact, the entire dashboard appears to be carried over from BMW’s other electric sedan, right down to the panel beneath the centre air vents that houses the media controls, hazard lights and defogger settings – the favourites row is gone.

Other omissions include the display screen for the climate control sandwiched between the centre air vents in the current 3er – now integrated into the centre touchscreen – along with the quick access buttons for the car’s safety and climate systems. The centre console, steering wheel and various other touch points appear to be unchanged from before.

Keep in mind that BMW could make the widescreen display exclusive to the i3 to differentiate it from the 3 Series, similar to what’s going on with the 4 Series Gran Coupe and i4. However, we should expect the rest of the updated dashboard to be implemented at the very least.

The facelifted 3 Series will likely come with a range of three-, four- and six-cylinder engines, possibly augmented by mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid tech. The obvious rival is the latest W206 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which was launched in Malaysia in February this year. While we wait for BMW to officially introduce the new 3er, what do you think of the changes previewed by the i3?