If you can't beat the spy photographers, join them. That's what BMW is doing, releasing camouflaged shots of the upcoming new 3 series. And they're giving out some new details, too, like a new four-cylinder engine that will make somewhere north of 255 hp.

The photos come from testing on legendary toll road and racetrack the Nurburgring in Germany. That's where BMW (and others) put their sporting models through the paces of suspension and powertrain development. The company says that the new 3 will continue the effort to build the ultimate sport sedan.

The centre of gravity has been lowered 10 mm from the last generation, and weight is trimmed by as much as 55 kg. That weight is distributed evenly over the axles. BMW says rigidity has been "significantly enhanced," which improves handling and ride. BMW also says that the new car will have a much wider track with more camber to improve cornering.

The car will launch what BMW calls a lift-related suspension. The dampers are designed to neutralize vibrations from bumps and cornering. The details there are vague, so expect more closer to launch.

BMW is staying tight-lipped about the powertrains, but is calling attention to a thoroughly revised four-cylinder engine. They have called it the most powerful four ever fitted to a production BMW. Since the current B48 four maxes out at 255 hp in the 630i and 730i models not sold here, expect numbers slightly higher than that.

The M Sport suspension option will be lower than standard and come with a variable-ratio steering rack. The available active differential lock can transfer power side to side without using the brakes to do it, which heats the brakes and slows the car on track.

BMW hasn't said when we can expect to see the new car unwrapped, but until then, here are some photos that don't hide it all that much.