The prototype can clearly be seen sporting the M3’s trademark power bulge on the hood, while the familiar BMW ring-shaped headlights can be seen beneath their own strip of obscuring tape. We also see the new lower intake design, revealing a look similar to that seen on the latest M6 range but with its own unique style. Looking closely at the front fenders, it also appears that BMW engineers have left an opening in the camouflage for a possible vertical fender vent.
Rumors of a possible triple-turbo six-cylinder have been the headliner for the next-generation M3 (though we aren't sold on the idea) and other reports have suggested that the two-door versions of the car will feature M4 badging and arrive after the sedan (this, we do agree on).
The fact that prototypes for the coupe have only just been spotted while the sedan version has been testing for more than a year on public roads gives credence to the suggestion that BMW will offer the M3 initially as a sedan, with the coupe and convertible arriving later. Expect the M3 sedan to go on sale late next year as a 2014 model, with the coupe and convertible not arriving until early in the following year.
Power estimates for the car’s expected M Division turbo six range around the 450-horsepower mark, with BMW's characteristic inline six-cylinder layout a given. Whether it will feature two turbos (as we expect) or three (as rumored), it is said to be all-new, rather than an updated version of the N54/N55 found in the current 3-Series lineup. Displacement is expected to be around 3.3 liters.
Rear-wheel drive will remain standard, but with a trick torque vectoring system distributing forces to either side of the rear axle as needed. A similar unit is fitted to the latest 2013 BMW M5. A seven-speed M-DCT dual-clutch transmission will also feature, though a six-speed manual will remain the standard fitting.
Stay tuned for further updates as development progresses and check out our spy shots post for even more photos of the new 2014 BMW M3.