The head of BMW’s M performance division has confirmed powertrain specs for the next-generation M3 sports sedan that include a more powerful sport sedan, and they represent a significant jump in power versus the current car. Once again, that power will come from a twin-turbocharged inline-6 engine, available and the M3 will also offer all-wheel drive and the option of a manual gearbox, the executive confirmed.
In an interview published Friday with the UK’s Car Magazine, Markus Flasch, the boss of BMW’s M division, confirmed that the upcoming M3 will use the same S58 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6 found under the hood of both the X3 M and X4 M SUVs. According to Flasch, the new inline-six engine will make 487 horsepower in the standard M3 and 517 in the track-focused Competition model. By comparison, today’s M3 is rated at 425 horsepower hp in standard form and 453 horsepower hp with the limited-edition CS package.
The M3 has historically been a rear-wheel drive vehicle, but that will change with the new model. The 2020 M3, which will debut this fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show, will be available with the same all-wheel drive system used in the latest BMW M5. That means the new M3 will be able to operate in all-wheel drive or, at the touch of a button, rear-wheel drive only.
However, not every M3 will be equipped with all-wheel drive. Flasch says BMW is planning to offer “purer” versions of the new M3 with rear-wheel drive and a manual gearbox.
“We will also do rear-wheel drive cars, purer ones too and a manual stick shift,” he said.
Early indications are the purer models will have the lower horsepower figure and be the only cars to offer a manual. Others will come with an 8-speed automatic.
Previous spy shots have revealed what to expect on the styling front. Compared to the normal 3-Series sedan on which it’s based, the 2020 M3 will have wider fender flares to accommodate bigger wheels and tires, a lowered suspension for better handling, revised front and rear fascias for better aerodynamics and , of course, the M division’s signature quad-exhaust outlets.
Expect to see the all-new 2020 M3 in BMW showrooms during the early part of next year.