The UK’s Car Magazine is reporting that the next generation M3 will reportedly be unveiled at Frankfurt Auto Show in September. As many, including us here at BimmerLife have speculated, the upcoming M3 is said to be designed with an M xDrive system similar to that of the current F90 M5, which will offer disconnection of the front driveshaft for exclusive rear-wheel motivation. Modern xDrive systems necessitate the use of an automatic transmission, especially in M cars where torque output is high, but Car has gone on to say that there will be a driver-focused M3 Pure, which will be available with rear-wheel drive and a conventional manual transmission. Enthusiasts can now rejoice, and perhaps let out a sigh of relief: The forecasts we discussed for much of last year are proving correct.
In addition to the new drivetrain setup, speculation about the engine includes the use of a redesigned twin-turbo inline six, which is expected to use the internal designation S58. Water injection, like the system used on the high-output S55 of the M4 GTS, has also been discussed. A conventional M3 will have 474 horsepower, while stick, rear-drive Pure models will be limited to 454; BMW’s strongest manual transmission is currently limited to 480 pound-feet of torque.
Although a new M3 Touring sounds like a long shot, automotive news-media outlets are reporting that a new M4 Gran Coupé will join the M model portfolio in 2020. Gran Coupés, the swoopy four-door sedans that have been gaining traction in the BMW lineup over the past several years, are quite popular these days, and serve as a nice compromise between a conventional sedan and a two -door coupe. The initial 6 Series Gran Coupé is still highly regarded for excellent styling, and to date, buyers have spoken with their wallets with a preference for Gran Coupés like the Four and Six as opposed to Gran Tourismos like the Three and Five. Things are being shaken up, though, and BMW has since introduced the new 6 Series Gran Tourismo, which further complicates the lineup.
Viewing the broader picture, the future of BMW M cars seems exciting. The diehards among us will still be able to row their own gears, while cutting-edge technology remains present at the forefront in terms of the new, potentially water-injected power plant and intelligent M xDrive system. Check out the spy shot below, which reveals a quad exhaust, large wheels, and what look like big carbon ceramic brakes.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]