BMW’s benchmark sport sedan, the M3, will soon go in for a redesign. A prototype for the next-generation model been spotted for the first time, and even at this early stage of the development we can gather a number of clues.
Referred to internally as the G80, the new M3 will sport a much wider track compared to the new 3-Series from which it will be derived. The wheel arch extensions used on the prototype are still temporary units and will be replaced by a set of widened fenders on more advanced testers.
We can also see that the brake discs and calipers are very large, and at the rear of the car sit a signature set of quad-exhaust tips. Hidden underneath all of the camouflage gear at the front will be enlarged intakes possibly with a similar design to what’s found on the latest M5.
There’s not a lot of intel out on the new M3 but the car is expected to utilize a twin-turbocharged inline-6 delivering in the vicinity of 500 horsepower, possibly with the aid of a mild hybrid system or perhaps even electric assistance for the turbocharging system. The current M3 has just 425 hp in standard guise and 453 hp in the limited edition CS model.
Meanwhile, a 6-speed manual should be standard on the new M3 and an 8-speed automatic available, though only the auto should be offered on all-wheel-drive versions of the car. That’s right. We’re hearing that the M division’s new all-wheel-drive system, known as M xDrive, will make it onto the new M3, albeit as an available option rather than standard like on the M5. The system has a transfer case that splits the drive torque between the front and rear axles and at the push of a button can switch to rear-wheel-drive-only mode.
Underpinning the new 3-Series, including the M3 variant, is the BMW Group’s multi-material constructed CLAR modular design that made its debut in the latest 7-Series and has since appeared in the latest 5-Series. The 3-Series’ version of the platform misses out on the 7-Series’ pricey “carbon core” construction but we should see the M division add some carbon fiber-reinforced plastic body panels to the new M3 to shed weight as well as lower the center of the gravity.
We’re expecting the new 3-Series to bow next year, as a 2019 model. Expect the M3 variant to arrive a year later, meaning we should see it as a 2020 model. Further out we should see prototypes for a new 4-Series coupe and eventually a new M4.