In development for many months now, the new M3 will be underpinned by the company’s CLAR structure that utilizes a mixture of aluminum and high-strength steel. This new platform will save a significant amount of weight and ensure the sports sedan weighs less than the M3 CS, which tips the scales at 1,585 kg (3,493 lbs). Helping to shave away additional pounds will be the use of extra carbon fiber parts.
As we’ve known for quite some time, the next-generation M3 will use a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine, just like the outgoing model. However, Autocar reports that this engine will be extensively modified to delivers around 465 hp, or 40 hp more than the existing car. Such a figure would also put the base M3 ahead of the 454 hp M3 CS in the horsepower race.
One key development of the 3.0-liter straight-six could be the implementation of a water-injection system, like the one featured in the M4 GTS, to enable cooler engine running. An all-wheel drive system, like the one in the new M5, has been considered, but ultimately dropped as it would increase costs and weight.
The new M3 will retain a six-speed manual transmission as standard. While the Mercedes-AMG C63 ditched a manual many years ago, BMW customers are still demanding such a gearbox. The thing is, while an eight-speed auto is touted as an optional extra, it doesn’t make much sense for BMW to ditch the current seven-speed double-clutch gearbox that’s a sharper choice for a full-on sports saloon.
From a visual standpoint, the car will be differentiated from the F80-generation model with looks closely resembling the 5-Series, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.
Reports assert that the new M3 will arrive in dealerships as a 2020 model, meaning a premiere next year is likely. BMW will launch the technically-identical M4 Coupe at the same time.