2020 BMW M3: Up To 503HP, AWD And Everything Else We Know So Far

As with every generation so far, the upcoming BMW M3 is a rather big deal for performance car lovers and fans of the German brand.

We’ve been witnessing BMW M evolving and expanding the lineup in the past few years but the M3 will always be the core model. Perhaps the biggest change over the outgoing generation will be the adoption of all-wheel drive.

While these news might displease the purists, the truth is that the M3 was becoming too powerful for its own good, especially for markets with colder climates. Adding an all-wheel drive system will make the M3 a much more capable all-season performer, not to mention much quicker off the line.

All-Wheel Drive And A New Twin-Turbo Engine

This won’t be a regular all-wheel drive system either; BMW is going to use the trick M xDrive system that debuted in the M5, complete with a mode that turns off the front driveshafts and lets the beast loose.

Power will come from a new twin-turbo 3.0-liter straight-six engine that’s paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission -instead of the outgoing model’s dual-clutch unit- as confirmed by BMW M’s head of product planning Carsten Pies in an older report.

The new engine, which will make its first appearance in the already revealed X3 M and X4 M SUVs, will come in two flavors: a base version with 473hp (480PS) and a more powerful Competition model with 503hp (510PS).

A Manual For The Purists (?)

We still don’t know if BMW will offer a manual transmission option in these models but not all hope is gone; several reports suggest that the company will introduce a third version of the M3, internally codenamed ‘Pure’, which will sent its power exclusively to the rear axle through a six-speed manual. The M3 ‘Pure’ will be powered by a less powerful, 454hp (460PS) version of the twin-turbo engine, while the chassis will be slightly tweaked to better suit the more focused character of the model. It’s also going to be cheaper than the all-wheel drive versions too.

Flared Fenders Are Still Here

The bodywork of the new M3 will differ from lesser models, with prototypes showcasing their wider fenders, wider air intakes and quad exhaust tips. The chassis will feature model-specific subframes front and rear, bigger brakes, the latest active differential technologies and additional bracing.

The new BMW M3 is expected to be followed by a four-door M4 Gran Coupe, in addition to the two-door M4 variants. Sadly, there’s no indication of BMW giving us a M3 Touring anytime soon, despite some recent reports indicating otherwise. BMW is expected to reveal the new M3 at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, together with the M4 Coupe and Convertible models.

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Image Credits: CarPix, S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for CarScoops

  • TheBelltower

    We’ve broken the 500hp barrier! Will Audi ever go beyond the mid-300hp range with the S4, or are they stuck there forever? A properly sorted RS4 would be fantastic too. The previous RS5 was a lumbering mess.

    • KidRed

      S4 is a 335i/340i competitor and has no reason to go to 500hp.

      • TheBelltower

        The S4 used to be an M competitor. But they’ve stayed in the mid 300hp range since the early 00’s, which the M3/4 has increased. The RS4/RS5 has been uncompetitive, and not even available consistently in the US.

        • Jonathan

          The S4 “used to be” an M3 competitor only in the US for the short window that we had the same-as-Europe S4 but the US-only M3. When we got the same M3 as everyone else, it wasn’t long before Audi developed the RS4. S4 hasn’t been an M competitor for years.

          • TheBelltower

            Totally agree. In the US, the M3 and S4 were neck-and-neck from the 90s through around 2006. There hasn’t been an RS4 in the US since the 2008 B7 platform. After that, the only Audi that attempted to compete was the RS5. Which wasn’t very successful since it is a coupe. The S4 has become the “V6 Camry” of the Audi lineup.

      • chuck2

        no ace – not quite. An s4 wont be at the limits of tire adhesion and thats allows you point the front end,,,

        try it sometime…


  • Mr. EP9

    So we’ll finally get a proper M3? Took them long enough.

  • GobbleUp

    If it sounds as lame as the current m3, pass.

  • chuck2

    sorry – not buying it.

    can an awd with 60-70 percent rear bias go around a 2-to4 mile 14 turn track faster than an RWD car,? Yes, I will admit it can under the right conditions – it can.

    But someone that knows that same track on a RWD car will kill those lap times if they know what they are doing in less than 20 mins. – (and yes it must be dry).

    point and shoot…

    • Jonathan

      Right conditions? Try ALL conditions. The conditions – and the driver – have to be inch perfect to match the laptime if we’re talking 500 HP and the nannies switched off. RWD driver will likely have more fun, though 😁

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