Reports about BMW offering a stick shift in the next M3 have been going back and forth. However, a few months ago, the performance division’s chief, Markus Flasch, confirmed the return of the manual transmission in the sports sedan, as well as the upcoming M4.
Such a prototype of the new M3 was spied testing at the Nurburgring a few days ago, and between the fast cornering and straight-line accelerations, you can hear the manual gear changes. The transmission will be linked to the 3.0-liter, twin-turbo straight-six found in the new X3 M and X4 M, where it delivers 473 hp in the regular and 503 hp in the Competition models.
We expect similar outputs in the 2020 M3 as well, which should be able to accelerate to 60 mph (96 km/h) from a standstill in under 4 seconds. The top speed of the car will be dictated by the selected options and will likely raise to 177 mph (284 km/h) when choosing the M Driver’s Package. Power will be delivered to the rear-biased all-wheel drive system, a setup similar to the larger M5. An automatic gearbox will be on the list as well, and there have been rumors about a six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive ‘Pure’ variant, yet these have yet to be confirmed.
Now, as far as the sound goes, the new 3.0-liter engine isn’t the most sonorous out there. It surely cannot rival the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 found in the Mercedes-AMG C63 models, nor the 2.9-liter V6 that resides in the facelifted Audi RS4 Avant for that matter. Nonetheless, this is just a prototype, and it may not feature the sports exhaust system, so we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for that.