The BMW M3 is a phenomenon for petrol heads. It’s the type of car people have a vested interest in even if they never have and never will actually own one. The last V8 BMW M3 went out of production last October. The first batch of test mules for the next generation M3 have been spotted and snapped around the world. Just as many rumours about its propulsion and underpinnings have started circulating the web as well.
This is what we know so far: BMW will show off the first concept M3 at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show before finally being revealed in production trim at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The fifth generation M3 will be the first force-fed M3 and will have a turbocharged, 6-cylinder engine… say goodbye 4.4-litre V8. The concept car, although based on the F30 3-Series, will be code named the F80 and will only come as a sedan and not a coupe. The F80 sedan will not be available with a manual gearbox. The new sedan should reach South Africa by 2014.
Now these are things the rumour mill is churning up: BMW might be making the move to a model called the M4, making the M4 effectively the new M3 Coupe. The turbocharged, 6-cylinder engine might have triple turbo M Power. The power output estimate for the M3 is expected to be around 335 kW and 650 Nm. The engine could have a displacement of 3.3-litres and isn’t an updated version of the N54/N55 found in the current F30 3-Series.
Of course rear-wheel drive will be a given for a BMW M3, as will a clever rear differential, but the lack of clarity over the gearbox still remains. We can understand and forgive the seven speed M-DCT dual-clutch transmission for the more sedate, everyday F80 sedan, but we genuinely hope a manual gearbox remains for the M4 or M3 Coupe, whatever they want to call it. We look forward to more BMW M3 information as it surfaces.