by: Collin Woodard - Motor Trend
We've already seen spy shots of what we believe are new BMW M3 prototypes, and we've heard a few rumors about performance, but so far, BMW has kept most of the official details to itself. But according to a report from Evo, Carsten Pries, the M division's head of product planning, recently spilled some juicy M3 secrets.
Specifically, Evo says Pries confirmed that the next-gen M3 will use the 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six found in the BMW X3 M. And if it's tuned like the X3 M, the regular M3 should make 473 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, while the M3 Competition's power output gets boosted to 503 hp. Expect the M3 to drop its manual transmission altogether and instead get the X3 M's eight-speed dual-clutch.
Assuming this report is accurate, BMW's decision to eliminate the M3's clutch pedal would be a big deal. But in an even more drastic departure from tradition, Evo says the new M3 will get all-wheel drive. Unlike the system found in the X3 M, though, the M3 will reportedly offer the same rear-wheel-drive mode that you find in the larger M5. So even though the system will add weight and complexity, the new M3 should be much quicker in a straight line and still be able to drift.
Supposedly, other tech from the M5 will trickle down, too. That includes an updated version of its electric steering system and its active dampers. The M3 will also likely get a carbon-ceramic brake option not found on the X3 M.
Interestingly, Evo suggests that there's a good chance BMW will eventually offer an M3 CS that comes with a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. Its engine may be tuned to make less torque to preserve the gearbox, but the M3 CS should also be lighter and quicker than the more pedestrian M3 Competition.