GIF: Automotive Mike

We’ve known a bigger and badder 2020 BMW M3 is on the horizon for some time now, and we’ve suspected that it will make use of the M division’s new S58 engine, a punchy 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six which first bowed in the X3 M and X4 M. We also surmised that the new M3 might at least offer AWD as an option. In a conversation with the head of BMW’s M division, Markus Flasch, CAR Magazine has confirmed our suspicions. Which is great.

From the story:

‘The next BMW M3 will have the brand new S58 engine that we’re launching in the X3 M and X4 M,” Flasch told CAR. “It will have 480bhp in the standard version and 510bhp in the Competition version. Drivetrain-wise, think about the M5's all-wheel drive system - we are able to put it in the M3 as well. It’ll be very similar. But we will also do rear-wheel drive cars, purer ones too and a manual stick shift.”

This G80 M3 has been spied testing, and CAR has some pretty great spy photos to prove that the car is very close to production ready. It’s likely that both the M3 sedan and its 2-door M4 sibling will make September’s Frankfurt motor show their debutante ball. This increase in power, and available AWD will bring the M3 up to par with Mercedes-AMG’s C63, and will push it a few steps ahead of the offerings from Audi.

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CAR posits that the lesser M3 models will be RWD alone, while available M xDrive will give the car a toggle switch to engage the front wheels, much like the current M5 does.

Most interesting in this interview is mention of a proposed entry-level M3 and M4 apparently called “pure” with RWD standard, fewer frills, bells, and/or whistles, a lightly detuned engine, and perhaps most importantly a manual transmission.

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BMW is clearly following the Porsche 911 model of performance car development here. Whatever Goldilocks’ choice of M might be, she can surely have it.