This job is tricky, because you sometimes have to make judgments based on very little data. You’d be surprised to hear that engineering sometimes works the same way—they’re called “Scientifically Wild Ass Guesses,” or a Swags. And I’m going to Swag that this random leaked photo on the internet indeed shows the upcoming “G80" BMW M3.
There’s really not much to go on. Motor1 found this photo, which British tuning company Evolve Automotive posted to its Facebook page with the caption “Oh hello G80 M3! What do you think?” Evolve Automotive also posted the pic to its Instagram page with the caption “G80 M3 rear end is looking [emojis of three hands making an “OK” sign and a heart].”
The tuning company told me over Facebook messenger that I could use its image, which was sent its way by someone who apparently wants to remain anonymous. Evolve Automotive refused to elaborate on the photo’s origins. “I honestly can’t say. Just say could this be the new g80 m3 to cover yourself,” they said.
I will say that, based on YouTube videos showing BMW assembly lines, I’d say this picture was almost certainly taken at a plant. On top of that, the vehicle shown in the picture does seem to exhibit a number of traits spotted on apparent BMW M3 development vehicles including the quad exhaust and the tiny decklid rear spoiler.
Judging by the first images, this is likely a pre-production car since the dual-twin pipes in the back are smaller in size than normal, and the diffuser is painted in the same color as the body. This might also be a Competition model since it comes with a more aggressive rear spoiler.
Boeriu also notes that these wouldn’t be the first leaked shots of the car. In April, his website published images showing an apparent “G80" M3 in a similar environment as the one shown above. BMW Blog mentions that the new M3 is expected to offer rear-drive and all-wheel drive variants, and that the engine will be the same S58 turbo inline-six found in the new BMW X3 M and X4 M. So it should crank out around 473 horsepower, with a competition model making roughly 503 ponies. BMW confirmed all of this to CAR Magazine back in August.
I think it looks fine. The colored diffuser looks a bit odd in that photo, but for the most part, it’s about what I expected the car to look like. Nothing crazy.