Next M3 lighter, 465bhp New M3 is rear-wheel drive and has a 3.0 turbo straight six BMW’s 2020 M3 will weigh less, be more rigid and have more power than today’s.
The next-generation BMW M3 – due for launch in 2020 – is expected to use an extensively updated version of BMW’s twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine producing around 465bhp. Officials at this month’s Paris motor show, including company boss Harald Krüger, confirmed that a new M3 was under development, although they declined to give details. It is understood, however, that engineers have been set the target of giving the new M3 a power boost over the M3 CS, which produced 454bhp.
It is believed the additional performance is likely to come from the use of a water injection system, like that used by the M4 GTS, to enable reduced cylinder temperatures for more efficient running. The only obstacle to this system being employed is believed to have centred on the issue of effective packaging, but that is now thought to have been overcome.
The additional weight of the water injection system is minimal and unlikely to compromise BMW’s goal of making the car lighter than the 1585kg M3 CS. This is thanks to the savings already made with the basic structure of the new 3 Series, as well as the potential benefits of using carbonfibre parts, including the roof.
Both a four-wheel-drive system, similar to that used on the M5, and any form of electrification are believed to have been vetoed because they would add too much weight, complexity and cost. However, persistent reports suggest that the 2020 M3 could be the final M model to be launched without some form of electrification, which is necessary due to the increasing priority of meeting fleet-average CO2 targets.
There are no further details about the new M3’s potential performance, but the lighter, more powerful car will eclipse the M3 CS’s 0-62mph time of 3.9sec. It will be sold with a choice of six-speed manual gearbox or optional eight-speed automatic, but the auto will enable the better performance figures thanks to a built-in electronic launch control system.
The M3 will also benefit from the increased rigidity offered by its part-aluminium, part-high-strength steel CLAR underpinnings. This is a key reason why BMW is already making class-leading claims about the dynamic abilities of the base 3 Series. The regular car’s wider track and uprated suspension systems should also give engineers the foundations for a dynamically more capable M3.
As well as offering greater performance potential, the stiffer chassis should reduce the amount of vibration transmitted into the car to enhance overall refinement.
It should also allow engineers to adopt softer spring rates to give the M3 a more compliant ride in its most comfortable mode without hampering the car’s overall dynamic ability.
It remains uncertain whether the car will feature an active rear-wheel steering system to enhance agility and boost high-speed stability. Although it is under consideration, the business case for developing the system for the M3 only is believed to be under debate.
KEY OBJECTIVES FOR THE NEW M3 MATT SAUNDERS
With the BMW M3’s two main rivals running 500bhp engines, it’s something of a surprise that M division isn’t looking to oust them on the power front.
The M4 GTS needed water injection to hit that figure, of course, and it looks like the new M3 may benefit from the same. It’ll be interesting to see if such an engine can offer the excitement, both in terms of delivery and noise, of cars such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. Saving some weight in the car will make more of any power improvement that does come, and the firm’s CLAR architecture should certainly allow that.
When it comes to the finer details of the driving experience, meanwhile, BMW’s tuning priorities should be to refine the car’s axle kinematics for a more progressive breakaway into oversteer, for better mid-corner stability, for a slightly quicker steering ratio and for more contact patch feel.
New M3 is likely to be evolutionary in its appearance. New M3 is rear-wheel drive and has a 3.0 turbo straight six.
SPY SHOT BMW M3