BMW is less than nine months away from officially revealing its all-new fifth generation M3 – the first ever to receive a turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine. The F80 M3 will debut, in concept form, at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.
The new M3 is set to receive a heavily reworked 450bhp version of BMW’s familiar turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six ‘N55′ engine, seen most recently in the 640i and soon to be launched in the M135i. The new unit will also receive the latest incarnation of BMWs bi-vanos variable valve timing.
The new unit will replace the 4.0-liter V8 that resides in the outgoing model.
The new M3 engine will be allied to a standard seven- speed dual-clutch gearbox. It’s essentially the same unit used in the M5, albeit with altered ratios. As has become tradition, drive will be sent to the rear wheels via an electronically controlled variable M differential offering 100 per cent lock up.
The car will continue to be characterized by a short front overhang, muscular fenders, and a purposeful stance. The head- and taillamps will be updated with more contemporary elements, and the LED daytime running lights (a.k.a. “angel eyes”) will adopt the current BMW cue of being flat on the top and bottom.
The M3 will feature a series of functional but visually subdued styling changes over the standard 3-series saloon. These will include deeper front bumper with large cooling duct: for its new forced induction engine, a lightly altered kidney grille, unique exterior mirrors wider sills, a subtle boot lip spoiler, BMW M’s traditional quad exhausts and a new deeper rear bumper that incorporates a fully functioning diffuser which more efficiently cools the rear differential.
Plans for a four-wheel-drive version of the new car were considered but eventually rejected.
The new generation also sees the introduction of the M4 Coupe and convertible which are essentially re-badged versions of the M3 bodystyles. It is part of BMW’s new naming strategy that will also see the introduction of the 2-series and M2.
The 2014 BMW M3, production version, will debut in September 2013 at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
In UK the upcoming M3 will hit the market somewhere in February 2014 at a starting price of £55,000