Looks like the next M3 will have a noticeably taller grille than its predecessor.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a camouflaged prototype of the new BMW M3 undergoing testing, but this new model spotted on a trailer by our spy photographers looks more representative of the production model as development of the sport sedan has progressed since our last sighting.
On earlier prototypes, the wider fenders didn’t match since they were provisional prototype parts, but now the shape of the fenders is correct, as are the side sills. Elsewhere, this new M3 is also sporting the correct rear bumper for the first time, giving us a better idea what the production version of the new M3 will look like.
Rumors suggest the new M3 and M4 will share the same front end with larger and taller kidney grilles. This appears to be true in this latest prototype, as a closer inspection reveals the kidney grille extends into the front bumper, which would represent a radical departure from the regular 3 Series.
The next-generation BMW M3 is expected to break cover at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show in September, but it isn’t clear if it will be shown as a production model or a concept. A recent report claimed that production of the new M3 isn’t expected to start until 2020 before sales start in the second half of the year. If true, it seems more likely that we’ll see a concept debut at Frankfurt and the production model at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show in March next year.
When it does arrive, the new BMW M3 will pack the same S58 3-liter straight six engine as the X3 M and X3 M Competition models with three levels of power. A purist-pleasing "Pure” version of the M3 will reportedly be offered with a manual transmission, rear-wheel drive, and an output of 444 horsepower to match the outgoing M3 Competition, while a "base version” will allegedly increase output to 475 hp. This version is expected to be only available with an automatic transmission and AWD. The range-topping Competition model, on the other hand, may well come with 500 hp on tap and only be available with an automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels.