by Brett Davis

BMW has been spotted once again testing a prototype of the next-generation BMW M3 sedan. This time the prototype was spotted testing on public streets.

Although the M3 is a focused performance car, it is renowned for its split personality, capable of performing on the track as well as a luxury vehicle on the road. BMW M is seen here analysing the new model on German streets to ensure that side of it is up to scratch.

As these revealing spy shots show, the new M3 will feature all the telltale cues of its heritage. There are bulged wheel arches front and back for not only a muscular look, but also to accommodate a wider track and an uprated tyre and wheel package over the normal 3 Series.

Behind the wheels sits a high-performance cross-drilled braking package, while we can also expect vast revisions to the suspension components underneath, including geometry changes to caster and camber for optimum handling compared with the normal 3 Series.

Although this test car doesn’t seem to feature it, the production version is likely to have a discreet rear lip spoiler mounted on the boot lid, as well as the trademark quad-outlet exhaust pipes.

As for the engine hardware, BMW M is doing a good job of keeping details under tight wraps. A prototype has been heard testing on the Nurburgring in western Germany, barking out a definitive six-cylinder engine note. A six-cylinder unit is said to be the choice for the next flagship 3 Series as BMW keeps on top of ever-tightening emissions laws.

A patent application has been found outlining details of a new turbocharged V6 engine, however, this does not necessarily mean M Division will be applying the layout to the production version. A revised variant of the BMW 1 M 3.0-litre TwinPower straight six engine is a likely candidate.

One thing we can be sure of: the next M3 won’t feature a V8 unit like the current model. We’ll have to wait and see for further details.

The next-gen M3 is expected to be unveiled in 2013, with a concept possibly heading to an international motor show later in 2012.

  • Devil’s Advocate

    The sad thing is that there are also rumours that it is going to be a V6. I seriously hope that doesn’t come true…

  • Tom


    If they use a V6 in the M3 I am going to cry.

    • Sydlocal

      I fully agree. I have yet to experience a V6 that is as smooth or make as good a noise as a straight 6 in full song. People only have to youtube the M3 CSL to hear why.
      Sure, a V6 may have an advantage of more compact packaging, but that is about it.

      • Phil

        Try listening to a Alfa Romeo GTV V6 or VW R32 V6, then go compare it to the flat monotone of a EF Falcon straight 6 or a Toyota Crown straight 6 and tell me which of those particular configurations has a better sound…

  • Rubes

    I read somewhere that the V6 would be a diesel option for the X5M and X6M platform somewhere in the future. With turbocharging of course.

  • David

    I am not worried at all fellas.  All M3’s to date have been special cars and engineering masterpieces.  I am sure BMW M will not let us down this time either!

  • AndyGF

    Im pretty sure the I6 is back too, considering what awesome cars the 1M and 135 are, the new M3 is going to school ‘everyone’ all over again in the art of the super saloon…

  • Declan Collins

    Please keep the I6 – this engine defines a BMW; smooth, powerful and refined.

  • Devil’s Advoacte

    The rumors I have heard is that it will be a 90deg V6 (not the most balanced) that is basically the V8 in the M5 with 2 cyls lopped off it. This means that it will be a compromised design for a V6 (bank angle needs to be 60deg for best primary balance) and therefore has no hope of matching the smoothness/refinement of their I6. Sure it will be a typical “M” car that will display their engineering brilliance, however I believe it will lose some of the “character” that makes “M” cars so special. Just look at what the turbos did to the M5…