The current 3 Series BMW is a brilliant car, with the 335i model sitting at the top of the range, the new M3 has been missing from the stable for quite sometime. But after months of speculation and numerous spy images, BMW showed off the M3 Concept during BMW’s conference at the Geneva Motor Show. BMW says that this will look very much like the final production version and the car is set to go into production in the next few months.
Despite what you might think about the M3s genetics, it only shares the basic vehicle structure, lights, doors and boot lid with its donor 3-series coupe. Apart from that, every body panel has been redesigned from the ground up, with unique elements such as the carbon-fiber roof, aluminum bonnet and power-bulge, trademark M-style side vents, sporty side-skirts and newly designed M-style exterior mirrors.
Furthermore, to make the car stand out as much as it can, the front fenders have been widened by up to 0.8 inches over the coupe and the M3 rides on 19in light-weight alloys that weigh just 8kg each. The rear of the car features the classic quad tailpipe design as well as a discrete boot lid spoiler.
In terms of power, we are still not 100% sure, but what we are sure of is that there is no longer a six-cylinder inline engine in the new M3. Yes the M3 will be a V8. So all the Ford & Holden boys who were being embarrased by the current generation M3s, will at least have some point of contention.
The new M3 will be powered by a high-revving 4.0L V8 engine developing up to 420hp with 295lb-ft of torque. Power is going out via the rear wheels matched up to a six-speed manual or a (and here is the big rumor) dual-clutch DSG style gearbox that will replace the current car’s SMG transmission.
Given its an M car, the new powerplant has been made via as a result of the work done in the M5s high-output 5.0L V10 and so the V8 is will quite possibly share the V10’s oversquare cylinders that are banked at 90 degrees. Light weight forged internals will allow the motor to rev to at least 8000rpm, and when combined with BMW’s third-generation Bi-VANOS variable valve control, should provide a wide power band starting low in the rev range.
To be honest, the M3 is very much an underrated car, mainly because despite all that power and technology, its still just a 3 Series BMW to the majority of drivers. Nonetheless, its by no means slow, with a 0-100km/hr dash in 4.4 seconds, and a top speed (electronically limited) of 260km/hr.
I wouldn't expect to see the M3 in Australia till early next year, but you never know it might just make it as Christmas present!