BMW M3: next-gen performance sedan spied

The fifth-generation BMW M3 has been caught testing in Germany wearing only light camouflage.
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With most of its squiggle war paint now removed, the all-new – and now exclusively four-door – BMW M3 can be seen in almost all its glory.

At the front, narrow headlights, a new double-bar kidney grille, deep air intakes and a power dome-equipped bonnet are all shared with the recently spied two-door M3 replacement, the BMW M4.

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Despite the M3's bonnet bulge, front fender vents, side skirts, rear bumper and roof – likely a carbonfibre item – remaining camouflaged, the high-performance sedan's large wheels and brakes, wide front and rear guards and classic 'M' quad exhaust are clearly visible. From the rear, we can also see new LED tail-lights.

The M3's larger glasshouse, more upright rear window and thicker C-pillar also blend smoothly into a boot lid that differs from that seen on the back end of the M4 as does a smaller integrated boot-lip spoiler.

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Drawing the current M3’s use of a naturally aspirated 4.0-litre V8 to a close, the new car will be powered by a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing about 335kW – 26kW up on the V8.

Heard in a video teaser earlier this month, the new unit will be used to motivate not only the M3, but also the M4 Coupe and M4 Convertible.

Given BMW M division head of sales operations management Jorg Bartels confirmed exclusively to CarAdvice in June that the upcoming M3 will be lighter than the existing 1605kg sedan, expectation is for a 0-100km/h sprint under 4.9 seconds.

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Bartels also confirmed the M3 will be offered with both manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions saying, “The M3 is the most pure M automobile we have. That won’t change.”

The new BMW M3 is tipped to join the M4 at a twin premiere at the 2014 Detroit auto show in January before reaching local showrooms later that year with the M4 Coupe and Convertible to follow.

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