The next-generation BMW M3 – due for launch in 2020 – is expected to use an extensively updated version of BMW’s twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine, producing around 500bhp.
Officials at the 2018 Paris motor show, including company boss Harald Krüger, confirmed that a new M3 was under development, although they declined to give details. It is understood, however, that engineers have been set the target of giving the new M3 a power boost over the M3 CS, which produced 454bhp.
It is believed the additional performance is likely to come from the use of a water injection system, like that used by the M4 GTS, to enable reduced cylinder temperatures for more efficient running. The only obstacle to this system being employed is believed to have centred on the issue of effective packaging, but that is now thought to have been overcome.
The additional weight of the water injection system is minimal and unlikely to compromise BMW’s goal of making the car lighter than the 1585kg M3 CS. This is thanks to the savings already made with the basic structure of the new 3 Series, as well as the potential benefits of using carbonfibre parts, including the roof.
Use of a four-wheel-drive system, similar to that used on the M5, and any form of electrification are believed to have been vetoed because they would add too much weight, complexity and cost. However, persistent reports suggest that the 2020 M3 could be the final M model to be launched without some form of electrification, which is necessary due to the increasing priority of meeting fleet-average CO2 targets.