Currently reading: 2020 BMW M3 to share radical front end with new M4
Next-gen M3 will make a dramatic departure from the design of the standard 3 Series
News
4 mins read
8 July 2020

The next-generation BMW M3 – due for launch in September – has been snapped with minimal disguise, confirming at last that it will wear the same vertically oriented front grille as its M4 sibling.

The performance saloon has been spotted many times before - and we've driven it in prototype form - but it has always shielded its nose from view. Speaking at the unveiling of the standard 4 Series, BMW design chief Domagoj Dukec said the "polarising" design will become a "brand shaper" but implied it would not make its way to the M3. He said: "The 3 Series has a very horizontal one because it’s a more rational, serious car. A coupé like the 4 Series should express the exotic part of BMW.”

First drive: 2020 BMW M3 prototype

Now, though, it appears the brand will strengthen the link between the two mechanically identical performance cars with shared design elements. Apart from the front end, the M3 looks to retain the overall profile of the standard 3 Series, while gaining performance-oriented styling tweaks such as widened wheel arches, a subtle rear spoiler and four large exhaust pipes. A leaked image of the rear end previously revealed that it would also feature black plastic trim elements and a downforce-enhancing rear diffuser.

The hotly anticipated performance saloon will use an extensively updated version of BMW’s twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine, producing 473bhp and 443lb ft. 

For the first time on an M3, four-wheel drive will become an option soon after the new car's launch but all forms of electrification are believed to have been vetoed. However, persistent reports suggest that the 2020 M3 could be the final M model to be launched without some form of electrification; something made necessary by the increasing priority of meeting fleet-average CO2 targets.

There are no confirmed details about the new M3’s performance, but the lighter, more powerful car will eclipse the current M3 CS’s 0-62mph time of 3.9sec. It will be sold with a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or an optional eight-speed automatic, but the auto will enable better performance figures thanks to a built-in electronic launch control system. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Read our review

Car review
BMW M3

You’d imagine that a higher roofline and four doors would hinder the BMW M3 saloon’s capabilities compared to the M4, but you'd be wrong

Back to top

The M3 will also benefit from the increased rigidity offered by its part-aluminium, part-high-strength steel CLAR underpinnings. This is a key reason behind BMW already making class-leading claims about the dynamic abilities of the base 3 Series. The regular car’s wider track and uprated suspension systems should also give engineers the foundations for a more dynamically capable M3.

As well as offering greater performance potential, the stiffer chassis will reduce the amount of vibration transmitted into the car to enhance overall refinement. It should also allow engineers to adopt softer spring rates to give the M3 a more compliant ride in its most comfortable mode, without hampering the car’s overall dynamic ability. 

Inside, the next M3 will follow in the M5's footsteps by swapping its dash-top infotainment screen for one that’s more tidily integrated into the dashboard. The iDrive system is expected to retain a rotary control knob, which has been praised for its ease of use in current cars. The M3 will also gain significantly more advanced driver assist features, but former BMW sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson has hinted to Autocar that most BMW models will steer clear of the full autonomous hardware suites to be used on i5 and i7 due from 2021. M models, in particular, will still possess a very driver-centric character.

The M3 continues to form the basis for the technically identical M4 coupé, while M-worked 3 Series models will lend their hardware to a two-door M440i M Performance coupé and M440d M Performance coupé. These models are also due to arrive in showrooms in 2020 and are part of a 26-model onslaught of M division-tuned cars that aims to more extensively rival the growing ranges of Mercedes-AMG and Audi Sport.

It remains uncertain whether the car will feature an active rear-wheel steering system to enhance agility and boost high-speed stability. Although it is under consideration, the business case for developing the system for the M3 only is believed to be under debate.

The car, now testing on public roads in development form and due to go on sale in 2020, would inherit its active steering technology from the 5 Series and 7 Series. If the hardware does make the cut and is fitted to the super-saloon, the M3 would be the only car in the upcoming 3 Series range to feature it.

Back to top

Join the debate

Comments
42

19 December 2017

That's the question that M3 owners (and M4) that were previously burnt by BMW will be asking.

 

From BimmerBoost:

BMW ignores the F80 M3 & F82 M4 S55 engine crank hub issue and is it the worst BMW M3 production engine defect of all time?

Owners change bearings as preventative maintenance but if you are out of the warranty period it almost feels like a ticking time bomb. BMW does not care and just wants cars out of the warranty period as quickly as possible so they can wash their hands of any issue.

BMW has its flaws and its marketed image versus the reality (and reliability) of its products are vastly different things. They will chase profit over proper design.

 

19 December 2017

All the German manufacturers seem to have proritised Soft palstics, conectivity and "infotainnment" over actual substance to keep the price down.

Alfa are far more reliable than their reputation suggests and its a better drivers car, with harder plastics, so if I was able to by a "super Saloon", I'd go for the Alfa

29 January 2019
Richard H wrote:

All the German manufacturers seem to have proritised Soft palstics, conectivity and "infotainnment" over actual substance to keep the price down.

This quote! I couldnt agree more! and the iphone generation are just lapping it up

19 December 2017

.... as your anti-BMW post following a BMW M series article

19 December 2017
xxxx wrote:

.... as your anti-BMW post following a BMW M series article

Do you seek the truth?   If so, then do your own searches.   Do your own research.   Go and find out for yourself.

 

30 November 2018
Symanski wrote:

xxxx wrote:

.... as your anti-BMW post following a BMW M series article

Do you seek the truth?   If so, then do your own searches.   Do your own research.   Go and find out for yourself.

 

 

I hate to rain on your little anti BMW parade, but faults are not exclusive to BMW. They can and do happen to every brand.

Grow up and give it a rest already.

19 December 2017

My 140i has covered 27000 miles and unfortunatly I have had to put 1/2 cup of water into the cooling system, when I bought my 1300 Meastro I had to put a bucket full in every day.Get Real.

19 December 2017
Gojohnygo wrote:

My 140i has covered 27000 miles and unfortunatly I have had to put 1/2 cup of water into the cooling system, when I bought my 1300 Meastro I had to put a bucket full in every day.Get Real.

 

You have B58 engine.    Quickest of searches and here's what you find:

 

The upper crankshaft guide bearing may wear out prematurely. The wear on the upper guide bearing can cause the clutch pedal to malfunction during shifting. The Engine Malfunction warning may be illuminated and a fault will be stored in the DME memory for the crankshaft sensor. Noise may be heard from the lower engine and transmission bell housing area. If the crankshaft guide bearing or crankshaft is found damaged during the inspection then the engine must be replaced.

 

(Read that back to yourself - cranshaft guide bearing wearing out requiring a new engine!).

 

30 November 2018

 Correct if I’m wrong, but this is old News, I never had one bit of bother with my 04’ plate one, ran sweet as a Nut.

22 October 2019
Symanski wrote:

That's the question that M3 owners (and M4) that were previously burnt by BMW will be asking.

 

From BimmerBoost:

BMW ignores the F80 M3 & F82 M4 S55 engine crank hub issue and is it the worst BMW M3 production engine defect of all time?

Owners change bearings as preventative maintenance but if you are out of the warranty period it almost feels like a ticking time bomb. BMW does not care and just wants cars out of the warranty period as quickly as possible so they can wash their hands of any issue.

BMW has its flaws and its marketed image versus the reality (and reliability) of its products are vastly different things. They will chase profit over proper design.

 

 

Porsche have huge problems with intermediate shaft bearings, Mazda rotary engines fail in large proportions, Vauxhall cam chains are rubbish, K Series head gaskets failed, Nissan Navarra engines were made of chocolate, the list is endless with engine weaknesses over many years and marques.

Can't you just restrict yourself to writing letters to BMW in private with your little tin hat on? Would save boring us to tears on every single BMW thread. Can't you see you're one of those bitter old men?

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week