Spied: Next-gen BMW M3 hits the Ring

The new BMW M3 will boast up to 480 horsepower.

With its all-new 3 Series officially launched, BMW is turning its attention to the next-generation M3. Work is clearly on its way, with the all-new M3 making its first appearance at the Nurburgring on Wednesday.

Camouflage still conceals the new M3's final styling, but we at least know about some of the sedan's performance hardware. Power will be provided by a new turbocharged inline-six known internally as the S58. Output is expected to stand at a strong 480 horsepower.

Like the current M3, the all-new model, which is expected to debut at this fall's Frankfurt Motor Show, will come standard with rear-wheel drive. However, the sedan will also offer, for the first time, an optional all-wheel drive system. The M3 will use the same basic all-wheel drive system used in the latest M5, meaning it'll have the ability to be switched to two-wheel drive.

Interestingly, our sources say BMW is planning a stripped-out, back-to-basics version of the M3 for the new model year. Horsepower will be reduced to 460 for that model, which will be called M3 Pure, but a lighter curb weight will more than balance that out. It's possible the Pure model will be available exclusively with a manual transmission.

In addition to powertrain and weight improvements, BMW is also planning to address the M3's aerodynamics. BMW engineers are said to be working on a more targeted distribution of downforce, which should help both handling and fuel economy.

Look for the all-new M3 to arrive in dealer showrooms sometime next year.

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