2020 BMW M3 to retain turbo-six, manual gearbox

The next-generation BMW M3 is starting to take shape.

New details have emerged regarding BMW's next-generation M3 super saloon. BMW is expected to unveil its new M3 at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The new M3 will jump to BMW's CLAR modular architecture, which currently underpins the 5 Series and the 7 Series sedans. Although the new M3 will be larger than today's model, the CLAR-based sedan will actually be lighter thanks to a greater mix of aluminum and high-strength steel in its construction. The new M3 will also feature a few carbon fiber bits to help keep weight in check. BMW is reportedly targeting a curb weight of no more than 3,500 pounds.

While rumors have been swirling that the next M3 might employ a hybrid drivetrain, Autocar reports that the sedan will instead use an evolution of today's turbocharged 3.0L inline-six engine. However, power is expected to increase from 425 horsepower to around 470 horsepower.

BMW engineers had been weighing an all-wheel drive system for the new M3 based on the system in the latest M5, but that idea has been scrapped due to weight and cost concerns. The new M3 will stick to its traditional rear-wheel drive layout.

Although it was believed that the next M3 would be offered exclusively with BMW's eight-speed auto, insiders say the car's six-speed manual will be making a return. However, take that reporting with a grain of salt as the take rate for the M3's manual gearbox has been extremely low over the last few years.

As with BMW's currently lineup, the M3 sedan will serve as the basis for the next M4 coupe and convertible. BMW might also extend the full-blown M treatment to the 4 Series Grand Coupe for the first time. Those models, along with the new M3, are expected to hit showrooms sometime in 2020.

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