BMW has revealed that its forthcoming sixth-generation M3 sport sedan will share its engine and drivetrain with the recently announced X3/X4 M compact SUVs -- and come standard with all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission.
The announcement comes from BMW M's product planning boss, Carsten Pries, who spoke to the UK's Evo Magazine. He confirmed that the 2020 BMW M3 will use the same 3.0 L turbocharged straight-six engine (code named S58) as the X3 M and X4 M sport crossovers. This means the latest version of the performance car could boast 480 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque in its standard form, and 510 hp with an optional Competition package. Those figures are a big boost over the current M3's 425 hp (450 hp with the Competition package) and 406 lb-ft.
On paper, the S58 engine would let the M3 properly compete with the Mercedes-AMG C 63 and C 63 S, which boast 469 and 503 hp, respectively, from a turbocharged 4.0 L V8. Another noteworthy target is the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, with its turbo V6 cranking out 505 hp and 443 lb-ft. The new engine would also give the M3 a notable power advantage over the Audi RS 5 which derives 444 hp from a turbo V6.
While the latest M3 will share its engine and transmission with the X3/X4 M utilities, much of the rest of its powertrain and chassis engineering will come from the M5 sedan. Unless BMW surprises us with a future stripped-down CS variant, the outgoing M3 will likely be the last one offered with a manual transmission.
The M3's AWD system will have the same driver-selectable rear-drive mode that will send all engine power to the rear wheels only. The M3 will also borrow the M5's adaptive steering and active damper setups, tailored to the smaller car's lower weight.