New 2020 BMW M3 leaked ahead of official launch

Leaked images of the new BMW M3 performance saloon have surfaced online, hours before the car’s unveiling

Images of the sixth-generation BMW M3 have been leaked online ahead of the model’s intended launch event tonight. The pictures reveal the car’s styling in full – confirming that BMW will apply the M4’s enormous kidney grilles and front bumper design to its latest compact performance saloon.

The new M3 is expected to undergo a comprehensive mechanical overhaul, making the shift from rear-wheel to all-wheel drive for the first time. BMW will also ditch the old M3’s engine in favour of the turbocharged straight-six unit currently found in the X3 M and X4 M SUVs.

The new BMW M3 will face-off against a strong roster of compact, performance-focussed saloons and estates when it reaches the UK market, taking on the likes of the Mercedes-AMG C 63, Audi RS 4 Avant and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrofoglio. Here’s what we know so far.

New 2020 BMW M3: design and interior

These leaked official images show that BMW will fit a suite of cosmetic tweaks to mark the M3 out from the standard 3 Series. The most obvious change is the adoption of the M4’s front bumper and radiator grille – but look closer and you’ll find a widened track, flared wheel arches, a small boot lid spoiler, lower side skirts and a quad-tipped exhaust system.

BMW’s changes in the cabin will be equally radical, with the firm implementing its latest dashboard and centre console layout. The basic blueprint is lifted from the new 3 Series and focuses on reducing the interior’s button count, with most of the car’s functions now being controlled by a fresh iDrive 7.0 infotainment system.

In addition, buyers will get a range M-specific interior tweaks such carbon fibre dashboard trim, carbon-backed sports seats and an M-branded steering wheel, complete with the brand’s trademark “M” mode drive selector button.

New 2020 BMW M3: engine and drivetrain

The next-generation BMW M3 will be powered by the M-division’s latest twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine. The unit has a redline of 7,200rpm and is codenamed S58; it made its debut in the X3 M and X4 M performance SUVs.

As with those cars, the engine will be offered in two states of tune for European customers. Entry-level models will develop 480bhp, while the Competition flagship will produce 510bhp. However, as with the rest of BMW’s performance line-up, we expect UK customers will be offered the most potent variant, with prices starting at around £65,000.

BMW will fit the M3 with a selectable four-wheel-drive system, similar in design to the system found on the new M5. This allows the driver to direct all of the engine’s power to the rear wheels. The setup is offered to compete with rivals such as the Mercedes-AMG C 63 and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrofoglio, both of which are exclusively rear-wheel drive.

New 2020 BMW M3: chassis and suspension

The latest M3 should also be lighter and more agile than the previous-generation model thanks to the adoption of BMW’s new CLAR platform. BMW’s M division chief, Carsten Piers, told Auto Express: “We are aware there is a large fanbase for M cars around the world and we will do all we can to excite them and everything we can do not to disappoint them.”

The M3’s chassis is likely to be fitted with adaptive dampers, stiffer bushings and more track-focused anti-roll bars. The brakes fitted to this leaked model also look beefier than the standard 3 Series’s, while the snowflake alloy wheels will be exclusive to the M3.

Click here to see leaked images of the new BMW M4...

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