While an all-new BMW 3 Series is slated for a 2019 reveal, it seems like the world won't have to wait much longer for the M3. For the first time ever, our spies have caught the next-generation of the high-performance sedan out in public, albeit wearing heavy camouflage.
At the moment, only the rear can be seen but they report that it delivers a 'great sound'. That said, the view from the back reveals a spoiler lip on the trunk and the now signature quad exhaust arrangement. They also pointed out that the side skirts are flared outwards, making it distinct from the standard models.
Despite not being able to snap the front end, out spies report noticeable changes from the less sporting 3 Series variants. Compared to the cars previously photographed, this particular car sported wider front fenders. This has been typical of BMW M cars of the past two decades and it appears the next-generation M3 will continue that tradition. Also, expect a host of chassis tweaks to further separate it from the non-M 3 Series.
As for the engine, it will likely be an uprated version of the current twin-turbocharged inline-six engine. At the moment, it is seeing service in both the present M3 and the M4 with horsepower figures ranging from 431 PS (standard M3 and M4) to 500 PS (M4 GTS). The final output may likely fall somewhere in between, from 450 to 470 PS.
Our spies report that a six-speed manual transmission will be retained for the hot sedan with an eight-speed automatic being an option. However, it is yet to be known if it will be rear-wheel drive or if the sixth-generation M3 will follow the footsteps of the all-new M5 which only comes with all-wheel drive with a two-wheel drive mode.