BMW confirms 480 horsepower, available AWD for next M3

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The next iteration of the BMW M3 and M4 will be powered by the same water-injected, twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine (codenamed S58) that will appear in the M versions of the X3 and X4 SUVs. That’s according to an interview published in the UK’s Car magazine with the head of BMW’s M brand, Markus Flasch. He confirmed that as fitted in the standard M3, the new engine will produce 480 horsepower, versus 510 hp in the Competition editions. In case you were wondering, yes, that will make it the most powerful street-legal six-cylinder BMW ever.

The M division’s chief told CAR, “The next BMW M3 will have the brand new S58 engine that we’re launching in the X3 M and X4 M. It will have 480 hp in the standard version and 510 hp in the Competition version.”

That’s slightly more than the 503 hp the S58 is rated at in the Competition versions of the X3 M and X4 M.

BMW M3 badge
BMW

German automakers tend to closely observe and imitate the strategies of their compatriot car companies, and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG unit has been using a two-tiered horsepower engine strategy in their V-8-powered “63” badged vehicles. The AMG C63 comes with 469 hp, vs 503 hp in the C63 S.

Flasch also said that the next M3 will offer a similar “on-demand” all-wheel drive system to that used on the current M5, but that the Bavarian automaker will also make “purer” versions of the M3 with only rear-wheel drive. For the row-your-own crowd, Flasch confirmed that the new M3 will also offer a manual transmission, to the approval of many BMW purists out there.

The folks at CAR speculate that the manual transmission may not be available in the higher performance Competition versions. CAR says that BMW’s six-speed manual is torque-limited to 480 lb-ft and that the more powerful 510 hp version of the S58 will likely exceed that figure.

No matter how it shakes out, the M3 promises to be a riot. The M340i is on its own a pretty darn entertaining and capable track machine, so cranking the needle on that car promises a sport sedan with some serious chops.

BMW M3 front 3/4
BMW M3 BMW
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