New M3 gets beemered up into speedier time and grippy space
Big changes are coming for the next generation BMW M3, including all-wheel drive writes Michael Taylor
The next BMW M3 will take a leaf out of the M5’s book, slashing sprint times with all-wheel drive and bringing water injection out of the margins and into the mainstream.
With the G20 full-generation change of the 3 Series due in 2020, M is already cramming its version full of body stiffening, extra power and more grip, sources insist.
It will retain the 3.0l, twin-turbo, in-line six-cylinder powertrain, but will ditch the dual-clutch transmission for an eight-speed automatic unit.
Critical to its straight-line sprints, it will offer rear and all-wheel drive, with a rear-biased torque delivery it hopes will help to retain the vehicle’s traditional rear-drive feel.
It’s going to need all of that grip to channel the engine’s rumoured 368kW (a neat 500 horsepower) and 600Nm of torque as it carries over most of the M4 GTS’s powerplant, though with more production-friendly engineering.
The water-injection system was first trialled in the M4 and has been deployed in the MotoGP safety car for years now. Water is sprayed into the inlet manifold to cool it down, and such is the cylinder heat that it then evaporates before combustion begins. This reduces the chances of "knocking" or pre-igniting, which allows M to raise the turbo boost safely.
The G20 M3 will use a direct water-injection system, upgrading the indirect, multipoint injection system used in the GTS, and its compression ratio will jump to close to an unheard of 11:1.
While there’s no word on mild-hybrid power, it seems likely to join the powertrain in some form, because the G20 M3 and M4 will already have a 48V electrical system to enhance the speed of the two turbochargers, adding boost and shrinking throttle response times.
The powertrain will be transferred to other existing M models in time when BMW replaces the G22 4 Series coupe and the G23 4 Series convertible.
And in case you are wondering, the odd one out of the next 3 and 4 Series models will be the next generation of the Gran Coupe, which will be delivered as an all-electric car.
• Motor News will be driving the new all-wheel-drive BMW M5 this week so be sure to read our first impression in next week’s issue.