The upcoming 2020 BMW M3, the first all-new iteration of the company's iconic sports sedan in over half a decade, has been the subject of many a rumor. But just as the regular G20 3 Series proved a welcome return to form, the latest batch of leaked details suggest the new M3 will do right by the company's ultimate driving heritage with 444 horsepower, rear-wheel drive, and a manual transmission on the entry-level model.
The preliminary specs come courtesy of an unnamed BMW insider, who tossed them out like so many breadcrumbs on a bimmerpost.com forum. The 2020 BMW M3, model code G80, will reportedly launch with three distinct trims designated as follows: a "Pure" rear-wheel-drive, manual transmission model with at least 444 horsepower; a "Base" all-wheel-drive version with an automatic and at least 475 hp; and an automatic "Competition" model pushing 500 hp through all four wheels.
Obviously, that Pure model has our attention. The insider notes it will also rock staggered 18- and 19-inch wheels front to back and come standard with a lockable M-Sport rear differential, adaptive suspension, M-Sport seats, and BMW's fancy "Live Cockpit Professional" infotainment and digital gauge cluster system seen on the new X5 and 8 Series. For those side-eyeing the engine specs, 444 horsepower is plenty to take advantage of the new chassis, especially considering it will be flowing entirely through the rear wheels.
So will three pedals be available on every trim, or with all-wheel-drive? It's not clear at this time. The insider could neither confirm nor deny the possibility of further powertrain combinations except for one certain disappointment: the top-flight Competition trim will only come with an automatic and xDrive. It's speculated that's in part because BMW doesn't have a manual transmission factory-rated for 500 hp.
Reading between the lines, it seems clear the super sedan won't come with some sort of snappy dual-clutch setup, either, just a regular eight-speed automatic. Thankfully, the xDrive system should retain the RWD-only mode seen in the BMW M5.
Regardless, every 2020 BMW M3 will run with a version of the automaker's new S58 3.0-liter straight-six engine, which has been rumored to utilize either water-injection or a mild hybrid setup to boost power gains even further. The entire options list for the regular 3 Series will also make its way over to every trim of the M3; reportedly, the only thing you won't be able to tack onto that Pure model are the Competition's carbon ceramic brakes and Merino leather.
Some of this has been previously reported or speculated, but this is the firmest look yet at BMW's plans for the 2020 M3. Look for more specifics to come out before production begins near the end of the year.