Next-Gen BMW M3 Won't Be Released Until 2021 Despite Car Being Ready

BMW M president Markus Flasch confirmed that last week's photo leak showed a pre-production model.

willneverstopgoingin/reddit & @imran.evolve/Instagram

For those hoping last week's alleged leak of the next-gen BMW M3 and M4—as well as the latter's enormous kidney grille—were elaborate pranks, we've got bad news for ya. BMW M boss Markus Flasch has now confirmed that what we saw were legitimate pre-production models. Speaking to Australia's Carsales, Flasch also said that the high-performance 3 and 4 Series models are all done and ready but won't officially debut until 2021 after hitting production in late 2020.

"The [M3] pictures didn’t leak on purpose," Flasch said. "I mean, the car's ready. It's a pre-production car that leaked."

willneverstopgoingin/reddit

The BMW M president also backed up previous rumors of the next M3 and M4 gaining all-wheel-drive options as well as retaining the manual transmission. "We haven’t officially confirmed it, but I can tell you we are very likely to offer rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive, manual and automatic for both models," said Flasch.

When The Drive reached out to BMW, a company spokesperson refrained from commenting on the leaks, further adding: "I have not seen any images of the actual car myself and probably will not see the actual car until just prior to the start of communications sometime next year."

The 2021 BMW M3 and M4 are expected to use the same 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six found in the X3 and X4 M. In the crossovers, that engine makes 473 horsepower to start with and 503 hp in Competition guise, which largely lines up with the power figures provided by an alleged spec sheet leak from earlier in the year. According to that rumor, the cars will come as a 475-hp AWD "Base" model, a 500-hp AWD Competition model, and as a "Pure" variant featuring rear-wheel drive, a clutch pedal, and at least 444 ponies.