Demand for the drivetrain warranted its inclusion
On course to arrive in 2021, the Head of BMW’s M division has divulged more details of the incoming M3, confirming that only rear-wheel-drive models will have a manual transmission.
Despite having already made the announcement back in July that both manual and automatic transmission will be offered, Markus Flasch revealed to US publication Road & Track at the recent Los Angeles International Auto Show that the relative power output “will be a challenge” to put down, but added that demand for the drivetrain warranted its inclusion.
In its most basic form, the M3 will deliver 353 kW from the same 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six S58 motor used in the X3 and X4 M, while the Competition will produce 375 kW with torque for both being capped at 600 Nm. Whereas the manual will reportedly carry the ‘Pure’ designation, the rest of the line-up will eschew the seven-speed M DCT gearbox for the torque converter eight-speed Steptronic ‘box, with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system likely to be optional on the M3 and standard on the Competition.
“We have the technical chance to [make an AWD M3] with the foundations that we laid with the M5. We figured ‘Why not offer it?’ There’s no reason for changing a winning system and pretty much carrying over what we know from the M5,” Flasch said.
An unlikely pairing though is the xDrive system mated to the manual ‘box in spite of Flasch remarking that while such a setup is possible, demand will be low as purists would instead opt for drive being routed to the rear wheels only.
In a surprise confirmation when asked the rumoured CS and CSL models, Flasch stated that more powerful models have not been wiped off of the table just yet, telling the publication that, “we haven’t brought [the engine] to the point of exploding it”. Based on prior claims, the CS could produce of 390 kW and the CSL 405 kW, although neither of these have so far been confirmed outright yet.