Less equipment for more money is hardly a new concept in the car industry. Numerous lightweight specials over the years have been sold at a premium, and the genre has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, too, with manufacturers realizing that a market exists for simpler, more analog cars at a time of radical technological advance: see Porsche 911 R, Aston Vantage V 12 S manual, Audi R8 RWS and so on (the latter not even more expensive, granted).
One manufacturer yet to embrace the trend is BMW, with M cars now heavier and more complex than they’ve ever been. Even M2 Competition, one of the best in the latest history, is heavier than the standard M2 because of its fresh engine. However, that may all be about to change with the next generation of M3.
If Car is usually to be believed, there will be a ‘Pure’ version of the upcoming car, available exclusively with a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive, while the regular model gets all-wheel travel and an automatic transmission as standard. While that might seem a wee bit cynical, it might also become the best way of preserving right-drive and the fast-fading prospect of the third pedal.
Think from the 911R argument: if options like the single-mass flywheel, manual gearbox, titanium exhaust, and 500hp GT3 engine were quietly introduced to the Carrera choices list, they might possess received quite the same attention as a bespoke, stripey, homage-happy model. Manual M3s have got not really been popular with brand-new buyers ever since any kind of automatic offers been obtainable – look at how many SMG E 46s are still around – therefore the logic of combining the option with a designated trim level makes sense.
The early intel also suggests that the Pure M3 and M4 will possess less power than the flagship version — 460hp against 480hp – and probably reduced torque as well because BMW doesn’t have a manual that can handle even more than 480lb ft. The 3. 0-liter straight six will become bolstered with water injection such as the Yards 4 GTS and renamed because ‘S58’, said to end up being the most sophisticated inline 6 BMW has ever made.
The regular M3 is definitely thought to inherit a version in the M xDrive all-wheel get from the M5, along with an eight-speed auto replacing the DCT — BMW having hinted previously at automatics taking the place once occupied by dual-clutches. Expect acceleration and lap times to improve with the additional ratio and traction, with the Pure – or whatever its production name is usually – there to cater for those who feel the M3 is definitely all getting a bit much.
The following generation of M3 and M4 can be due in Frankfurt in September, BMW naturally using its home show to make the big reveal. Naturally all, of this can be informed conjecture intended for now, though rumours of any rear-drive only, manual-only M3 ought to appease those who experience AS BMW HYBRID have got abandoned their illustrious heritage to some extent. With a dedicated model, they might even put the effort into making the manual nicer to use – let’s wait and observe. And hope. More news no doubt pursuing soon!