The current-generation F80 BMW M3 isn’t even dead yet and fans are already wondering what it will be like. It’s actually an interesting subject, as there are a few ways that it can go, several rumors about powertrains and drivetrains, and we don’t have any official info on the upcoming M3 at all. The only things we do know about the next-gen BMW M3 are that it will be based on the upcoming G20 3 Series chassis, albeit heavily modified for M duty, and that it will be more powerful than the outgoing car. BMW enthusiasts are naturally curious about the upcoming M3, so when we saw spy photos of it we had to share. (We don’t own them but they can be seen here)

In these new spy photos, we can very clearly see that this is an M3 doing some winter testing. The M3 Competition Package wheels, massive front air intakes and quad exhausts are all dead giveaways to the brand’s most famous M model. Aside from that, though, there’s really not much else to make out from this test mule. It’s heavily wrapped in camouflage and most of the important details are hidden. However, there is one curious bit about this test mule and it’s the ride height.

A BMW M3 is typically quite a bit lower than the standard 3 Series but this car seems to sit a bit tall. Now, that might just be for testing purposes and that BMW doens’t have the new M3’s suspension developed yet, so it could be riding on regular 3er suspension. Although, there have been rumors that BMW might offer its M-tuned xDrive all-wheel drive setup on the new M3 and this slightly higher ride height might indicate that. Or it’s nothing. We won’t know for awhile.

G20 BMW 3 Series

The biggest question fans seem to have about the upcoming BMW M3 is about its powertrain. What will drive the next-gen M3? We’ve heard that it could be a version of the current S55 3.0 liter inline-six engine with water-injection from the BMW M4 GTS. That could help it make about 500 hp. However, we’ve also heard that it could use some sort of MHEV (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle) setup, which would essentially add a small electric turbocharger to work in-joint with the traditional turbocharger(s), powered by a 48-volt electrical system.

To be honest, I hope it’s the latter. The current S55 engine is a bit dull and lacks character, despite being boasting incredible performance, and adding water-injection seems like an unnecessarily complicated way to make that sort of power. Plus, no M3 has ever carried over the previous-generation’s engine and I feel like that would just be lazy. Personally, I’d like to see BMW develop a brand-new inline-six engine much like Mercedes-Benz recently did. Something that high-tech, completely belt-less and with a 48-volt electrical system. That would allow BMW M to easily make 500 hp without something as absurd as water-injection that owners have to fill up every so often.

Either way, we won’t know what BMW is going to do with the next-generation M3. All we can do is look at spy photos like these and speculate.

[Source: CarScoops]