The news that the current BMW M3 will go out of production in Europe a lot sooner than anyone expected hit us like a freight train. It’s nonetheless true and it’s mostly due to the stringent environmental laws the EU has been enforcing in the last few years. The S55 engine will be replaced altogether by a new one, known internally as S58 and yes, it will be powering the new G80 M3 which was just spotted on the Nurburgring for the first time, doing hot laps in prototype guise.

From the looks of things we’re in for a wide and low car, as we’ve been getting used to. The tires also look quite generous in width, especially compared to the outgoing model, probably being around 285 or 295 caliber in standard guise. That hints at a higher horsepower and torque figure as it has been rumored for a while now. The new engine will be based on the B58 3-liter straight six mill and will have over 470 PS, according to our German source.

The first car to get the new powerplant will be the new BMW X3 M, followed closely by the X4. A couple of unanswered questions do remain though. Will the new M3 still be available with a manual gearbox? Will it have all-wheel drive? The answer is most likely no to both those questions at the moment.

According to various sources, BMW will keep offering the M3 in RWD guise only but the manual gearbox might be dropped due to low demand compared to the 7-speed DCT unit. However, if the car will come out with all-wheel drive, it will most likely be using the same system as on the new M5 and will therefore drop both the manual and the dual-clutch gearboxes in favor of an 8-speed unit.

At least we now know that the M3 will still be using a 3-liter straight six engine, judging by the sound the car makes in the video below. There was some talk at one point about using a 2-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine in combination with an electric motor for a hybrid setup. It seems like that’s no longer an option. Furthermore, the new M3 will be unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show which means we still have about a year and a half to wait until we get to actually see it in the metal.