EXCLUSIVE: G80 BMW M3 will be sDrive with manual option and xDrive

BMW M3, News | November 19th, 2018 by 20
2020 BMW M3 G80 Photoshop 830x553

Last week, we broke some news from one of our sources close to BMW about the upcoming G80-gen M3. We learned that the next-gen BMW …

Last week, we broke some news from one of our sources close to BMW about the upcoming G80-gen M3. We learned that the next-gen BMW M3 would have some sort of all-wheel drive system and will keep the manual gearbox. Though, that’s really all we knew. Now, though, we’ve received a bit of clarification from the same source.

According to our new information, the upcoming G80 BMW M3 will actually come with two different drivetrain options: one sDrive and one xDrive. Previously, we didn’t know if it was going to just be all-wheel drive with a “2WD” mode, like the BMW M5. However, now we’re learning that the new M3 will actually come in two separate flavors. So customers will be able to either buy a BMW M3 sDrive or an M3 xDrive.

Now, we still don’t know if the BMW M3 xDrive will have its own “2WD” mode like the M5. Though, we’re inclined to think not if there’s going to be a rear-wheel drive model. Having said that, the xDrive system in the M3 should be very rear biased, shunting power to the front only out of necessity.

BMW M5 Competition test drive122 830x553

BMW M5’s Selectable xDrive System

This is good news for many enthusiasts, though. It allows the purists to get the BMW M3 with rear-wheel drive as always and never have to worry about switching modes for it. Also, as with the BMW M5, the switchable M-tuned xDrive system only allows rear-wheel drive with all traction and stability controls off, which isn’t exactly safe in all conditions, all the time.

More good news for the purists, the BMW M3 sDrive will be available with either a manual gearbox or an automatic. The M3 xDrive won’t come with a manual and will be automatic only, which is something we suspected, but if you spec your M3 with just two driven wheels, you can get three pedals.

Although, the rear-drive BMW M3 will get less power than the all-wheel drive M3. How much less power, we don’t know. But we know that the all-wheel drive, automatic BMW M3 will have more power than the rear-wheel drive M3, manual or automatic. Though, that power difference does make us think that the xDrive system in the new M3 will not have its own “2WD” mode like the M5.

BMW M340i 2 830x623

BMW M340i xDrive System


At launch, there will also be a BMW M3 Competition, which will be xDrive/automatic-only. That car will likely feature the same sort of upgrades that the M5 Competition gets. So a bit extra power, sharper suspension, less rubber bushings in the subframes and chassis for a more direct feel, a more performance-tuned all-wheel drive system and slightly sharper steering.

So for the first time ever, a BMW M car will have two different drivetrain options, which is actually a really smart move on BMW’s part. This allows buyers who live in parts of the world where winters get rough to actually consider and M3, when they might otherwise want something like an Audi RS4 Avant. It also gives the M3 a poor-weather advantage over its main rival, the Mercedes-AMG C63. We can’t wait to learn more about it and we’ll have updates for you as soon as we get them.

20 responses to “EXCLUSIVE: G80 BMW M3 will be sDrive with manual option and xDrive”

  1. mod9 says:

    Manual xDrive would be nice, not that I am complaining with the F90, but…

  2. Cheslyn Owen says:

    Awesome news, a really smart decision from BMW. This shows that they still care about making a truly driver focused M3 and not just a numbers car like most of the other major car manufactures. Sure the xDrive M3 will still be there to win internet debates, but the real proof is in the driving dynamics of pure sports sedan. And that’s a rwd with a manual transmission. Well done BMW.

  3. anotheran says:

    The purist, track rats, and journalists will get the lighter MT sDrive and the posers will get a heavier AT xDrive to boast about 0-60 times. This is perfect. Compliments to BMW for making such a great financial and market driven decision.

    • Giom says:

      Too right. BMW has a lot of people to keep happy, this is (probably) the only way to do it.

    • Alex says:

      i don’t get your hype dude about m3 manual – it will have less power and upgrade suspension than xdrive and competition model

      • Jonathan says:

        Because the power difference will be minor, but mainly because the RWD lighter car is usually more enjoyable to drive. Not everything comes down to stats.

      • heat_fan1 says:

        Because for some, a manual is better than an automatic, period. I’ll gladly give up a little power to be able to shift myself. The popularity of the 911R and the return of the manual in the 911 GT3 demonstrates the market desire for manual transmissions in some cars.

      • 7enderbender says:

        I get it. I don’t care about more power. I want a fun, upscale car with manual. I refuse to drive anything else. It’s not fun for me. I hate automatic or those stupid wannabe race car pedal shifters. And I don’t want a “competition” model with stuff suspension and beefed up poser plastic parts anyway. So this is perfect for people like me and I’m not even a car magazine journalist.
        I already saw myself buying a used Porsche or a Ford Mustang instead of a 3series.

  4. Nico, this doesn’t make sense. What if there are clients who want an automatic rwd? For sure they will offer 2 types of rwd; one that’s classic w/ manual and the other similar to the M5, since providing both will offer all the options available and more than that, an advantage.

  5. CfAuto says:

    Nice! But I hope the competition model gets M xDrive instead off permanent xDrive

  6. Dailybimmer says:

    M3 s drive 476 PS ??? 0-100 km/h in 3.7 secs ??? M3 M-x drive 506 PS in 3.1 secs???🤔

  7. Joshua Dufresne says:

    Alright then. I live in New England (where it snows) and I really want the M3 to replace my 2011 e90 335i xdrive. The choice for me was xdrive M3 with a manual. Maybe I wished too hard for the xdrive and forgot the manual item when I knelt each night. Either way, I wish the xdrive had the manual…I guess it will have the POWER, though it will be splitting hairs when compared to the sdrive as the power will need to lug the weight.

  8. maxnix says:

    Unfortunately, this means the end of (GETRAG) DCT. That is a real shame compared to Porsche’s (ZF) recent development of 8-speed PDK.

  9. 7enderbender says:

    First good news in a while. I’ve been thinking what options are left to replace my 335xi with manual one day. I really wanted rear wheel drive and manual when I bought mine but I couldn’t find one. I’ll be happy to leave all wheel drive to Audi and such (despite living in New England wih it’s 5 days it so of snow).
    Time to save up for a G80 M3 with rear wheel drive, manual, and 6 cylinders. Sounds like the last remaining true BMW.

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