After countless rumors and some first-hand information, the topic of the new BMW M3 gets a new episode – the new BMW M CEO – Markus Flasch – has just hinted to Australian magazine Go Auto that the upcoming G80 M3 will get a model with a rear-wheel drive setup and a six-speed manual transmission.
“With M3, we were able to take over the entire drivetrain concept that we offer in the M5, and we were able to do a rear-wheel-drive version as well plus manual transmission,” he said.
“I won’t disclose today how we configure those opportunities, but we can do whatever the markets globally demand.
“I can’t confirm it, but I’ve driven the cars!”
With Mercedes-AMG favoring now all-wheel drive setups and shifting towards this drivetrain configuration across its range, BMW M seems to stay true to its roots:
Asked by GoAuto if he could see the day when BMW M no longer offered rear-drive variants, Mr Flasch said: “No, I don’t see the point why this would happen.”
Flasch also pointed at the different customer profile when it comes to M cars. Owners of larger M vehicles – like the X5 M or M5 – tend to favor the use of an all-wheel drive system.
“In the larger segments, SUV and also sedan, our customers typically drive the cars long distances, they drive them all year, they drive them on dirt roads – for instance, an M5 driver or also the X5 M driver, they clearly go for all-wheel drive,” he said.
“We also know that on the M5, the current model, with the switchable all-wheel drive, people hardly ever switch off AWD because it’s just such a great drive with it.
“On smaller segments, more let’s call it iconic M2, M3, M4 cars, they are typically either ‘entrance’ cars to certain customers or they are second or third cars, and rear-wheel drive makes the most sense for these cars because they are taken out in good weather, for special occasions.
“This is not black and white, but in general there is a differentiation between the bigger cars – longer wheelbase, V8 – smaller cars, straight-six (engine), more like ‘the good weather car’, are still asking for rear-wheel drive and manual stick shift.”
The new BMW M3 will make its debut later this year, but won’t arrive on the market until 2020.
[Spy photos: http://instagram.com/wilcoblok]