Report: Next gen BMW M3 concept to show at Geneva, Gran Coupe variant, forced induced I6, no manual option

AutoWeek reports on some new details that have seemed to have emerged surrounding BMW’s next generation M3. For one thing, it’s been pretty well received that this upcoming M3 will ditch it’s 4.0L naturally aspirated V8 heart for six forced induced inline cylinders, the first ever for the M3.

Word is that the sedan will be the first to be unveiled. Internally dubbed as the F80, it’s expected to appear as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show next year. A showroom ready version will debut at next year’s Frankfurt motor show.

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That said, if BMW’s schedule holds up, that means North America can see the M3 by the winter of 2014. The sedan will be spearheading the slow-trickle of M3 variants, which will be followed by a coupe, a cabriolet, and even a Gran Coupe variant that may take the new “M4” nameplate.

Of course, expect the usual dosage of subtly aggressive body work inspired by ones found on the current M5 and the M6.

Mechanically, rumors have been circulating for quite some time that BMW may drop its long-standing tradition of utilizing straight-six motors in favor of a 3.3L V6 based off of the M5’s 4.4L V8 for the M3. But this is apparently not true, as a “high-ranking source” said: “This is utter rubbish. Packaging considerations aside, there is no reason for BMW to abandon its tradition of straight six-cylinder power—neither from a performance nor a production standpoint.”

Purists will also cringe to this news, as this up and coming M3 will apparently have no option for a manual gearbox adding insult to injury to the other fact that BMW is ditching its other long standing tradition of using high revving, naturally aspirated engines in the M3. Supplementing the manual is a standard seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, most likely to be supplied by ZF.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: AutoWeek

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