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BMW M3 and M6 Gran Coupe (2014) spy shots
31 July 2012 11:10
The new BMW M3 is on its way. Spied here testing in the extreme heat of Death Valley, California, the quintessential compact sports saloon will return in 2014, sporting six-cylinder power once again and - in a break with 26 years of tradition - twin-turbocharged assistance.
And that's not all - a taped-up Gran Coupe sporting enormous alloys and four exhausts can only mean a twin-turbo V8 M6 version is on the way.
How can we tell this is the new 2014 BMW M3?
Despite the best efforts of the camouflage, there's no hiding the clues that have become the standard M-car fare over the last few generations. Bloated wheelarches embrace fatter wheel and tyres, and within those we see meatier brakes grabbed by bigger callipers painted blue as a new M car trait - seen first on the F10M M5. The front and rear bumpers are deeper and more aggressively sculpted, and of course there's the quad exhaust arrangement in the rear valance.
But the main changes for this generation of M3 will be hidden under the bonnet...
What's going to power the 2014 BMW M3?
Out goes the E92's naturally aspirated 4.0-litre V8, another casualty of ever-fiercer emissions legislation and fuel costs. With it dies the unforced induction M car: from now on, it's turbos all the way, in everything from the entry-level M135i right up to the current M5, and sans-taste X6M.
The F30 M3 will revert to straight-six power, like its E36 and E46 ancestors, but won't see a large power jump like the last car. CAR had previously been informed that the new M3's output would be lifted to 450PS - an identical 444bhp to the Audi RS5 - but recent reports from our sources suggest that the new engine will develop a similar 414bhp to the current car (plus a little bit extra once Munich sees what its rivals are planning).
No more power in the M3? Where's the progress?
While the engine won't look any pokier on paper, it should feel it thanks to the torque of twin turbos: up to 310lb ft is on the cards.
This will be twinned with a significant weight saving versus the current model, thanks to a more liberal use of carbonfibre and aluminium components. The current coupe tips the scales at 1580kg, and the four-door saloon a slightly portlier 1605kg. If reports that the new M3 will drop to around 1500kg prove accurate, the car should feel significantly faster than the already potent E92 M3, especially when equipped with an eight-speed twin-clutch DCT transmission. A six-speed manual will also be offered, as will ceramic brakes for low-weight fetishists.
Expect the price to be around £60,000 when the M3 goes on sale in late 2014.
Any other M cars in the pipeline?
Yes indeed. As can be seen in these scoop pictures, an M6 Gran Coupe is under development for a spring 2013 launch - spot the quad exhausts and 20-inch M5 wheels on the disguised test car in our spy shots. Filling another niche will be the smaller M4 Gran Coupe, due to land in spring 2015.