BMW has listened to our prayers and will keep the stick inside the G80 M3

After months of speculation, it’s now almost certain that the new, 2020 BMW M3 will indeed be available with a six-speed manual transmission - almost as a way to honor tradition as BMW will also put out an AWD version with an 8-speed automatic gearbox.

BMW doesn’t plan to desert the manual gearbox just yet, at least not on the M3 that is. We know that the next-generation 3 Series will not be available with a manual, so you might just have to pay double or more for an M3 if you want the luxury of operating the clutch yourself. The third pedal will only be available aboard a ’Pure’ version that should be rear-wheel drive only, thus lighter than the AWD model that is lighter than the F80 M3 we’re seeing in the dealerships today.

Three Pedals and a Stick Will Lives on in a Back-to-Basics M3

It Won't Get Any Better than the 2020 BMW M3 Pure with Rear-Wheel Drive and Lots of Ponies Spyshots Exterior
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We’ve been reporting since November that a manual is on the cards for the new M3 and a new report from CAR Magazine confirms just that. With that being said, don’t expect anything to be unveiled officially until the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

Last Autumn, we talked about BMW’s decision to not stray too far from the M3’s roots with the upcoming generation of the legendary luxury sports coupe that morphed into a compact sedan more recently.

As such, the Munich-based firm is set to offer a version of the M3 which will make purists happy: all the power will be directed to the rear wheels, and the driver will be the one shifting the gears.

As mentioned before, BMW won’t try to mate their rear-biased xDrive AWD system with the manual as that system was designed to work with the ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic.

According to the CAR Magazine report, the Pure treatment will also be applied to the upcoming M4 which, likewise, will have a shifter in between the seats and RWD. The Pure models will be the cheapest in the range with the AWD models somewhat pricier and the track-focused CS/CSL versions that are bound to arrive by 2021 even more expensive. Apparently, these Pure models will only have 454 horsepower from the 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine that’s a derivative of the S55 available on the F80 M3 known as the S58.

2015-2018 BMW M3 Base Drivetrain and Performance Specifications

Engine Type 3.0-Liter I-6 Turbocharged
Engine Technology M TwinPower Turbo technology with two mono-scroll turbochargers, High Precision Direct Fuel Injection, fully variable valve timing (VALVETRONIC) and variable camshaft control (Double-VANOS)
Output (HP @ RPM) 425 @ 5500–7300
Torque (LB-FT @ RPM) 406 @ 1,850–5,500
Transmission Six-speed manual gearbox (optional: Seven-speed Double Clutch Transmission)
Acceleration (0-60 MPH) 4.1 Sec (W/ Manual) / 3.9 Sec. (W/ M-DCT)
Top Speed 155 mph
It Won't Get Any Better than the 2020 BMW M3 Pure with Rear-Wheel Drive and Lots of Ponies
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Still, 454 horsepower is 29 horsepower more than what you get from a standard current-generation M3 while torque will also go up from the current 406 pound-feet to as much as 480 pound-feet. It's also said that the chassis will be stiffer and the downforce will work better than ever before, as well as the whole car being about 140 pounds lighter than the current M3.

We guess that’s in comparison to the automatic version that weighs 3,631 pounds, 57 more than in manual guise. For the record, the BMW M3 CS weighs 3,494 pounds, and this seems to be BMW’s target with the upcoming M3. The CS boasts the same amount of ponies under the hood, 454 to be precise, and 443 pound-feet of torque, 37 pound-feet more than the standard M3. It’s also 110 pounds lighter than the base model.

These Pure versions will get an electronically-controlled locking rear differential and a restyled exterior with more aggressive front and rear bumpers, unique wheels and color-coded upholstery inside where Alcantara will be blended with special fabrics, and you’ll also get a different-looking gauge cluster in terms of the graphics, BMW aiming for a more old-school look potentially. There might also be special colors available only to the Pure models, but it’s too early to confirm this at the moment.

It Won't Get Any Better than the 2020 BMW M3 Pure with Rear-Wheel Drive and Lots of Ponies Spyshots Exterior
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What’s clear is that the faster, winged and roll-caged versions of the M3 and M4 like the CS and (if rumors prove to be correct) the CSL won’t get a manual simply because BMW does not have a manual that can cope with over 480 pound-feet of torque that the super-fast versions will unarguably put out.

We were also talking in our previous articles on the new M3 about the likelihood of BMW offering the M4 GTS’ water injection system on the G80 M3 and, indeed, this seems to be the case while a new gas particulate filter will be put in place so that the car can pass the latest emissions regulations from the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure that has been the main reason behind BMW’s decision to begin to phase out the current M3.

As for the competition, the upcoming M3, be it in Pure or not, will have to fight the usual suspects from Audi and Mercedes-Benz first and foremost.

The C63 AMG in four-door form is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 479 pound-feet of torque and 469 horsepower. It sprints from to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds (with a 9-speed automatic), just as fast as the F80 Mr equipped with the ZF 8-speed automatic, the manual taking 0.2 seconds more. Expect the new Pure model to win back those two tenths and maybe more, depending on who’s behind the wheel. The S version, meanwhile, has 503 horsepower although the 0 to 62 mph time is virtually identical. It also has an MSRP of almost $74,000.

It Won't Get Any Better than the 2020 BMW M3 Pure with Rear-Wheel Drive and Lots of Ponies Spyshots Exterior
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Audi’s compact performance-oriented sedan, the RS4, is now powered by a 2.9-liter V-6 instead of the old 4.2-liter V-8 we’ve come to know and love under the hood of both this model and the early R8s. Thanks to a couple of turbochargers, the engine produces 450 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. It’s just as fast as the Merc and, with the RS Dynamic package in place, the limiter jumps up a few notches and allows you to reach 174 mph instead of the usual 155 mph. This all means that the cheaper Pure models will be just as fast as the current-gen models from BMW’s rivals while offering more thrills for the buck. If you want superior performance, though, the AWD automatic M3 will have 474 horsepower.

We don't know how much the new fast sedans from Bavaria will cost, but it's clear you'll have to pay more than $66,500 which is the base price for an M3 today.

However, if the Pure package doesn’t go over $70,000, it might become a seriously tempting proposition. It remains to be seen, though, if the M3 with its four-door layout will ever be able to close the gap to the M4 that’s the obvious ’fortunate son’ and gets more allocations.

Further reading

It Won't Get Any Better than the 2020 BMW M3 Pure with Rear-Wheel Drive and Lots of Ponies
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 BMW M3.

2015 BMW M3 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 BMW M3.

2019 BMW 3 Series
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 3 Series.

Source: Car Magazine

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