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2020 G80 BMW M3 to bring more than 500 hp and AWD


The current (and outgoing) BMW M3 upset quite a few purists when it switched to turbocharging to boost power from a long line of naturally aspirated engines. It looks like the upcoming G80 M3 based on the new G20 3-series is looking to buck the tradition again by being the first ever M3 to offer AWD/4WD. That's right, it looks like the next M3 will send power to all four wheels according to a report by Auto Express.

Of course, it won't be the first ever M-car to offer AWD. That honour goes to the current M5 which was the first M sedan/saloon car, so perhaps that should have been a sign of things to come. It makes a lot of sense, given the competition. Fast Audi have been AWD for several generations and recently, AMG announced that the future of AMG is four-wheel drive.


Tough Competition

Audi is nearly synonymous with AWD and with AMG now switching to AWD, a RWD M3 would (unfortunately) be quite handicapped in terms of traction and objective performance. Competition isn't only from petrol/gasoline cars only, of course. The Tesla Model 3 Performance - which is also AWD if still very unproven - has shown more than once of being capable of beating a current M3 on track. Here's the latest example from Top Gear.


Competitors from less established brands are still RWD, such as Alfa's Giulia Quadrofoglio and Cadillac's ATS-V. But the ATS-V is soon to be dead and who knows what the next Alfa will be. Of course, the current AMG C63 is still RWD but its replacement likely won't be.

Fortunately, the system will almost certainly match the current M5 setup. That means multiple modes, including a 2WD mode sending power only to the rear wheels if you still want to drive a RWD M3. For the purists, that won't be enough because the weight and parasitic drag from drivetrain components connected to the front wheels will keep the system from feeling 100% like true RWD, but at least it will drive like a RWD car otherwise. BMW seems to not be too concerned about old-school steering feedback, anyway, so perhaps there isn't much to lose.


The Power

The car should use a modified M version of the new B58 turbocharged 3.0 litre straight six engine in the G20 340i. It will likely switch to twin-turbos like the current M3/M4. The most powerful version of the current M3/M4 was M4 GTS, which made 493 hp with the help of water-injection. The next rung down is the M3/M4 CS making 454 hp. Auto Express reports that the next one will come with 480 hp as standard which is a substantial jump, and an optional Competition Package will make 510 hp.


The most power ever in an M3 combined with the first ever AWD M3 should make a huge difference in acceleration. In the hands of Car and Driver magazine, the current M5 cracked the 3 second barrier and set a 0-60 mph run in just 2.8 seconds. This upcoming M3 shouldn't be far behind. And thankfully, it appears like it will sound MUCH better than the outgoing M3/M4 based on the spy video of testing at the Nürburgring.


Under The Skin

Being based on the new G20 3-series means starting off with a stiffer and lighter chassis. When BMW revealed the current 3-series, it said it will be 120 lb. (54 kg) lighter than the last one and overall torsional stiffness was up by 25% and specific load bearing sections (such as the front strut tower with brace) are stiffer by up to 50%. The new 3-series also widened front track significantly to 62.3" (1,582 mm) and rear up slightly to 62.9" (1,598 mm) which is nearly the same as the current and outgoing M3. You can read all about the G20 3-series here. The new M3 will likely improve even further on those.

Overall, it sounds like the new M3 will be phenomenally capable. BMW announced that it will reveal it in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Expect prices to creep up for the new model, more so than usual with a new M3 as a result of the addition of the AWD system. While I don't love how BMW is moving further and further away from the original M3 formula, I'm really curious to see what this M3 will be capable of. I suspect it will leapfrog the current one in performance.

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