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2020 BMW M3 Pure to be manual, RWD

A couple of months ago, I posted about how the 2020 BMW M3 (code named G80) will bring more than 500 hp and AWD. At that point, I figured all hope was lost for a manual M3 or M4, despite an earlier report that BMW M is still committed to manuals. Thankfully, it looks like hope is fully restored or - better yet - replaced with full expectations of a manual, thanks to an interview by Car Magazine.

If you were waiting for a 500+ hp AWD beast, fear not. It is still coming. But BMW M boss Markus Flasch just confirmed to Car Magazine that an entry level version for the purists will bring lower horsepower, a manual stick shift, and RWD. They are code named M3 Pure or M4 Pure internally and will pack "only" 454 hp. According to Car Magazine, this is because BMW does not have a manual gear box that can handle the full output, but I'm sure it also has something to do with hierarchy. It will still come with an electronic limited slip differential like the current M cars.

The standard model will pack 473 hp and a full fat, Competition model will also be available later to go head to head with the AMG C63 S and will pack 503 hp to match the AMG. Both the standard and Competition models will come standard with an 8-speed automatic and no option of a manual. It looks like the dual clutch transmission in the current F80 M3 and F82 M4 won't make a return.

Both models will also do away with RWD. Markus said in the interview that BMW was able to put the same AWD system from the F90 M5 into the new M3. The 'Pure' models will come only as RWD and won't have the option of AWD. However, since BMW is using the same AWD system from the M5, that means that the AWD models will have a selectable RWD-mode that allows you to disconnect the front axle and send all the power to the rear axle alone. 

Said power will come from the new S58 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged straight six engine that BMW already puts in the brand new X3 M and X4 M. BMW says it is its most advanced straight six produced to date and will utilize a water injection system to cool "high combustion temperatures". It's not clear if it's an intercooler spray temperature like in the 911 (991.2) GT2 RS or a methanol mixture injection system to directly cool the charge air. Either way, it should result in more reliable horsepower on track regardless of heat, but you'll have to keep the tank filled. By the sound of things the 'Pure' and standard models will utilize more or less the same engine with different states of tune, but the Competition models will also get a higher compression ratio and unique intake manifold and exhaust.

The new M3 and M4 will be revealed in September at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show and, although prices are yet to be revealed, the standard model and Competition models should be expected to come in at a premium to the current models, if for nothing but the AWD system. The back-to-basics pure models, though... it may not be totally unreasonable to expect them to cost about the same or only slightly higher. Thankfully, we won't have to wait too long to find out.

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  1. This is fuckin great news. In a world where people look at a stick shift gearbox and ask in awe "Stick shift? OH what is that??" this is a 200 iq move by BMW no joke. I have driven manual boxes forever and can't get used to automatics no matter what. The fact that im also a racing driver doesn't help - I like to shift when I want, where I want and how I want.

    I've driven many cars with DCT gearboxes in semi-auto mode, and, while similar in terms of feel. are still no where compared to a true manual. Let's hope more manufacturers bring it back. Im looking at you Audi, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes, Ford, etc. Let's stop dumbing down stuff for once.


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