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2021 BMW M3: Rear- and all-wheel drive confirmed

The new BMW M3 will get a sensible all-wheel drive option, but purists haven't been forgotten.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie
Deputy Editor

BMW M has confirmed its next-generation M3 will be offered with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive.

Although Markus Flasch, BMW M boss, has previously hinted that buyers would get the choice, a new video has outright confirmed it.

The all-wheel drive model will feature a variation of the xDrive M system from the larger M5. Along with rear-biased, sporty all-wheel drive modes, the M5 can be operated as a pure rear-wheel drive model for tail-out antics.

The all-wheel drive M3 to ditch the dual-clutch transmission of the current model in favour of the eight-speed torque converter from the current M5, Markus Flasch has previously confirmed.

Enthusiasts will be heartened to know a rear-wheel drive model will also be offered. It should be lighter than the all-wheel drive car, and will have the option of a manual transmission.

None of the M3’s rivals offer a choice between manual or automatic transmission in Australia. The Mercedes-AMG C63 is auto-only, as are the Audi RS4 and Alfa Romeo Giulia – although the Giulia does have a three-pedal option in Europe.

Power in the new M3 will come from the same turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six used in the X3 M and X4 M SUVs, where it makes 375kW of power and 600Nm of torque in Competition guise.

That would put the new M3 on a par with the Mercedes-AMG C63 S for power, but down 100Nm in the torque stakes.

The new M3 and M4 are expected to launch late in 2020, ahead of a sales release some time early in 2021.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie

Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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