The next generation M3, internally known as F80 and based on the recently revealed all new 3 Series sedan has begun its shakedown at the Nordschleife. While still early in development, the car is further along than it seems. With a launch planned for within the next 18 months M has been hard at work testing the car internally at the rolling wind tunnel and at night to get it to the stage we see here. Heavy cladding prevents us from getting a better view of the final product but we know a bit about what is being evaluated now.

Sources have indicated that M has tested no less than 4 engine derivatives for this version of BMW ‘s sportiest model. A tweaked naturally aspirated engine, with Valvetronic and Direct Injection, a twin turbo V8 (detuned from the M5), an inline 6 with three turbos spools (one electric and two as part of a dual scroll turbo), and finally a turbo V6. The naturally aspirated V8 has been ruled out as we were informed recently- it is just not possible to get the efficiency and performance as with a turbo setup without getting out of the cost/benefit ratio.

The V6 offers packaging and and performance benefits and from several well placed sources, appears to be the likely candidate and will produce around 450hp with nearly as much torque while improving emissions and fuel economy by a staggering 30% over the outgoing V8.

We ‘ll have more in the coming weeks so stay tuned!