Although the 2015 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe will be making a departure from the current model’s naturally-aspirated V-8 with a turbocharged inline-six cylinder, we recently heard that the newest M models will retain a manual transmission option. If this is true, driving purists should be pleased, especially considering that competitors like the 2014 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and 2014 Audi RS5 are not offered with a clutch pedal.
Apparently, the U.S. currently represents the highest concentration of manual M3 buyers, and, although take rates are low in the rest of the world, BMW sees business sense in the decision to offer a true manual in addition to a dual-clutch transmission. For instance, due to demand from U.S. buyers, the 2013 BMW M5 sports sedan is offered with an optional manual transmission only in the U.S.—everywhere else gets only the dual-clutch. It’s unclear whether the 2015 BMW M3 and M4 manuals will be U.S. only or not.
Our spy photographers also spotted a slightly disguised M3 sedan testing on the freeway in California recently. From what we can see in these photos, the M3 has a slightly wider stance than the regular 3 Series sedan, and the quad exhaust pipes in the rear tip the car off as an M model.
Expect the 2015 BMW M3 and M4 to use lightweight materials to undercut the current car’s weight, and the six-cylinder is rumored to have as many as three turbochargers to produce more than the current V-8’s 414 hp. The 2015 BMW M3 and M4 should debut later this year.
Check out the newest spy shots of the 2015 BMW M3 as well as cold-weather testing photos from January in the gallery below.
Thanks to Rob Verrilli for the spy shots.