What you're looking at above is a photo of a BMW M3 -- the as-yet-unreleased one -- playing in the snow. While we don't usually envy prototype testers of their jobs, especially when the weather is very cold, we're admittedly jealous of the driver in the photo.
We'll also admit that we were a bit skeptical at first: when you look at the prototype in the enclosed photos, it looks almost exactly like the 328i and 335i you see roaming the streets right now. We were almost tempted to say it's just a last-minute cold-weather test of the 320i entry-level 3 Series.
But the white car you see here has some serious upgrades, upgrades that give it away as an up-market M model. The wheels are big, black numbers--the likes of which you don't see on any current 3 Series--that go over massive brakes that nearly fill the wheels. The rear bumper has a different diffuser under it, which houses two sets of two exhaust pipes mounted towards the center of the car--a nod to previous BMW M3s. The front end has some body cladding/camouflage at the bottom of the aero kit, but it is open in the middle--probably to allow air into the intercooler.
That intercooler should be pretty important, because the BMW M3 is still projected to use a forced-induction I-6 engine making somewhere around 450 hp. While we're still not sure what the M3 will use for power-adders, signs point to a set of three turbos, one of which could possibly be electrically powered to eliminate low-end lag.
We'll find out more about that engine soon: the BMW M3 (and M4 coupe) is still projected for a late-2013 release date, which means it should be sitting on an auto-show floor near you some time soon.