We get the sense BMW isn’t awfully fond of speculation and rumours surrounding its future products. Most manufacturers just put up with it, but Munich now has a routine of chucking out a bunch of its own shots of camouflaged prototypes along with some technical information, long before the full reveal is due.
It did so recently with the M440i, and now it’s the turn of the M3 and M4. Confirmed is an entry-level version of each, producing 473bhp and 442lb ft of torque from the ‘S58’ inline-six turbo engine used in the X3 M and X4 M.
The rear wheels will be powered exclusively via - wait for it - a manual gearbox. Yep, even though take-up of the six-speed stick shift was pretty diabolical for the F80/F82, BMW will still offer one for the next-gen versions. If you’d prefer, the Competition will produce 503bhp (torque unchanged) and use an eight-speed automatic gearbox, replacing the old dual-clutch unit.
It’s this auto/manual divide between the two main versions of the M3 and M4 that’s a key detail for UK buyers. All recent M Division products have only been available in Britain in Competition form, and if that’s the case for the M3/M4 too, that rules out a manual on our shores. Boo.
A little further down the line, the Competition will receive the option of all-wheel drive. It’s currently not clear if it’ll have a switchable rear-drive mode as per the M5, but our colleagues at evo report that the M3/M4 has been given a revised version of the bigger M car’s electronic power steering and fettled versions of its adaptive dampers.
Beyond that, we don’t know any more, but with a full reveal planned for mid-September, we don’t have long to wait for the pair’s debut proper.