Update: A second report from Autocar confirms rumors that the BMW M3 will be axed sooner than expected, but it pushes that date from May to August.
As BMW gears up for an all-new version of the 3 Series and M3, we know that production of the current model will eventually come to a halt. But it could come even sooner than initially anticipated. Reports suggest that the current F80 M3 could be discontinued in just a few months.
According to BMWBlog, BMW will be capping production of the F80 M3 in May. The introduction of the new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) driving cycle will force the F80 off the line sooner than expected. The WLTP procedure is the new standard for determining levels of pollutants and C02 emissions, and fuel or energy consumption for vehicles around the world.
With the new procedure in place, the M3 F80 would have to be fitted with a complex new Otto particle filter as of June 1, 2018. Instead, BMW will reportedly cap production in May to focus on development of the new 3 Series and M3, which are slated for production in 2019 and 2020 respectively. The M4, meanwhile, will remain unaffected by the change, and will continue to be produced for a few months longer than the current 3 Series.
Rumor has it that when the new M3 arrives in 2020, it could come with as much as 500 horsepower (373 kilowatts) paired to a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Other reports put the horsepower figure at 475 (354 kW) with an updated version of the existing S55 3.0-liter engine carrying over. That same engine will likely be adopted by the new X3 and X4 M models as well.
The 3 Series will ride on BMW’s new CLAR architecture, which is expected to provide a number of improvements. Things like increased torsional rigidity thanks to the use of aluminum and high-strength steel, as well as a weight distortion of a perfect 50:50 ratio, and a lower center of gravity.
The new BMW 3 Series is expected to make its debut sometime next year, while the more powerful M3 likely won’t be shown until 2020. We’ll know more details closer to an official release date.