Enthusiasts everywhere rejoice.

With the bigger, bolder new 3 Series (G20) out, it should only be a few months before we see the hardcore M3, too. Spy shots of the M3 prototype sprinting around the Nürburgring, a promising preview of what’s to come. But while early rumors automatic only M3 had us worried, new reports are here to dispell that hearsay… sort of.

Execs in Munich are still considering a manual M3, according to an anonymous source from BMW Blog. That means it will be one of the few sports sedans in the segment to still offer the do-it-yourself shifter, unlike the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, Audi S5, and others. The company is also still debating whether to keep the M3 with its classic rear-wheel-drive setup or give it an all-wheel-drive layout similar to the M5.

Manual or no manual, the new M3 and M4 could have upwards of 500 horsepower (with the optional Competition Package) when they debut. How do we know? Well, these two cars will share the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six engine from the upcoming X3 M and X4 M. That engine will replace the current S55 unit and will have 450 hp out of the box.

For now, BMW buyers will have to make do with the standard G20 3 Series. At its launch last month in Paris, the company showed off a few different engine options, including 320i and 330i gas models, and diesel-fueled 318d, 320d / 320d xDrive, and 330d variations. The most-powerful option produces 382 hp (295 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Newton-meters) of torque.

The new BMW M3 should make its debut sometime in 2019. Our best guess would be a European auto show like Geneva, but we’ll have to wait for a confirmation from BMW.

Source: BMW Blog

Gallery: BMW M3 new spy shots