It’s been a long time coming, and it looks like we’ll have to wait a little bit more for the annoying camouflage to come off and reveal the upsized BMW M3. Not only will it be larger than its predecessor, but it’ll be the first M3 to have xDrive, although enthusiasts should still be able to get the sports sedan with rear wheel drive. Whether it will be a pure RWD variant or an xDrive model with a RWD mode akin to the M5 remains to be seen, but BMW is expected to please everyone and throw in a manual gearbox for good measure.

Nürburgring resident Automotive Mike has spotted several prototypes of the revamped BMW M3 undergoing final testing to iron out all the kinks. Like it or not, the new upsized kidneys of the 3 Series will have a correspondent on the range-topping model, much like BMW’s newest models now have a bigger grille. All the test vehicles caught at the Nordschleife seemed to have most of the production parts, although the quad exhaust is likely to look nicer on the final version.

The sound you’re hearing comes from a newly developed straight-six engine codenamed “S58.” First seen in the X3 M and X4 M, the 3.0-liter mill will produce 473 horsepower and 442 pound-feet (600 Newton-meters) like in the two performance SUVs. Should that not be enough, a more expensive M3 Competition will unlock 503 hp as seen in the Competition-spec SUVs.

Some goodies are going to be borrowed from the bigger M5, with relevant examples being the active damper system and the electronic steering setup. At an additional cost, M3 owners will be able to opt for carbon-ceramic brakes for superior stopping power suitable for track use.

The new M3 should debut in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show and go on sale either by the year’s end or early 2020. If you can’t wait until then, the M340i is the next best thing, especially since in Europe you’ll be able to get it as a wagon as well. By the way, why is BMW taking so long to introduce the 3 Series Touring?

Video: Automotive Mike / YouTube

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