The next-generation G20 BMW 3 Series will include a high-performance G80 M3, which has been spotted by our spy photographers recently. This particular test mule was seen undergoing cold-weather testing recently, albeit with some curious visual cues.

While previous G20 mules had fancy LED headlights at the front, this G80 appears to be fitted with low-spec halogen projectors instead. However, as the vehicle is still being developed, the final product will likely get more upmarket items befitting its position at the top of the 3 Series range.

Elsewhere, placeholders have been installed on top of the rear taillights to hide the actual units. While it is difficult to tell what they might look like here, previous G20 sightings show L-shaped light guides along with slim brake and indicator lights within the clusters.

This being an M3, there are plenty of model-specific features like a quad exhaust pipes at the back – a BMW M staple. The mule also sports some pretty sizeable brakes front and rear, as well as what looks like a set of M Star-spoke forged black alloy wheels (style 666M).

The interior should mimic the G20 as well, although there will be more M parts installed to reflect its performance-focused persona. Expect a new steering wheel design, a digital instrument cluster and the latest iDrive infotainment system to be part of the cabin.

With the next generation, the M3 will likely ride on BMW’s modular CLAR platform (shared by the G30 5 Series and G11/G12 7 Series) with greater emphasis on using aluminium and high-strength steel, plus a number of carbon fibre components to keep its weight low.

Reports also indicate the car will use an upgraded version of the existing 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged straight-six, with the horsepower count said to be 10% more than the current model at 465 hp. The mill will soldier on with rear-wheel drive rather than adopting the F90 M5’s M xDrive system, and be offered with an eight-speed automatic and six-speed manual.