The next-generation BMW M3 will be powered by the S58 line of inline-six turbocharged petrol engines, BMW M head Markus Flasch has confirmed to Car. These powerplants already find homes in the X3 M and X4 M, Flasch told the magazine in an interview, noting that these ‘will have 480bhp in the standard version and 510bhp in the Competition version’ of the forthcoming M3.

In the X3 M and X4 M, the S58 powerplant produces 480 hp at 6,250 rpm and 600 Nm of torque from 2,600 to 5,600 rpm in base form; a Competition version of both models brings peak horsepower to 510 hp and stretches the peak torque band to 5,950 rpm, in this guise quickening the 0-100 km/h time for both models from 4.2 seconds to 4.1 seconds.

The next M3 will also have a version of the M xDrive all-wheel drive system that will be ‘very similar’ to the one featured in the F90 M5, which is able to switch into rear-wheel-drive operation. That said, “We will also do rear-wheel-drive cars; purer ones too, and (with) a manual stick-shift,” the M division boss added. The self-shifting transmission in the S58-powered X3 M and X4 M is an eight-speed torque converter unit.

G20 M340i xDrive.

As for the rear-wheel-drive, manual versions of the M3, these will get the lower of the two output levels, though an electronically controlled locking differential will still be part of the package for the more basic, ‘purist’-focused variant. Across the range of M3 variants, the performance model will get bespoke chassis setups and stronger brakes to support the added straight-line grunt.

For the time being, the most powerful engine available in the latest 3 Series range resides in the M340i xDrive, in which the turbocharged straight-six produces 374 hp and 500 Nm of torque. Thus powered, the all-wheel-drive equipped M340i xDrive clocks the 0-100 km/h sprint benchmark in 4.4 seconds; meanwhile, the four-cylinder 330i produces 258 hp and 400 Nm of torque, doing 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds.

GALLERY: G80 BMW M3 spyshots