All those who lament the dilution of the M badge won't like this news.
The next generation BMW 3 Series (codenamed the G20) is fast approaching. We have been speculating what the next M3 (known internally as the G80) will be like, but we now have details (courtesy of Autocar) about the sub-M3 models. As with other models in the BMW lineup, the 340i will be rebadged as an M Performance model and the first 3 Series on the new G20 platform will be a rear-wheel-drive M340i M Performance with a 360 horsepower twin-scroll turbo inline-six.
Following the M340i will be an all-wheel-drive M340d xDrive M Performance with a 320 hp twin-turbo inline-six diesel engine. If we had to guess, this high-performance diesel model will not be sold in the US. These new performance variants of the 3 Series follow the strategy taken by the larger M550i xDrive and the smaller M240i (formerly the M235i). As with those models, the 3 Series M Performance cars are meant to act as a sort of "M Car Light." These are not true M Cars, but rather BMWs which have been "enhanced by M." A similar strategy has been taken by Mercedes-Benz with its AMG 43 line and Audi with its S models.
After the M Performance models are launched, BMW will follow up with more mainstream versions of the 3 Series in sedan and wagon body styles. There will also be a M440i M Performance Coupe and M440d M Performance Coupe based on the new 3 Series platform, which should arrive in 2020.