M3 buyers are going to have plenty of choice when the new model arrives.
Last week, an anonymous source from BMW Blog informed the outlet that the next-generation BMW M3 would retain its manual transmission option. This was great news for enthusiasts who prefer to row their own gears, though it is still only a rumor. The same source also reportedly confirmed that the M3 will be offered in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive. This information was a bit confusing because we didn't know whether or not this meant the M3 would get two separate drivetrains, or the same AWD system as the M5, which can switch to RWD at the press of a button.
According to new information from BMW Blog, the source has clarified that the next M3 will indeed be offered with two separate drivetrain options - sDrive and xDrive. So, if you just hate the idea of an AWD M3, don't worry because you'll still be able to order a purely RWD car. We still do not know if the xDrive model will have a RWD mode like the M5, though the existence of the sDrive model may make such a mode irrelevant.
It also remains to be seen whether or not both the sDrive and xDrive models will offer the manual transmission. If BMW does choose to offer both with the manual, it would be the first time an AWD M car would be sold with a stick shift.
BMW will also release a hardcore M3 Competition variant at launch, which should only come with xDrive AWD. Though enthusiasts may prefer RWD for tail-sliding goodness, AWD makes sense to improve 0-60 times, lap times, and sell more cars in cold climates. We think offering RWD and AWD is very smart because it will allow BMW to compete with the Audi RS5 and give the M3 an advantage over the Mercedes C63.