Munich - With BMW’s latest F90-generation M5 having made the popular migration to all-wheel-drive, albeit with a drift-friendly RWD mode, many have assumed that the new-generation M3 will follow suit.

Those of the purist persuasion can breathe a little easier now, at least if the latest reports emanating from Germany turn out to be true.

A trusted source claiming to be close to BMW recently told BMW Blog that the G20 M3 will be offered in two distinct variants - a rear-driven sDrive and an all-wheel-drive xDrive. It is not known whether the latter will offer a RWD mode, or simply leave all the hooliganism to the sDrive version.

But that’s not the only concession being made to purists.

That same source also told BMW Blog that the new M3 would continue to be offered with a manual gearbox option, although this will only be available in the RWD model. The M3 xDrive will come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

No mention is made of whether its M4 two-door sibling would also offer two drivetrain options, but it would certainly be a logical move.

The next M3 and M4 are expected to be powered by an updated version of the current 3-litre twin-turbo straight six. According to Autocar, the engine is expected to produce around 342kW, which is a significant hike over the 317kW that the current M3 and M4 offer.

The next M3 is likely to debut at next year’s Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

IOL Motoring