Ahead of schedule BMW has shown off the M4 concept and now our spies caught this F80 M3 sedan out testing. BMW follows a 7 year release cycle almost to the day, unless they don't. Taking the E90 and E92 M3 schedule and projecting it out 7 years means we shouldn't be seeing the M3 and M4 on sale until 2015, but over a year ahead BMW is clearly out testing. A concept pre-launch version was something BMW did with the E92 M3, but we've seeing the M4 concept 6 months sooner then expected. In the race to keep up with Mercedes has BMW pushed M development up?
The near production M3 spotted here sports chrome kidney grills, but look for M Performance Parts blacked out grills to be an option. The front bumper looks like it came right off the M4 concept, as does much of the rest of the body upgrades from the standard F30. The concept M4 side vents are visible on the front fenders which dump air from the wheel wells to increasing aerodynamics. Moving around the car we pick up aggressively flared side skirts under the M double bridge side mirrors. Out back the rear bumper has been toned down some, there is a hint of a diffuser but not the awesome carbon fiber piece the M4 concept sported. Sadly I don't expect the production M4 will get that either. The sedan M3 gets a bit of CSL inspiration on the trunk, but perhaps less then the coupe. Up top the carbon fiber roof is retained, will it be possible to get a CF roof with a sunroof is yet to be known.
What can we expect from the production M3? Take all the M components BMW M added to the F32 4 series to make the M4 concept, put them on an F30 and you end up with with the F80 M3. There is no question the M3 in a bright color is going to be a hot machine, but perhaps not as hot as the M4. It lacks that low and wide stance that BMW nailed with the M4. Given my choice I would take home the M4 over the M3 any day, 4 door practicality be damned. What would you park in your garage given the choice?
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