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BMW to axe M3 sedan, add Speedster

2010-03-24 10:42

BMW’s M3 sedan – always fast, just a little ungainly looking.

BMW’s M3 sedan has always been the red-haired stepchild of Munich’s M-division, living in the shadow (and favoured status) of the M5.

The original BMW M3 was strictly a two-door and only two generations (E36/90) of the M3 legend have offered independent rear passenger access. Unsurprisingly four-door M3s are seen as ad-hoc derivatives – boasting great performance without the requisite heritage.

Although the fifth generation M3 is still some way off (expect it to debut in 2014) the rumour mill indicates Munich will not be offering the four-door configuration again.

Proper two-seater soft-top in the pipeline

The revised M3 line-up will still be three derivatives strong, bolstered by a new Speedster featuring a lowered windshield and classic fabric roof. This M3 Speedster will not replace the folding hard top M3 convertible version though, offering a hardcore two-seater alternative instead.

In terms of mechanical configuration the fifth generation M3 will revert back to traditional six-cylinder power, relying on forced-induction to ensure output commensurate (perhaps even superior) to the current E90 M3’s 309kW 4l V8.

Despite BMW talking down the possibility of the fifth generation M3’s turbocharged six-cylinder being more powerful than the current car’s V8, a figure of around 330kW has been postulated as the statistical power peak.

The next M3 will use BMW’s F30 architecture and focus on a reduction in mass to achieve the fabled dynamics which has made Munich’s ‘3’ affixed M-badge so legendary.

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Opel Astra 1.4T Enjoy auto – understated and smart new hatch

When it comes to the mid-size hatchback choice, there are a few default choices, a few bland ones… and some often overlooked cars. The Opel Astra hatch is an example of the latter, writes David Swanepoel. - Sponsored

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