With the all-new 3 Series out already, all eyes are now set on the next generation M3. Set for a late 2019 launch most likely at the Frankfurt motor show, the benchmark sports saloon has been undergoing extensive testing over the past few months. Although still wrapped in camouflage, the prototype seen in these latest spy shots seems to be a production-ready version as it sports actual taillights. The fact that the front end is heavily disguised also points to the kidney grille and the gaping air intakes being production-ready items. A wider track, muscular wheel arches, beefy brakes and those quad exhausts are all dead giveaways of this being the extreme M model.

Under the bonnet will be the same 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged inline-six engine that powers the new X3 M and X4 M. Output is expected to be 473 horsepower in the base model, and 503 horsepower in the range-topping variants. Ever madder CS and CSL models will be introduced eventually. Sending power to the wheels will be an eight-speed automatic transmission. It will have the same rear-biased M xDrive configuration seen in the M5 that allows the driver to select a rear-wheel-drive mode by just pushing a button.

We will be following the M3’s development closely in the run-up to its big reveal later this year. Watch this space for more information and photos as they emerge.