BMW recently unveiled the limited number, track-focused M3 CS, which signals the end of the road for the current-generation 3 Series. The Bavarian company is already testing a strongly revised version of the compact saloon (see pictures below), which will see the car move to BMW's CLAR platform and will also form the basis of the new M3.

We are still a couple of years away from the debut of the performance vehicle, but preliminary details about the new M3 are already beginning to emerge out of Munich. There's one thing that is set to remain – the presence of a 3-litre turbocharged inline-six engine under the bonnet, which in this new application will deliver close to 500bhp.

Gallery: 2019 BMW 3 Series new spy photos

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The motor will be equipped with a particulate filter and will benefit from a 48V mild hybrid system and more aggressive start-stop function, which will cut the engine and the water injection system earlier. All these measures will help the six-cylinder unit meet stricter emissions standards.

Probably the biggest news is that BMW is all set to offer an optional on-demand all-wheel-drive system which, in combination with weight reduction and reworked aerodynamics, should make the sporting saloon much better on the road.

Needless to say, the weight distribution will remain at a perfect 50:50 ratio, but the torsional stiffness will be significantly improved thanks to the new CLAR architecture. Other treats include variable-ratio electrically assisted steering, adaptive suspension, and a brake-by-wire system.

Larger 19- and 20-inch wheels, a wider track and a lower centre of gravity will give the Mercedes-AMG C63 S a good run for its money.

Just like now, BMW plans to sell the new M3/M4 in three body styles – saloon, convertible and coupe. There are rumours building about a really fast estate car version, but those remain just speculation and we will have to wait a bit longer to see whether they are true.

Gallery: BMW M3 CS