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Australian BMW M3 production ends in October

Shafted: From November 2017 production onwards, the M3 replaced its carbon driveshaft with a steel unit that prepared it for the future fitment of a petrol particulate filter.

BMW Group Australia confirms M3 to remain in production until at least October

BMW logo5 Feb 2018

By JUSTIN HILLIARD

BMW Group Australia confirmed this week that production of the local M3 sports sedan is likely to end in October, but the model will avoid being a victim of tightening emissions standards that do not apply yet Down Under.

Speaking with GoAuto, BMW Group Australia product communications manager Adam Davis said that overseas reports regarding the M3’s emissions-related demise are not relevant to the Aussie market.

“That story pertains to Euro cars. We’ll still have production through October, which means they’ll be arriving here through to the end of the year and into the early months of next year still,” he said.

When questioned if October will officially spell the end of Australian M3 production for its current generation, Mr Davis said: “That’s where we are currently sitting – that our production will end in October. That could extend, but at this stage it is October”.

Specifically, the aforementioned reports suggest that M3 production will end in May following BMW’s decision to not fit the model with a petrol particulate filter (PPF) that is required to meet the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) emissions standards.

This move was reportedly made because the next-generation 3 Series – upon which the M3 is based – is scheduled for an international debut at the Paris motor show in October, meaning that the M3’s homologation process would be completed just before the new model breaks cover and production starts.

However, production of the mechanically related 4 Series will continue for at least another year, translating to its M4 sportscar adding the required PPF in time for WLTP’s introduction on June 1.

The M3 and M4's 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine requires the PPF to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions to meet the new WLTP standard.

Incorporating this new part requires the powertrain to be re-engineered, which first began when the M model pair were fitted with a steel driveshaft instead of a carbon unit from November 2017 production onwards.

According to Mr Davis, even after the WLTP emissions standards are introduced, local M3s will continue in their existing configuration.

“They will maintain the current system that they utilise, because differing emissions standards, I believe, have led them to do this in Europe, but we’re able to extend it a little bit,” he said.

Thus, the current M3s being sold in local showrooms have the new driveshaft but go without the PPF, and will continue to do so when fresher stock arrives later this year.

“We have moved from carbon to steel (driveshaft), and that particulate filter isn't necessarily coming into Australia until a later point,” Mr Davis added.

This ‘later point’ is likely when the next-gen M3 arrives around 2020, but details on the new model are scarce. However, the rumour mill suggests an uprated version of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo six will feature, complete with the PPF.

The incoming M3 CS – which launches locally in the third quarter with deliveries continuing until 2019 – is fitted with the former carbon driveshaft and, therefore, will not feature the PPF.

Limited to 1200 units globally, it is still unknown exactly how many M3 CS examples are coming Down Under, but local pricing and specification will be confirmed in the coming months.

For reference, the similar M4 CS commands a $33,190 premium over the M4 Competition, priced from $189,900 before on-road costs following a $21,710 price cut in December.

The M3 Competition costs $146,710, meaning a sticker price around $179,990 is likely for the M3 CS that commences production next month.

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