The expansion of BMW's M3 lineup is expected to take place sooner than we anticipated, and a new version of the Bavarian bomber will finally put the oft-maligned sequential gearbox to rest. According to Auto Telegraaf, BMW will be debuting the M3 sedan at a major Stateside auto show, likely L.A. or Detroit, and along with an extra set of doors, it'll be sporting the automaker's new dual-clutch gearbox. Rumored to be dubbed "M DCT," the new 'box will get seven forward gears that can be controlled by either a new shift lever, much like the one found in the new X5, or steering-wheel mounted paddles shifters. BMW also plans to offer a traditional six-speed manual for those who prefer to row their own gears.

The regularly spied convertible version of the M3 is also on its way, which is proving to be an engineering challenge for the M-division due to the extra tonnage the retractable hardtop tacks onto the curb weight. We've heard that a track-bred CSL is also under development, and that its debut is likely to take place some time in 2009.

[Source: Auto Telegraaf via Motor Authority]