Well this is replies to so many it might get messy.
426 hp disappointing? Man either you all are crazy or I am easy to please. Especially given the power to weight ratio that is likely. What else can you buy (or will you be able to buy new when this car comes out) that will offer more performance for less $ in the same (or close) category???
As far as needing 500hp (now?) to "compete" I'd say that is total crap. What now has 500hp in this category. I guess if you like MB you can wait for the 500 hp C63 beast but it will be some serious coin (way more than an M3) and M3 willl almost certainly be a better track car. I agree there is a new hp war but if 426 hp is lame or not insane at all where does that leave the "lowly" E46 M3 (sarcasm)? Also do you think BMW is stupid enough to design a car that can best others for only 6 months. Doubtful.
I've also never made any prediction about the price of a new loaded M3. I stick to talking base exclusively. I agree with Smoltz that all reasonable financial models, trends, etc. support a base of under $60k. Just compare what happened with E60 M5 compared to both E39 M5 and 550. Hey if it does not happen then I am wrong. No words to eat, just means the car has kind of morphed into the "M4" and has been somewhat loaded as base. Anyway it is pretty early to eat words when all we have it price rumors isn't it? Can you say "jump the gun".
I don't really care to comment or disagree with your new/loaded M3 vs. M5 price prediction. It very well may be true. However, personally, I do not want 4000+ lbs, four doors nor used at this particular time so it is pretty irrelevant to me.
Hmmm last but not least is it really so terrible/unjustified/inconceiveable that BMW will offer the new M3 for less $ than the RS4 and at the same time handily outperform it? Heck I suspect it is going to be outperforming P-cars with base+minimal options at $85k. Sounds like a winner to me.