BMW has been using the motto ”ultimate driving machine” for decades, but it has been rather put asside on front wheel drive models like new 1 series or 2 series Gran Coupe. However BMW M3 and M4 (in the past M3 Coupe) have always embodied this slogan and now BMW revealed a new generation of both cars which aim to carry on this tradition. But will they?
For the start, numbers are good. New S58 engine offers 480 HP for the regular and 510 HP for the Competition models, so they certainly don’t lack any oomph in the performance department. With a top speed of 290 kmh and sub 4 seconds to 100 kmh in only rear wheel drive configuration, they are very fast indeed. If that is still not fast enough for you, wait till next year, when BMW will introduce a four wheel drive versions of both M3 and M4 Competition models, equipped with selectable M xDrive four wheel drive system. Two more driven wheels will surely help to bring those numbers down to low 3 seconds to 100 kmh which already borders on supercar teritory.
”Next year, BMW will offer even faster variants, equipped with M xDrive selectable all wheel drive system, capable of 2WD and 4WD driving”
Perhaps the most suprising fact, beside those controversial front kidneys, is the fact that BMW decided to still offer a six speed manual gearbox on both models in non Competition guise. Beside that, they diched double clutch DCT gearbox in favor of smoother 8 speed ZF Steptronic gearbox. All cars come standard with Adaptive M suspension and M specific front suspension, with newly developed aluminium wishbones and lightweight wheelbearings with very high camber range. M models are also 38mm wider than standard up front, with a load of aditional bracing for extra torsional rigidity.
When it comes to stopping power we are happy to report that there is a new high performance braking system with six piston calipers biting in 380 mm diameter discs up front, and single piston calipers biting on 370 mm discs on the rear. More performance oriented customers can also spec a carbon ceramic braking system with 400 mm discs up front and 380 mm discs on the rear. Having a high performance braking system is a good thing, when you take into consideration the most negative fact about new M3 and M4’s – their weight. In comparison with their predecessors, all models gained on average between 170 and 200 kg of mass, in some guises now weighting even more than 1.800 kg, which really is a lot. Weighting just 100kg shy of much bigger and much more luxurious BMW M8 Competition could ruin their handling and ultimate performance on the racetrack.
With all this talk about the controversial kidneys, lets just focus on the good stuff. There’s a bulging bonnet and front fender vents. The models also have sporty side skirts, aerodynamic mirrors and a more aggressive rear bumper. The latter houses a black diffuser and openings for a four-tailpipe sports exhaust system. All cars also come equipped with LED headlights and carbon reinforced plastic roof as standard. Perhaps interestingly, the wheels on the back are one inch bigger than the fronts so you can have either 18″/19″ set or 19″/20″ set. Putting those kidneys asside, especially new M3 looks pretty agressive.
Moving to the inside, ther really isn’t much to say. Besides a sport steering wheel, a red start/stop button and a special shifter in Competition variants, interior is relatively unchanged. But a special mention goes to new, optional M Carbon bucket seats, which are 9,5 kg lighter than stock seats, and also look like the first proper BMW seat for track driving on the options list which is a huge plus.
First customers should expect their M3s and M4 in the first quarter of the 2021, with prices in Germany starting from 82.500 € for the M3 and 89.500 € for the M3 Competition. Prices for the M4 are 1.500 € higher in both cases.