They’re finally here. Behold, BMW’s bold new M3 saloon and M4 coupe. Appearing ahead of their public debut at the Beijing Motor Show on 26th September, the new M cars are the most powerful version of the 3 and 4 we’ve ever seen and, for the very first time, you’ll soon be able to buy them with a four-wheel drive system.
Of course, the massive grille first seen on the 4 Series makes a return and is already causing an uproar among some diehard M3/4 fans. We’ll go over that and much more in our list of ten things you need to know about the new M3 and M4. But before we dive in, make sure to hit the like button and subscribe to the channel.
When the early M3 development cars were first spotted at the Nurburgring, it looked as though they’d adopt the more conservative front-end of the 3 Series than the buck-toothed grille of the new 4 Series.
Sadly, the production model adopts the latter. Both the M3 and M4 have similar front ends, and they both feature the same deep bonnet crease complete with two smaller creases that look like air vents from a distance, but they’re actually just there to add to the car’s aggressive looks. As if the wheel arches and gigantic grille weren’t enough.
The previous-generation M3 and M4 had weighed 1,635kg and 1,612kg respectively, which, at the time, made them relatively lightweight compared to other sports saloons and coupes on the market.
However, like the rest of us, the new M cars have put on a few kilos while in lockdown. The new M3 weighs in at 1,780kg, while the M4 is a fraction lighter at 1,775kg. That’s still on par with the likes of the Mercedes-AMG C63, but the M3 and 4 are no longer the featherweights they once were.
As you’d probably expect, the interior is largely the same as the one you’ll find in the 3 and 4 Series, but BMW’s M division has worked its magic so that you’ll feel as though you’re behind the wheel of a serious performance car.
There’s carbon fibre around the centre of the steering wheel, on the dashboard and around the centre console. You can also go for optional carbon fibre sports seats, that, when paired with carbon ceramic brakes, will shave off a not insignificant 25kg. Other additions include red M buttons on the wheel, carbon fibre paddle shifters and M badges everywhere.
At this stage you may be starting to worry a little, whether it be the controversial looks or the extra weight. Or both. But fear not, because the new M3 and M4 are seriously powerful cars.
In Competition guise, the M3 and M4 both produce 503bhp and 650Nm of torque courtesy of the company’s new S58-generation 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged inline six engine. That’s 48bhp more than the outgoing hardcore CS model, and is enough to fling you from 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds.
The standard model has the same 3.0-litre straight-six motor as the Competition, albeit in a lower state of tune. It churns out 473bhp and will get you to 62mph in 4.2 seconds, 0.3 seconds slower than the Competition.
It’s been a long time since the M3 came with a manual gearbox. In fact, the F80 generation skipped the manual transmission altogether. And because the M4 made it’s debut in F80 form, there has never been a manual version - until now.
That’s right, the base versions of the new M3 and M4 come with six-speed manual gearboxes as standard.
There’s a small problem, though. The base-spec M3 and M4 won’t be available in the UK. We’re only getting the Competition models, and they come with eight-speed torque converter automaticgearboxes, which replace the old seven-speed DCT. What a shame.
At launch, the M3 and M4 Competition will come exclusively in rear-wheel drive form. That’s right, the whole 503bhp and 650Nm of torque will be transferred to the tarmac through two wheels alone. Mad.
But from the summer of 2021, BMW will also offer an xDrive version, meaning the M3 and M4 will be available all-wheel drive form for the first time in the line-up’s near-35-year history. The system comes with three driving modes, 4WD, 4WD Sport, which deactivates the stability control for four-wheel drifting, and 2WD.
Of course, you wouldn’t expect BMW to go and lump the same suspension layout from the warmed up M340i into its new M3. Oh no, BMW’s M division has worked its magic on the saloon and coupe4, fitting them with adaptive dampers and refining the suspension geometry by increasing the negative camber on the front wheels.
There are also ten, yes ten, stages for the traction control and an optional M Drift Analyser that, as the name suggests, allows you to track you drifting skills with graphs. A great conversation starter if you’re on a date and need to break the ice.
German performance cars have been limited to 155mph for decades, just so you don’t get too carried away while on a stretch of autobahn. The same goes for the new M3 and M4 but if you go for the M Race Track Package, which allegedly costs £8,000, BMW will remove the limiter so you can chase after the car’s 180mph top speed.
Luckily, there are a few other goodies thrown in, including ceramic brakes, carbon seats and lighter wheels that are wrapped in a semi-slick tyre, because BMW knows you’re a track day enthusiast.
If you’re as excited as we are about the M3 and M4, you’re sadly in for a bit of a wait. Orders are expected to open in March and, if you want an xDrive all-wheel drive version, you may have to wait until later next summer. At least that gives you some time to save up, which brings us onto neatly onto…
All that extra performance comes at a price. While there’s been no official word from BMW just yet, it’s estimated the M3 Competition will carry a price tag of £75,000, and the M4 should carry a slight premium at £76,000. If true, that would make the G80 generation M cars incredibly expensive, given that the previous generation base-spec M3 cost less than £60,000.
Yes, the car’s we’re getting in the UK will be Competition models, but the Competition pack was only a £3,000 optional extra on the previous model.