After a leak earlier this week, BMW has now officially revealed its fifth-generation M3 and second-generation M4 compact performance cars.
With the distinctive BMW kidney grille shaped in a homage to the brand’s classic pre-War 328, there is nothing subtle at all about these new M-cars.
Beyond the imposing grille design, all the M-division styling details and aerodynamic surface design elements that one would expect, are present with both the new M3 and M4.
BMW M3 and M4: Greater road presence
Although these new high-performance BMW derivatives are based on the current 3 and 4 Series, they are longer and wider, with much greater road presence. The four-door M3 is 85mm longer than a standard 3 Series sedan and 75mm wider. With the coupé body style, M4 is 40mm larger in its cross-section.
Both cars have hugely flared fenders, a carbon-fibre roof and integrated rear diffuser to balance airflow at speed, improving stability.
BMW M3 and M4: Potent six-cylinder engines
Although the original e30 M3 was a four-cylinder, most of the following generations of BMW’s most iconic performance car, have been powered by in-line six-cylinder engines.
Staying true to tradition, these new M-cars feature the brand’s S58 specification powerplant, which is a three-litre twin-turbocharged engine, with its six cylinders neatly stacked in sequence.
BMW will be offering the new M3 and M4 in two different outputs.
The “standard” configuration produces 353kW and 550Nm, while a more potent Competition option increases peak power to 375kW, supported by a 100 unit increase in torque, settling at a substantial 650Nm.
Performance numbers are predictably impressive, with these new compact M-cars capable of 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 290km/h.
Manual gearbox not coming to SA
One of the interesting specification details, concern gearbox choices: With the M3 and M4 appealing to purist driving enthusiasts, both a six-speed manual and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission are available, although the manual is not an option on cars with the more powerful Competition engine specification.
A further disappointment for South African fans of the new M3 and M4, is that the manual gearbox will not be an option for local cars.
You can go crazy with the options list
Although broadly similar in structure to BMW’s other G80 series sedans and coupés, the M3 and M4 have better suspension components and significantly recalibrated steering, to sharpen driver feedback.
Owners will also be able to choose from a dizzying array of traction control modes, with clever algorithms controlling the interplay of power delivery, shift points, steering angle and emergency brake intervention.
BMW is offering some incredible optional upgrades with the new M3 and M4. Customers can combine 20-inch front wheels with 21 inches at the rear, both finished in a bronzed gold. A titanium-tipped exhaust system is also available. It saves 5kg in weight and has four exhaust tips, which are grouped in the rear bumper’s mid-section, instead of framing its corners.
The new BMW M3 and M4 are due in South Africa during the first half of 2021.
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