BMW reveals its fiery new M3 and M4

23 September 2020 - 13:07 By Motoring Reporter
The new BMW M4, left, and M3 Competition will arrive in SA during the first half of 2021.
The new BMW M4, left, and M3 Competition will arrive in SA during the first half of 2021.
Image: Supplied

BMW on Wednesday finally pulled the covers off its new and hotly-anticipated M3 and M4 models.

While the exterior styling of these tar-ripping twins is still very much up for debate (those kidney grilles are perhaps the biggest automotive polariser of 2020), there's no denying that they do throw some serious meat onto the performance car table. 

All versions are powered by the Munich firm's new S58 straight-six turbocharged petrol engine that in the "standard" M3 and M4 is tuned to deliver 353kW and 550Nm worth of torque. Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, you can expect both cars to nail the 0-100km/h sprint in a mere 4.2 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250km/h. However, should you specify the optional M Driver’s Package, this is raised to 290km/h.

Drive is sent exclusively to the rear wheels, though from mid-2021 the meaner, leaner M3 and M4 Competition models will be made available with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system that offers drivers no less than three modes, namely 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD. We've already sampled this drivetrain in the mighty F90 M5 and it works incredibly well. 

Sticking with the Competition models, it's important to note these are the only M3 and M4 derivatives heading to SA. This might rile local purists because these more potent variants are available exclusively with BMW's eight-speed M Steptronic transmission equipped with Drivelogic and offering three different shift programs. Still, packing 375kW and 650Nm worth of torque, we doubt initial disappointment will linger very long. Especially when you factor in an even snappier 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds. 

On the chassis side of things, the standard M3 and M4 models ride upon staggered M light-alloy wheels. Sizes? Well you're looking at 18-inch up front and 19-inch at the rear. The xDrive-equipped Competition variants up this to 19-inch front and 20-inch rear. Performance tyres are available as an option for customers seeking extra mechanical grip. 

Native to all variants is BMW's trick "Adaptive M" suspension that offers electronically controlled shock absorbers and variable ratio "M Servotronic" steering. Customers can also look forward to beefed-up, "M‑specific" front and rear axle modifications plus a new integrated braking system with two settings for pedal feel and response. BMW "M Compound" brakes are standard with "M Carbon" ceramic brakes available as an option. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), including "M Dynamic Mode", also features, as does integrated wheel slip limitation and "M Traction Control" adjustable through 10 stages.

As to be expected, BMW's M Division has smeared a liberal amount of war paint across the visages of these sporty new models to help them stand out on the street and at the track. Key exterior differentiators exclusive to all variants include aggressively flared wheel arches, two sets of double exhaust pipes (each pipe measuring no less than 100mm in diameter) and an unpainted CFRP roof skin. Special race car-inspired air "flics" set on either side of the front apron optimise aerodynamics at higher speeds. 

In keeping with this extrovert exterior design language, the interiors of the new M3 and M4 models set themselves apart from their lesser siblings with M-specific displays and controls, fine-grain Merino leather trim and, in the case of the Competition models, the option of new and ultra-supportive M Carbon bucket seats. Another feature appearing for the first time is BMW's new M Drive Professional system that offers both a drift analyser and laptimer - digital features track day enthusiasts will do doubt appreciate. 

Local pricing for both Competition variants will be confirmed closer to launch in 2021.
Local pricing for both Competition variants will be confirmed closer to launch in 2021.
Image: Supplied

Standard driver assistance systems have been expanded to include Park Distance Control, Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Speed Limit Info. Options on all derivatives include Driving Assistant Professional with Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Active Navigation, Emergency Lane Assistant, Parking Assistant with Reversing Assistant, BMW Drive Recorder and BMW Head-Up Display with M-specific displays.

The BMW M3 Competition Sedan and BMW M4 Competition Coupe will both be launched locally during the first half of 2021. Pricing will be confirmed closer to the time.

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