The new BMW M3 Saloon and M4 Coupe have been fully revealed, ahead of a public debut at the Detroit Motor show in January. Read on for all the latest details on both cars, including the UK price, specs and release date.
The engine used in both cars is the same: a 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight six engine, which replaces the 4.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 in the previous M3 saloon and coupe. While that old engine produced 414bhp, this new one makes 425bhp - and thanks to a weight reduction of 80kg, the 0-62mph time for both models is down from 4.6 seconds to 4.1 seconds with the dual-clutch gearbox. That’s two-tenths quicker than the Mercedes C63 AMG Edition 507.
Just like the BMW 4 Series has taken over from the previous 3 Series Coupe, the BMW M4 replaces the old BMW M3 Coupe. The new BMW M3 saloon is a straight replacement for the previous model.
Production versions of the BMW M4 and M3 will debut together at January’s Detroit Motor Show, with first deliveries here in June 2014. The folding hard-top Convertible will arrive later in the year. But our sources tell us the 3 Series GT, 3 Series Touring and forthcoming 4 Series Gran Coupé won’t get the ‘M’ treatment.
The BMW M4 coupe will cost from £56,653 when it arrives here, with the M3 saloon starting at £56,175.
The weight loss achieved over the outgoing models has been managed through the use of more lightweight materials like carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Both the M3 and the M4 get a CFRP roof – saving around 5kg – and a CFRP strut brace under the bonnet. The use of CFRP extends underneath the bodywork, too, with a new prop shaft made from the lightweight material. BMW says that’ll allow for a more responsive powertrain.
What’s certain is that it’ll be a more flexible engine than ever before, with 550Nm of torque available from just 1,800rpm. The old V8 only hit its maximum 400Nm torque figure at 3,900rpm. There’s a fuel economy advantage, too, with both cars capable of 34mpg and emitting 194g/km of CO2. That’s compared with 23mpg and 290g/km in the outgoing M3.
A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard, featuring an auto-blip function on downshifts, while a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available as an option. M-Division’s engineering boss Albert Biermann tells us he sees a manual box as a “non-negotiable part” of the package. As well as the Launch Control feature integrated in to the gearbox there’s also a ‘Smokey Burnout’ mode for dramatic take-offs.
There’s an Active M Differential to help improve traction, an M Dynamic Mode to the traction control, which allows owners a generous amount of slip angle without turning the control off completely, and a new electromechanical steering set-up. The latter features three modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport+, offering different levels of steering assistance.
The M3 and M4 are marked out from lesser models in the range by a new aerodynamic bodykit, lending them a much lower and wider look. A wider track front and rear will aid stability and fill out the flared wheelarches, while a revised M differential will help the driver to execute the smoky drifts for which these cars are famous. Plus, new electromechanical steering will be tuned for sharper reactions than the standard car.
You get the familiar twin-stalk M wing-mirrors and a set of new M air vents in the flanks to help the cars slice through the air better. New spoilers help to improve downforce.
The BMW M4 interior features the excellent M steering wheel, along with door sills, a gearshift, seats and an instrument cluster all adorned with the M badge. The seats themselves are inspired by racing bucket seats but can be made electronically adjustable and heated as an option.
UK cars include Adaptive M suspension, 19-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, heated and electric BMW M seats and exterior-folding mirrors as standard. High-gloss Shadowline exterior trim and a full BMW Professional Media package are also thrown in.
On the options list are carbon-ceramic brakes, a heads-up display, active cruise control and fatigue detection. BMW will also offer an M Laptimer app for smartphones, allowing owners to hook their device up to the car and record things like speed, revs and lateral acceleration around a track.