Say hello to the new BMW M3 & M4, and we know exactly what you’re going to say, what on earth is going on with those grilles? Well there’s more to these cars than meets the eye. It has a 3-litre, turbocharged straight-six engine developing 503bhp and 479lb ft!
It’s been well documented that the new BMW M3 & M4 would feature those grilles. It’s probably the biggest talking point and most contentious issue that has faced a new car launch. It’s also not hard to see why, it’s not exactly divisive, with the majority deciding it just doesn’t work. But, look past that for a moment and look at the facts and figures, the new BMW M3 & M4 are aiming to be class leaders again.
Anyone who’s into cars will be excited by a new BMW M3. BMW says that it has listened to its customers who wanted M cars that differentiated themselves from the regular run-of-the-mill and tepid models, and there’s no denying the latest set of cars do that. While the regular M340i is free from the large grilles, the new BMW M3 brings them in from the BMW M4, so that’s the biggest and most obvious difference.
Next up, and continuing at the front, you have those angled air intake vents that point directly towards an oil cooler and of course the brakes/wheels. On the bonnet, there are sculpted vents, or none vents as they aren’t open, just an aerodynamic design feature. Follow your eyesight down the side of the car and you’re met with thumping great wheel arches, some 80mm wider than the standard 3-series. This is reminiscent of the BMW E30 M3 that had flared arhces.
At the rear you have a shark-fin style diffuser with signature quad exhaust, while the carbon roof remains on top, you get more sculpted aerodynamic design features, further differentiating itself from the regular BMW 3 and 4-series. You also get extended sills for better air control underneath the car.
Don’t forget, there will also be an estate version coming, too!
New BMW M3 & M4 – let’s talk numbers
Right, let’s get to it. Under the bonnet is the new S58 engine, 3.0-litres in displacement, in-line six cylinder motor with twin-turbos (each of which works three cylinders). The cars you see here are competition spec and get 503bhp and 479lb ft, mated to an eight-speed autobox, making 0-62mph sprint times of 3.9 seconds. Remember, this is rear-wheel drive, so traction is still an issue. In the future you’ll see the M four-wheel drive system added which will drop that figure significantly. It’ll also mean that you can shift some of the power rearwards at the tap of a button, and that same button, if pressed twice, will allow for full rear-wheel drive to create new clouds.
Interestingly, the UK is only getting the competition-spec cars and sadly neither the new BMW M3 and M4 (in the UK) will be fitted with a manual gearbox. Simply put, the manual option isn’t up to the job of withstanding the increased power figures. We say increased because abroad, buyers will be given the option of a second engine, which reduces power to 480bhp, but does allow for a manual gearbox.
There’s a fancy limited-slip differential for the RWD-only cars and in the all-wheel drive versions due later, it does away with a diff and replaces it with a clutch pack to allow power to be sent each way. There’s also a new fancy traction control system that has 10 settings, yes 10. At the lower end you have traction settings for wet weather, the middle for dry on the road driving and at the top, all-guns-blazing track mode with limited assistance.
There are some other cool, if not a little gimmicky, tech on board including an “M Drift Analyser” that apparently records the length, time and angle of your drift and compares you to the best scores via the iDrive. Maybe we borrow one and get Baggsy behind the wheel to set some records…
Other cool tech includes settings for even the brake pressure you require, now that the braking system is brake-by-wire. You also have control of the now industry standard adaptive dampers as well as steering wheel weight, throttle response, transmission, sound and traction control.
A new track-spec pack is also available which brings about a 25kg weight saving thanks to carbon ceramic brakes, carbon fibre bucket seats and some lighter wheels mated to semi-slick tyres. We bet that costs a lot…
There will also be M-performance parts available for the new BMW M3 and M4 cars, photos of which are now appearing online and feature a central quad exhaust, a small wing, new splitter, wheels and various other parts including carbon sills and a carbon diffuser.