The introduction of a new BMW M3 and its M4 coupe variant is always a momentous occasion, as the cars have traditionally set the benchmark for the respective small sport sedan and sport coupe segments.
Judging by the specs, this will likely be the case for the latest 2021 BMW M3 and M4 which were revealed late on Tuesday. They reach showrooms next March priced from $70,895 for the M3 and $72,795 for the M4. Both figures include destination.
Both cars follow a similar formula to their respective predecessors but BMW has mixed things up a bit with the availability of all-wheel drive. The system is the same rear-biased M xDrive configuration that debuted in the latest M5. It not only splits torque between the axles but also between the rear wheels. It also has a function that allows the driver to select a rear-wheel-drive mode at the push of a button.
And once again, unlike many of its rivals, the M3 and M4 continue to offer a manual transmission, in this case a 6-speed. The alternative this time around is an 8-speed automatic, and not a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission like in the predecessor models.
Power comes from the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 that debuted in the 2020 BMW X3 M and X4 M. The engine delivers 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque in the base M3 and M4 and 503 hp and 479 lb-ft in the Competition models.
2021 BMW M4
2021 BMW M4
2021 BMW M4
2021 BMW M4
BMW quotes a 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds for the base M3 and M4 and a top speed limited to 155 mph as standard or 180 mph when the available M Driver's Package is added. The Competition models accelerate to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and have the same top speeds as the base models.
Note, the base models come exclusively with the manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, while the Competition models come exclusively with the automatic and the option of all-wheel drive. The cars will arrive in March with rear-wheel drive only. BMW said the all-wheel-drive option will be available next summer.
2022 BMW M3 Touring spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Further out, BMW will add an M3 Touring wagon (though not in the United States), an M4 Convertible, and possibly a new M4 Gran Coupe. And while it's yet to be confirmed, we should see a repeat of the M4 CS, and potentially a new M4 CSL sitting in the same space as the former M4 GTS. Both of these hardcore models will likely arrive in coupe format only.
The curb weights are 3,830 pounds for the sedan and 3,880 pounds for the coupe, at their lightest. That's impressive as both models feature body and chassis enhancements over the standard 3-Series and 4-Series without increasing the weight significantly. Some of these enhancements include a unique double-joint spring strut front suspension made from aluminum, as well as adjustable dampers at each corner.
2021 BMW M4
Huge brakes are also included as standard. They include six-piston calipers up front and single-piston calipers at the rear clamping down on 15-inch rotors up front and 14.5-inch rotors at the rear. Even larger carbon-ceramic brake rotors are available. The wheels measure 18 inches up front and 19 inches at the rear as standard but can be upgraded to 19-inch wheels at the front and 20-inch wheels at the rear.
When it comes to driving at the track, the M3 and M4 have been fitted with upgraded water and oil coolers. Part of this system is the oil sump which features two chambers and a map-controlled oil pump. When extra, controlled lubrication is needed, such as during hard driving, oil is pulled from the smaller sump chamber to ensure proper supply. Also ideal for the track is the M Traction Control system, part of the optional M Drive Professional system, which can be adjusted through 10 stages.
2021 BMW M3
M Drive Professional is a new feature that can best be described as a performance data recorder. It includes features like the M Laptimer and M Drift Analyzer which presents track-driving information via the instrument cluster or available head-up display, and can record this info for analysis away from the car. The M Drift Analyzer can even record the duration, distance covered, line and angle of a drift with a rating shown in the instrument cluster.
As for the styling, both models stand out due to their aggressive front-end sections, with the M3 adopting the large kidney grille design of the latest 4-Series range. Both models are also 0.4 inches wider than their respective predecessors. Inside, the cars come standard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.25-inch infotainment display. There are also useful electronic-driver assist features including adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, and the aforementioned head-up display.