BMW reveals bold new M3 sedan and M4 coupe ahead of 2021 arrival

WITH a look that’s sure to polarise fans of the traditional stylings of the BMW M3 and M4, the 2021 versions of the high performance sedan and coupe from the company’s M division, are set to thunder down under early in the new year.

The latest generation sports sedan and coupé feature all-new motorsport-inspired platforms, powertrains and dynamic designs, and are set to be offered in rear-wheel drive (at launch) and with M xDrive all-wheel drive, in Competition form.

There will also be a choice of 6-speed manual and 8-speed Streptronic automatic transmissions in the standard M3 and M4, with the BMW M TwinPower turbo six-cylinder in-line powerplant offering 353kW of power and 550Nm of torque.

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It will sprint to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds. But step up to the Competition specification, which arrives late in 2021, and you can haul booty all the way to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds, thanks to a performance boost that offers up 375kW and 650Nm.

The ultra-high performance variants will come fitted with the auto box.

Vital statistics aside, the new look is sure to polarise fans of the BMW high performance models, with the front end the most controversial feature of what are the fastest and most powerful M3 and M4 ever offered.

But if you can look past that grille (pun intended), you should know that the next gen M3 and M4 feature a new BMW M Drive Professional system, which includes features such as M Traction Control and M Drift Analyser (yes it will teach you how to drift better).

When it arrives early next year, buyers will have also the option of M Carbon bucket seats, which feature structure-based design, lightweight construction and integral head restraints that can be dismantled for track driving.

Both models, which were unveiled today, combine segment leading performance backed by four decades of racetrack knowledge and new generation styling packages that provide dominant and unmistakable presence.

Now more powerful than ever, the significant dynamic advances made over their predecessors are the product of a typically M development and tuning process conducted in part alongside testing for the new BMW M4 GT3 race car.

Further common ground between the new BMW M cars is found in the spectrum of emotions sparked by their powertrain and chassis, visually expressive design and new, M-specific control and operation system.

These range from the joy of driving a car so capable over long distances yet so dynamically adept in everyday use, to the thrill of a sporting machine let off the leash on race circuits.

Two turbos with indirect charge air cooling, a flow-optimised air intake system and a petrol direct injection system working with maximum pressure of 350 bar help generate the engine’s instantaneous power delivery, appetite for revs, and pure excitement.

A model-specific exhaust system with electrically controlled flaps provides an emotionally rich soundtrack.

A bespoke cooling system ensures optimal operating temperatures are maintained at all times for all powertrain components – in everyday driving over short distances and through town, but also when pushing to the limits of performance on the track.

BMW M’s track focused development of the new models also translates to increased chassis rigidity, improved body control, and precisely controllable handling.

Adaptive M suspension with electronically-controlled shock absorbers and M-specific kinematics and elastokinematics for the front and rear axles are standard features of the new BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupé.

They also have M Servotronic steering with a variable ratio and an M-specific version of the integrated braking system, which presents the driver with two different brake response and pedal feel settings.

In addition, the standard inclusion of M Dynamic Mode opens the door to a particularly sporty driving experience, complete with controlled drifting ability. Forged M light-alloy wheels (19-inch front and 20-inch rear) add to the driving capability.

It would be remiss of us to not cover off on the distinctive body design of the new models though, which according to the M division, sends out a bolder statement than ever of the performance supremacy and emotionally engaging driving experience on offer.

Contributors to the visually striking appearance of the two models include the M-specific version of the large, vertical BMW kidney grille with horizontal bars, and the powerfully sculpted wheel arches with eye-catching M gills.

Prominently extended side sills with attachment parts for the front and rear aprons add to this, as does the carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof with aerodynamically optimised fins, a rear spoiler and the two pairs of large exhaust tailpipes.

BMW Laserlight is fitted as standard equipment, allowing a high-beam range of more than 500 metres.

The selection of exterior paint finishes includes the new and exclusive shades Sao Paulo Yellow non-metallic, Toronto Red metallic and Isle of Man Green metallic. An optional M Carbon exterior package and model-specific BMW M performance parts can be ordered.

Among the interior design highlights are clearly structured surfaces and an ergonomically impeccable cockpit design that ensure the driver’s focus remains one hundred per cent on the intense driving experience.

Newly developed, electrically adjustable M sport seats and fine-grain Merino leather trim with extended features come as standard, with seat ventilation also available for the first time.

The control and display system of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupé comprises an array of new features which play their role in the cars’ supremely engaging driving experience.

M Drive Professional, which makes its debut on the new models, has been conceived specifically for track driving.

It includes the innovative new M Traction Control, which allows the new integrated wheel slip limitation function of the DSC system to be adjusted (through 10 stages) to the driver’s personal preferences and needs.

Other elements of M Drive Professional are the M Drift Analyser, which records and rates driving stats posted in dynamic cornering manoeuvres, and the M Laptimer, which supplies lap times and other information generated during track sessions.

The Setup button on the centre console provides direct access to the settings options for the engine, chassis, steering and braking system, plus – depending on the model and specification – the M xDrive system, Gear Shift Assistant and traction control.

Two individually composed configurations for the overall vehicle setup can then be stored and called up again instantaneously at any time using the M buttons on the steering wheel. The control panel on the centre console also houses the M Mode button.

This can be used to adjust the responses and characteristics of the driver assistance systems and the displays in the instrument cluster and Head-Up Display to deliver a driving experience suited to the situation at hand and worthy of the M badge.

The driver can choose from ROAD and SPORT settings, with the TRACK mode developed for outings on race circuits added to the armoury.

An array of new additions to the standard and optional equipment lists ensure the new models raise the bar further, not only in terms of racing flair but also comfort and functionality.

Cutting-edge driver assistance systems ease the driver’s workload in monotonous or unclear situations on the road.

Competition models come standard with driving assistant professional, including steering and lane control assistant, active cruise control, cross traffic warning for front and rear, lane departure warning and lane change warning.

Standard across the range is parking assistant plus with surround view and reversing assistant, the BMW head-up display with M-specific content and a road sign detection system.

Further standard equipment includes comfort access with keyless entry, three-zone automatic climate control, LED interior lighting, with ambient lighting, and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system.

BMW Live Cockpit Professional – with its fully digital display grouping, cloud-based navigation system BMW Maps and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant – is also fitted as standard on across the M3 and M4 range.

Additionally, updated wireless smartphone integration enables the use of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via the car’s operating system.

A steel roof with integral glass tilt/sliding sunroof is available as a no-cost option for both models as an alternative to the standard carbon-fibre version.

Local pricing and full specifications (including the full colour range), will be confirmed closer to the official launch of the 2021 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe.

Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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