You might have already seen online photo leaks of them, but what are possibly one of the most anticipated cars of the decade have been officially uncovered – the BMW M3 Saloon and M4 Coupe.
What used to be the M3 coupe is now the M4 Coupe, carrying on BMW’s new agenda of naming their coupes after even numbers. Apart from the new model designation for the coupe, the new M3 and M4 now use a turbocharged inline-six engine rather than the high-revving naturally-aspirated V8 engine from the previous M3.
The engine for the M3 and M4 is a new mono-scroll, twin-turbocharged, 3.0-litre engine producing 431hp and 550Nm of torque. While the new engine doesn’t rev as high as its V8 predecessor, it still has a high rev-limit of 7,600rpm. All cars come equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, while a seven-speed M DCT (M Double Clutch Transmission) gearbox is available as an option.
The engine has around 40 per cent more torque than the 4.0-litre V8 it replaces, and it is fully available from a low 1,850rpm. BMW is also claiming a 25 per cent reduction in fuel consumption over the previous M3 models, and it also weighs some 80kg less than before – thanks in part to using a carbon-fibre reinforced plastic roof.
Both the M3 and M4 have the same acceleration figures, 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds (4.1 sec with M DCT) and a limited top speed of 250km/h. The M DCT-equipped cars produce a fairly low (for a turbocharged six cylinder engine) CO2 figure of 194g/km, while the manual cars emit 204g/km.
The new cars get a sporty-sounding engine note thanks to a specially-tuned exhaust, and the six-speed manual transmission gets an auto-blip function for downshifts – removing the need for heel-and-toe downshifts. The M DCT gearbox gets Launch Control, as well as Stability Clutch Control – which opens the clutch when the car understeers in order to bring it back into line.
An electronically controlled limited-slip differential, Active M Differential, is standard. The driveshaft is made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, and there is also a “smoky burnout” function which enables the driver to light up the rear tyres at low speeds.
The M3 and M4 will ride on 18-inch wheels, while 19-inch items will be available as options. Carbon ceramic brake discs are an option too. They are also equipped with M Servotronic electromechanical power steering, which can be driven in COMFORT, SPORT, or SPORT+ modes.
The M3 and M4 will go on sale sometime next year, with their public debuts expected for the North American International Auto Show next month.