SA will get only the higher-powered Competition versions of the new M3 sedan and M4 coupe. Picture: SUPPLIED
SA will get only the higher-powered Competition versions of the new M3 sedan and M4 coupe. Picture: SUPPLIED

After leaking information piecemeal over the past several months, BMW has officially taken the wraps off the new M3 four-door sedan and M4 two-door coupe.

The big talking point is their controversially styled grille which earlier this year made its debut in the 4 Series Coupe, the large vertical air intakes recalling the grilles of past models like the BMW 2000C of the 1960s and the 328 of the 1930s.

While the design may be polarising, the performance is unlikely to disappoint. When they globally go on sale in March 2021, the duo will offer a range of powertrain options based around BMW’s high-revving 3.0l straight-six twin-turbo engine, with the standard M3 and M4 models channelling 353kW and 550Nm to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

The transmission features a Gear Shift Assistant which blips the throttle when downshifting under braking into corners.

To take on the Mercedes-AMG C63 in the performance stakes, both the M3 and M4 will also be available in Competition guise with outputs of 375kW and 650Nm, paired with an eight-speed M Steptronic auto transmission.  

The two Competition models will initially be rear-wheel drives, but later also available with M xDrive all-wheel-drive — the first time the M3 and M4 will be available with an all-paw system. It’s a rear-biased AWD with an rear Active M Differential, and the driver can select a 4WD Sport mode that channels even more power to the back wheels.

Switching off the stability control engages 2WD mode to treat experienced drivers to what BMW terms an “uncorrupted” driving experience. An intermediate M Dynamic Mode provides controlled drifting ability while still using electronics to prevent unintended trips into the roadside scenery.

BMW quotes a 4.2 second 0-100km/h sprint time for the standard M3 and M4, with 0 to 200km/h taking 13.7 seconds. The Competition models carry out the respective feats in a claimed 3.9 seconds and 12.5 seconds. Top speeds are governed to 250km/h, or 290km/h with the optional M Driver’s package.

An exhaust system with electrically controlled flaps promises a hearty soundtrack.

To benefit handling when driving on the limits, the M-specific chassis has higher torsional rigidity than regular 3-Series and 4-Series models, and adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers come standard.

M Servotronic steering has a variable ratio and an M-specific integrated braking system has two different brake response and pedal feel settings.

Standard in the Competition versions is an M Drive Professional package for track driving. It features M Traction Control that can be adjusted through 10 stages, an M Drift Analyser which rates your power slides, and a lap timer.

The cars ride on forged M light-alloy wheels in 18-inch size at the front and 19-inch at the rear.

Sporting luxury is laid on by electrically adjustable M sport seats and fine-grain Merino leather. Picture: SUPPLIED
Sporting luxury is laid on by electrically adjustable M sport seats and fine-grain Merino leather. Picture: SUPPLIED

Sculpted wheel arches with M gills and prominently extended side sills identify the M3 and M4 as the top dogs in their respective ranges, as do their rear spoilers and two pairs of M-style tailpipes. The lightweight roof is made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) with aerodynamically optimised fins. LED headlights come standard, and Adaptive LED Headlights with BMW Laserlight are available as an option.

Paint colours include the new Sao Paulo Yellow nonmetallic and Isle of Man Green metallic seen here, along with new Toronto Red metallic.

An optional M Carbon exterior package and model-specific BMW M Performance Parts can be ordered from launch, as can an M Race Track Package with carbon ceramic brakes and lighter alloy wheels

Inside, sporting luxury is laid on by electrically adjustable M sport seats and fine-grain Merino leather trim, with seat ventilation also available for the first time. Optionally available are new M Carbon bucket seats that combine racing functionality with long-distance comfort.

SA will be getting only the M3 Competition Sedan and M4 Competition Coupe models (which means no manual transmissions for local drivers), with both to be introduced here in the first half of 2021.

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