• M4 coupé

2021 BMW M3 and M4 Debut with Manual, AWD, up to 503 hp

Welcome to M-Town, where too much is just right.

Jim Kenzie By: Jim Kenzie September 24, 2020
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BMW has revealed the latest in their iconic line of sports sedans and coupés with the new M3 sedan and M4 coupé. BMW says the “market launch” will be spring 2021. When they will actually arrive in Canada remains to be seen.

But BMW will be happy to take your pre-order money now. Prices start at $84,300 for the M3 sedan, and $85,100 for the M4 coupé.

The first thing you will see – you couldn’t miss it with your eyes closed – is the latest iteration of BMW’s iconic twin-kidney grille. During a conference call with Domagoj Dukec, head of design for BMW Automobiles, he mentioned that back in BMW’s earliest days, this design element had a purely functional purpose – to get cool air into the engine. And especially with turbocharged engines, getting enough air into the engine compartment is always a big issue.

He noted that many famous brands – Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz being among the most obvious – also have characteristic grille shapes, but which vary from model to model. Similarly, he pointed out that different current BMWs have differently-shaped designs, and he hopes customers for the new M3 and M4 will like the shape they have chosen for these new cars.

M4 coupé

M4 coupé

Speaking of the engine, the twin-turbo 3.0L inline 6-cylinder produces 473 hp at 6,250 r.p.m. and 406 lb-ft of torque between 2,650 and 6,130 r.p.m., a remarkably high rev number for a torque peak. That’s 48 more horses than before, sufficient to launch the cars from rest to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds.

Can’t afford to wait that long?

An extra four grand will get you the “Competition” models which develop 503 hp at 6,250 r.p.m. and 479 lb-ft between 2,750 and 5,500 r.p.m. This brings that 0-100 km/h acceleration number down to 3.9 seconds. Both engines red line at 7,200 r.p.m.

Most customers will probably opt for the eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. If you get a Competition variant, you don’t have any choice.

Happily for base cars, a six-speed manual transmission will be offered on rear-wheel drive models.

What other models will there be, you might well ask?

M4 coupé

M4 coupé

For the first time, BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive will be offered in the M3/M4, a rear-biased system to emphasize the performance nature of these cars.

Most of the time the car will be rear-drive. The front wheels will add extra traction if the car concludes it would be prudent to do so.

You can however lock the car into rear-drive if, say, you’re on a track, or you want to tear up a perfectly good pair of tires doing burn-outs…

Massive bracing throughout the car ensures the body will be stiff enough to handle the power.

The adaptive suspension can change damper settings in milliseconds, to optimize ride comfort and handling. The driver can choose Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus settings, each successively firmer, depending on the road, and your mood at the moment.

The standard six-piston fixed-caliper front / single-piston floating-caliper rear brake system with blue, red or black calipers should do for most drivers.

M4 coupé

M4 coupé

If you deem these insufficient, you can opt for the carbon ceramic set up. Your neighbours will know because these calipers are painted gold.

Inside, higher quality materials and various M-specific details, notably sports seats, all add to the driving experience.

Really serious drivers can order “M Carbon” front  bucket seats, with carbon-fibre reinforced plastic construction which saves about 10 kg. The headrests on these seats can be removed to make room for wearing a helmet, and there is provision for five-point racing seat belts.

Designer Dukec perhaps summed it up best when he said that the M Division’s slogan is, “Welcome to M-Town, where too much is just right.”

Sounds like my kind of car. Can’t wait to drive it.

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