BMW has revealed the new M3 saloon and M4 Coupe – performance models faster than before yet greener than ever.
The four-door M3 and two-door M4 Coupe both use the same 3.0-litre straight-six engine which produces 431hp. For the first time in an M3, the engine’s twin-turbocharged: don’t worry, at 7600rpm, the redline is still set high and BMW promises it’s still a revvy engine.
Crucially though, it has 40% more torque than the old 4.0-litre V8, and this 405lb ft is spread flat between 1850-5500rpm. It is also 25% more fuel efficient, with average economy of 32.1mpg in the six-speed manual.
The seven-speed M-DCT gearbox is the one performance fans will want, though. The standard car accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds: the dual-clutch cuts this to 4.1 seconds. This version is actually greener too, averaging 34.0mpg and 194g/km CO2.
The manual gearbox has a throttle-blipping function for downshifts, while the M DCT has Launch Control and a Porsche 911 GT3-style Stability Clutch Control which opens the clutch when the car’s understeering to bring it back in line.
Both M3 and M4 Coupe have three-setting electric power steering, aluminium suspension and, of course, a rear-wheel drive chassis with fiendishly clever Active M Differential as standard. Impressively, the M4 Coupe is around 80kg lighter than the old M3 Coupe, and a carbon fibre roof helps reduce the centre of gravity.
Pleasingly, the CFRP roof is now fitted to the M3 saloon too.
Spotting the M3 and M4 Coupe
Visually, the new M3 and M4 Coupe have an M-branded double-slat kidney grille and super-aggressive front apron sitting below three massive air intakes (an engineer told us during the model preview how vital it was to get as much air into the car as possible).
The bonnet also has an M powerdome: here, it creates space for the intercooler.
At the side, the M gills have the BMW Air Breathers built in, which optimises airflow around the wheelarches, while the dark-coloured CFRP roof adds a bespoke look.
BMW’s proud of the super-flared rear wheelarches and high-gloss quad exhausts, and points out that while the M4 Coupe has a ducktail-style spoiler integrated into the carbon fibre bootlid, the better aerodynamics of the M3 saloon mean it can get away with a mere gurney flap.
Inside, it gets the full BMW M overhaul and adds an incredible set of BMW M seats: they’re inspired by bucket seats, says BMW, with flat construction, high bolsters and low-set positioning.
The new BMW M3 and M4 Coupe will even come with a new smartphone app: connect the phone to the car and speed, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, engine revs, gear, steering angle, accelerator position and fuel consumption are displayed – either through the iDrive display or the customer’s smartphone. Corner-by-corner comparisons can be made and data can then be shared by email.
BMW M3 saloon and M4 Coupe UK spec
BMW GB has confirmed UK cars will come with Adaptive M suspension, 19-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, heated and electric BMW M seats and folding door mirrors.
Inside, BMW Professional Media sat nav will be standard, as will upgraded Bluetooth.
BMW M3 saloon and M4 Coupe UK prices
The new BMW M3 saloon will cost £56,175; the M4 Coupe will cost £56,653. Both models will be revealed in public at the Detroit Motor Show in January: they will be launched in the UK on 21 June 2014.