This is impossibly exciting. TWO hugely promising BMW M cars that, after a tantalising briefing last year, I’m finally getting to drive.
AND we start off on a race circuit in Portugal. AND we have two full days of driving cars that are the result of “meticulous and passion-fuelled development work” – something that’s also involved thousands (literally, thousands) of laps of the Nurburgring.
I can’t wait.
The specs show why not: 431hp is a handy boost, but the effect of boosting torque to 406lb ft, delivered across a massive rev range, is also significant. That’s 40% more than the outgoing M3! It’s going to transform how the M3 and M4 feel, particularly if BMW has, as it promises, cracked the turbo lag issue.
Yes, after going from four-cylinder, to six-cylinder, to V8, BMW’s now switched back to straight-six for the M3 and M4 here, filling in the power gap with a couple of turbos. There’s a whole section in the press pack on why it’s one of the most sophisticated engines of its type, and that’s what I’ll be reading on the plane in anticipation. What stands out here is the fact it’s 25% more fuel efficient yet, in ultimate M DCT guise, can hurtle from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds. That’s quick.
So I’m excited. But I’ve been here before, feeling similar anticipation: I did the first launch of the last-gen V8 M3 too (and that also followed a tech briefing into the car’s most intimate nuances). I liked that plenty, naturally (as did 40,000 customers), but was always slightly daunted by it. High limits needed digging in to discover, something not helped by the peaky V8. It was racy, but aloof in the buildup to it.
Here’s hoping the M3 and M4 are a bit more accessible, have a bit more everyday feel and feedback – aren’t all about uber-high limits. I reckon the torquey turbo and brilliant F30 chassis may help no end here: I’ll let you know my First 5 Minutes impressions on this as soon as I get behind the wheel.
What’s even more tantalising is the last shot in BMW’s release material. It shows a new M4 Coupe next to an original E30 M3. Suggesting that BMW knows that car was a legend, making sure we know it knows… and maybe thus confirming it believes the new cars are worthy modern-day interpretations of it?
In a few hours, I’ll be on my way to finding out. Join me on #MRBMWM3M4 for the ride.