2021 BMW M3 and M4 sport sedan and sport coupe are fully revealed. This is the most important performance car in the German automaker portfolio, the company has looked into building on their success with all-new versions and now in the sixth generation and more powerful than ever.
Starting under the hood, the cars have a twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 473 hp (352 kW / 479 PS) and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque. The Competition variants are a tad more powerful as they have 503 hp (375 kW / 510 PS) and 479 lb-ft (650 Nm) of torque.
Thanks to the added power, the M3 and M4 can accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 4.1 seconds, before hitting a top of 180 mph (290 km/h) when equipped with the M Driver’s Package. The Competition variants are even faster as the dash to 60 mph (96 km/h) is cut to 3.8 seconds, but the top speed remains unchanged.
Enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief as the company announced the standard M3 and M4 will be offered with a six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive. Besides keeping drivers involved, the gearbox weighs 50 lbs (22.7 kg) less than the eight-speed automatic and BMW says this helps to improve front-to-rear weight distribution.
Due to the extra torque, the Competition variants are automatic-only. To compensate, there’s a rev-matching downshift function and a manual mode that is controlled by steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
To ensure the cars handle in a traditional BMW M fashion, torque is directed to the rear wheels during normal driving. When extra traction is needed, power is sent to the front wheels for added grip.
The all-wheel drive system has three different modes including the default 4WD setting. 4WD Sport directs more torque to the rear wheels during dynamic driving and is designed to work “particularly well” on the track. Customers can also select 2WD which switches off the dynamic stability control system and allows fans to enjoy a “pure rear-wheel drive experience without any system intervention.”
In the center console, just to the left of the iDrive controller, is a new model-specific M Mode button. Unlike traditional tactile drive mode buttons found on other cars, the single M Mode option gives you access to a dedicated M Mode settings screen where you can adjust things like the engine, suspension, and steering. Drive mode options for the engine include Efficient, Sport, and Sport Plus, while drive mode options for the chassis are Comfort, Sport, or Sport Plus, and the M-specific power steering are selectable in both Comfort and Sport. The exhaust system, meanwhile, gets a special M Sound button that improves the note synthetically.
Other than the obvious engine and drivetrain upgrades that the M3 and M4 get over their base counterparts, the two also get model-specific exhaust, braking, and suspension treatments. Upgrades to the underbody include new front and rear axle subframes and additional underfloor bracing, as well as adaptive M dampers.
There is a new high-performance braking system which features six-piston calipers and 15 inch (380 mm) discs up front, as well as single-piston rear calipers which grab onto 14.6 inch (370 mm) discs.
Customers can also opt for a carbon ceramic braking system that has gold painted calipers as well as discs which measure 15.7 inches (400 mm) front and 15 inches (380 mm) rear.
Moving further back, there’s a bulging hood and front fender vents. The models also have sporty side skirts, aerodynamic mirrors and a more aggressive rear bumper. The latter houses a black diffuser and openings for a four-tailpipe sports exhaust system.
The cars come equipped with LED headlights, a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic roof and tinted taillights. Customers can also order an M Carbon exterior package which adds a number of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic components including a rear spoiler, diffuser and mirror caps.
The standard M3 and M4 ride on forged alloy wheels which measure 18-inches front and 19-inches rear. Competition variants have larger 19- and 20-inch wheels with a polished rim that helps to accentuate their size.
The M3 and M4 get a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment system with latest iDrive 7.0 operating system, cloud-based BMW Maps as well as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Unsurprisingly, there are a handful of M-specific features including an M Drift Analyzer and an M Laptimer.
Other highlights also include a standard Active Driving Assistant package, which includes lane departure warning, speed limit information, active blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear-automatic emergency braking. But the Competition models get BMW’s more advanced Driving Assistance active safety suite as an option. That package includes features like full-speed adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, active lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and high-speed automatic emergency braking.
New color options include Isle of Man Green metallic paint on the M3 pictured here, as well as Sao Paolo Yellow on the M4. But buyers can also choose from other hues like Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Brooklyn Grey, Oxide Grey, Portimao Blue, Toronto Red, Tanzanite Blue II, Individual Dravit Grey, Individual Frozen Brilliant White, and Individual Frozen Portimao Blue.
The 2021 BMW M3 will cost $69,900 to start, while the new BMW M4 starts at $71,800 (not including $995 for destination). The more powerful BMW M3 Competition, meanwhile, starts at $72,800 and the M4 Competition begins at $74,700. BMW has not released pricing on the all-wheel-drive M3 and M4 Competition models, as those won’t arrive until later in 2021.