The BMW M3 and M4 are inarguably two of the most iconic BMWs. Both models are now in the sixth-generation and are very different from what we have known them to be. They get new engines, new chassis, new interiors and a new face as well. Now the biggest talking point is of course that really big grille, which seems to be inspired by Alfa Romeo cars from certain angles. The design of the grille on both performance cars has divided opinion on the internet and if you ask us for one, well, we aren't big fans of the grille. In a way, it reduces the charm of otherwise a pretty looking performance car. Well! Let's look beyond that grille and get into other details of the cars.
Both M models come standard with a carbon fiber roof or an optional moon-roof at no extra cost, M-specific front and side splitters, and staggered wheels - 18-inch up front and 19-inch at the rear. The higher performance Competition model gets 19-inch wheels at the front and 20-inchers at the rear. Then, there's also an optional M Carbon package available on both models, which adds more lightweight elements to the exterior and a shadow line finish on the exterior mirrors and rear spoiler. Even tailpipes are darkened. The big kidney grilles are flanked by full-LED headlights (with BMW Laser light available as an option), and a large curtain at the bottom of the bumper that runs across its width. And then you have a bunch of colour options to choose from. As far as the dimensions go, the new M3 and M4 have grown in size. The M3 is 116.84 mm longer, 10.16 mm wider and 2.54 mm taller than before while the M4 is 116.84 mm longer, 17.78 mm wider and 10.16 mm taller than its predecessor. However, there is no change in the wheelbase of both cars.
Under the hood is a brand new 3.0-litre, straight six-cylinder twin-turbocharged engine churns out 496 bhp and 650 Nm of peak torque in the Competition range and both new Competition Ms can clock triple digit speeds in a quick 3.8 seconds. The same unit in the standard M model belts out 467 bhp and 550 Nm of peak torque and they do the 0-100 kmph sprint in 4.1 seconds. Both models have a limited top-speed of 250 kmph while you have the option of the M Driver's package which increases the top speed to 290 kmph. The standard models get a six-speed manual transmission, while the Competition models are offer with an eight-speed automatic transmission which channels the power to the rear wheels only. BMW has also said that a rear-biased all-wheel drive (AWD) system with stability control is also on the cards.
Unlike traditional drive modes seen on its predecessor, the new M3 and M4 get specific M-modes that can be changed using the M button on the central console. So engine response, steering feedback and suspension setup, everything change depending on the mode - Efficient, Sport, and Sport Plus. While drive mode options for the chassis are Comfort, Sport, or Sport Plus. The M-specific power steering is selectable in both Comfort and Sport. The exhaust system also gets a special M Sound button making the exhaust note a bit sweeter. Then there are specific exhaust, braking, and suspension treatments as well. Under the skin it gets new front and rear axle sub-frames and added underbody bracing along with adaptive M dampers. The front brakes are six-piston fixed-caliper brakes with 379.46 mm discs, while the rear set are single-piston floating-callipers with 370.84 mm discs.
Both cars have been significantly updated on the inside as well. Both models get the new Merino leather bucket seats that offer excellent side bolstering, integrated head restraints with an illuminated model badge, and M-specific perforation for better ventilation. That said, optional package includes even lighter M Carbon seats that shed 9.5 kg over the standard bucket seats, thanks to a lightweight carbon fibre construction. They are wrapped in Alcantara and feature a new integrated headrest, even more aggressive side bolsters, a seat-bottom bolster, and an illuminated M badge.
Then, both models offer more space too. Front legroom in the new M3 actually decreases by 10.16 mm compared to the previous model, but the headroom has gone up by 7.62 mm. In the M4, front legroom also decreases by 12.7 mm, but front headroom improves by 12.7 mm. Both models get the same 10.3-inch central touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster seen in other BMWs and only the instrument cluster has M Specific graphics. The latest iDrive 7.0 operating system offer features like navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and BMW's personal voice assistant. A head-up display is optional on both models.
The M3 and M4 also get an optional M Drive Professional feature, which helps drivers analyse driving lines and times on race tracks. It also gets the M Drift Analyser, which records the duration of a drift, distance covered, and the line and angle, displaying a final rating on the Control Display after each drift. Moreover, iPhone users can also download an app that supports the M Drive Professional and M Drift Analyser and give a bird's-eye view of the track and access to a lap time comparison chart, as well as data like speed, accelerator position, and total G forces. Pretty cool enthusiast's stuff, isn't it? The standard Active Driving Assistant package 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, offering features like full-speed adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, active lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and high-speed automatic emergency braking.