The wait is finally over.
The sixth-generation BMW M3 and second-generation M4 coupe have officially arrived. The 2021 BMW M3 and M4 are better than their predecessors in every way with more power, improved handling, and, for the first time ever, available all-wheel drive. And yes, the bold front-end grille design first featured on the 4 Series coupe has been applied to both.
Both M models are powered by an updated version of the S58 twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six now rated at 473 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 406 lb-ft of torque between 2,650 and 6,130 rpm. That's a 48 hp increase over the previous generation and a 59 hp and 73 lb-ft boost over the outgoing Competition models.
BMW claims the M3 and M4 will go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph. This increases to 180 mph when equipped with the optional M Driver's Package.
The Competition models receive a power boost to 503 hp (also at 6,250 rpm) and 479 lb-ft between 2,750 and 5,500 rpm and a reduced 0 to 60 mph of 3.8 seconds. Both Competition models redline at 7,200 rpm.
One interesting thing about the updated engine is that its cylinder head has a 3D-printed core that allows for improved coolant passage and reduced weight. As expected, buyers will have a choice between a six-speed manual and an 8-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission. Manual-equipped models benefit from a 50-pound weight reduction and better weight distribution.
Next summer, the M xDrive for Competition models will arrive. This rear-biased system allows for additional traction, distributing torque electronically between the front and rear wheels thanks to an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch and an Active M differential. Both are connected to the Dynamic Stability Control System.
Drivers can select from 4WD, 4WD Sport, and 2WD modes. The latter requires the DCS to be shut off. Other noteworthy driver-focused features include the standard Adaptive M suspension, M Traction Control system, and M Servotronic steering. A set of M Compound brakes are standard while gold-painted M Carbon ceramic brakes are optional.
All new M3s and M4s boast staggered forged M light-alloy wheels, 18-inches up front and 19-inches at the rear. Competition models have a size increase of 1-inch front and rear. A set of non-runflat performance tires are standard.
Styling-wise, the new M3 and M4 are bolder-looking than ever. Compared to the previous M3, the new model is 4.6-inches longer, 0.4-inches wider, 0.1-inches higher, and with a 1.8-inch longer wheelbase. The new M4 shares the same increase in length and wheelbase dimensions but is 0.7-inches wider and 0.4-inches higher than its predecessor.
Yes, the new kidney grille design remains a source of controversy, but BMW says the size increase is justified in order to fulfill the engine's cooling requirements. The two-section aperture design has brake air ducts on the inside and air supply for the radiators on the outside. There are also vertical intakes at the outer edges of the front bumper. Full-LED headlights are standard while Adaptive LEDs and BMW Laserlight are available.
Also, take note of the race car-inspired extended side sills that increase downforce and optimize aerodynamic balance. Flared front and rear wheel arches, a carbon fiber roof, and rear diffuser are standard.
Outback you'll find L-shaped LED taillights and twin pair exhaust tips. An optional M Carbon exterior package tacks on front air intake inlays, rear diffuser, and exterior mirrors all made from carbon fiber. A total of 10 exterior colors are offered for the M3 and nine for the M4.
The interior has new M sports seats with leather trim and pronounced side bolsters and an illuminated M badge. One noteworthy new and optional feature are the racing-inspired M Carbon bucket seats that weigh 21 pounds less than the standard seats. Aluminum trim is standard while carbon fiber and piano black trims will cost you more.
BMW's Live Cockpit Professional with a 12.3-inch display and a 12.25-inch high-res touchscreen display is standard, as is iDrive 7.0. A head-up display is optional and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard.
Drivers can utilize either the touch control or iDrive controller to control functions such as engine response, damper settings, braking, and steering feel. M Drive Professional is a brand new feature that provides drivers with analyzed feedback for improved lap performance and even drift ratings.
Pricing for the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 will begin at $69,900 and $71,800, respectively, plus $800 destination. Sales will officially begin next March.