UK BMW M3 and M4 pre-orders have already topped 200 cars, say company officials.
The two new M-badged performance models, which both go on sale towards the end of June, traditionally sell well in the UK. Expectations are that UK buyers will account for 10 per cent of all BMW M4 sales.
As a result, BMW UK is targetting annual sales of 1200 M4s and 700 M3s in its first year on sale. Around 5000 units of the M4 are expected to be sold here over its seven-year life cycle.
Both the M3 and M4 are powered by a new turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine producing 425bhp. The new engine gets the M3 and M4 to 62mph in 4.3 seconds, when fitted with the standard six-speed manual gearbox. An optional seven-speed DCT drops that time to 4.1 seconds. The top speed of both models is limited to 155mph, but can be raised to 174mph as an option.
Official economy figures say that owners should expect around 32.1mpg on a combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 204g/km for the manual, and 194g/km for the DCT version.
One of the biggest changes is the move to turbocharge the M3 and M4, putting an end to 26 years of naturally-aspirated BMW M models. UK product manager Matt Collins says the news will create a talking point with fans of the brand: "I can understand why there might be some concern with moving to a new engine configuration, but we chose the configuration that best fits the vehicle. For these cars the turbo generates the right performance and the right kind of torque. It adds up to the right package.
"The turbocharging technology now in these cars really is phenomenal. It's very lightweight, and the smaller engine displacement means a smaller engine overall which in itself saves more weight. There are benefits here that you can't necessarily get from a naturally-aspirated engine."
The manufacturer says it has saved around 80kg of weight from both models by using aluminium and carbonfibre in their construction. An aluminium bonnet alone saves 8kg, while a lightweight battery shaves off another 12.8kg.
The UK is currently the second-largest market for M-badged models.
Production of the M3 and M4 is due to get underway in March, with prices starting at £56,175 for the M3 and £56,635 for the M4.