Due on UK sale next March in more potent Competition form only, the new performance models offer up to 503bhp from a six-cylinder engine and, for the first time, an optional fully variable M xDrive four-wheel drive system. Prices will start from around £65,000 for the M3 Competition and £70,000 for the M4 Competition.
The M4 xDrive coupé and its M3 xDrive saloon sibling are planned to follow the initial rear-wheel-drive models into showrooms next summer.
Along with the saloon and coupé, BMW is also developing the first ever M3 Touring estate, as well as a follow-up to the M4 Cabriolet and a new M4 Gran Coupé four-door in an expanded line-up that’s also set to include even more powerful, track-focused CS derivatives later down the line.
Radical design changes
High visual impact is a key criterion to the styling of the M3 and M4, both of which are heavily differentiated from the lesser M340i xDrive and M440i xDrive models they’re respectively positioned above.
Ending a 35-year tradition, the models receive their own individual front-end styling, dominated by a large vertical grille that features seven double horizontal louvres and a mounting point for the front numberplate.
The new grille is similar in shape to that adorning the new 4 Series but comprises two distinct elements, rather than being a single-frame design.
Further unique touches include a heavily structured front bumper, standard full-LED headlights, a bonnet that features two distinctive indents to accentuate the look of the grille, widened front wings and sills, air ducts within the front flanks and double-arm wing mirror housings.
The M3 and M4 also have a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic roof with two ‘rails’ running lengthways to optimise airflow, a boot-mounted spoiler and a reworked rear bumper with a multi-channel diffuser and a pair of chromed round tailpipes either side.
Overall, the M3 has grown: length is extended by 108mm over its predecessor, at 4794mm, width is stretched by 26mm to 1903mm and height is raised by 8mm to 1433mm.
The M4 once again shares the same length as its saloon sibling so is also 108mm longer than before, while its width is up by 18mm at 1887mm and height increased by just 1mm to 1393mm. Both cars feature the same 2857mm wheelbase, which is 45mm longer than that of their predecessors.