Set to begin arriving with customers in March, 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.
The M4 xDrive coupé and its BMW 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 BMW M3 Touring estate, as well as a follow-up to the BMW 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 BMW M340i xDrive and BMW 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 BMW 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.