Currently reading: New BMW M3 and M4 leak online ahead of tonight's unveiling
Next-generation performance duo share bold new front end and turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six
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3 mins read
22 September 2020

The next-generation BMW M3 saloon and its M4 coupé sibling have been revealed in a series of images posted online ahead of their official debut tonight. 

UPDATE: the new BMW M3 and M4 have been officially revealed - read the full story

Originally posted on Reddit, the high-quality images confirm that Munich's mechanically identical performance duo have a similar vertically oriented front grille to the newly revealed second-generation 4 Series, rather than a variation of the 3 Series' subtler front end. 

Elsewhere, significantly widened wheel arches set the M3 and M4 apart from their standard counterparts, while bespoke rear-end designs incorporate a prominent downforce-enhancing diffuser, a subtle lip spoiler and a quad-exit sports exhaust. The pair also receive unique wheel designs, a contrasting roof and new bonnets with added creases for a more aggressive look. 

The hotly anticipated performance saloons will use an extensively updated version of BMW’s twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine, producing 473bhp and 443lb ft in entry-level form. As with the X3 M and X4 M performance SUVs, a top-rung Competition variant (which will likely be the only available option in the UK) will produce in excess of 500bhp. 

For the first time on an M3, four-wheel drive will become an option soon after the new cars' launch but all forms of electrification are believed to have been vetoed. However, persistent reports suggest that they could be the final M models to be launched without some form of electrification; something made necessary by the increasing priority of meeting fleet-average CO2 targets.

There are no confirmed details about the pair's performance, but the lighter, more powerful cars will eclipse the current M3 CS’s 0-62mph time of 3.9sec. They will be sold with a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or an optional eight-speed automatic, but the auto will enable better performance figures thanks to a built-in electronic launch control system. 

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The M3 and M4 will also benefit from the increased rigidity offered by their part-aluminium, part-high-strength steel CLAR underpinnings. This is a key reason behind BMW already making class-leading claims about the dynamic abilities of the base 3 Series. The regular car’s wider track and uprated suspension systems should also give engineers the foundations for a more dynamically capable M3 and M4.

As well as offering greater performance potential, the stiffer chassis will reduce the amount of vibration transmitted into the cabin to enhance overall refinement. It should also allow engineers to adopt softer spring rates to give the M3 and M4 a more compliant ride in their most comfortable mode, without hampering the car’s overall dynamic ability. 

Inside, images show that the duo will follow in the M5's footsteps by swapping the current dash-top infotainment screen for one that’s more tidily integrated into the dashboard. The iDrive system will retain a rotary control knob, which has been praised for its ease of use in current cars.

The duo will also gain significantly more advanced driver assist features, but former BMW sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson has hinted to Autocar that most BMW models will steer clear of the full autonomous hardware suites to be used on i5 and i7 due from 2021. M models, in particular, will still possess a very driver-centric character.

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It remains uncertain whether the cars will feature an active rear-wheel steering system to enhance agility and boost high-speed stability. Although it is under consideration, the business case for developing the system for the M3 and M4 only is believed to be under debate. If the hardware does make the cut and is fitted to the super-saloon, it will not then be rolled out the standard 3 Series and 4 Series.

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Backintheseat 22 September 2020

More of the same

It's mostly always about speed and performance. How about more traditional luxuriousness. Most cars today are over engineered for speed and performance. They are building cars today that will go three times our speed limits in most countries. Most people can't and could not handle a car at speed in excess of our speed limits. Why? simply because we are not practiced at doing speeds faster then our limits. Judgements and reactions in a car are only as good as fimiliarity and that applies to all arts and crafts. What I am observing is that most motorists can't even use and don't use, the speed and performance of a common cheap car they have. I am a faster driver than most and I back off or brake before using my horn. I never abuse anyone who won't get out of my way but I do get a little frustrated that they are not using the power of their little cars. So don't try selling me speed because it is useless. I want more comfort and less gadgets. More beauty and less obsolesence thank you. I'm not buying the Emperors new clothes today thank you.

 

 

275not599 22 September 2020

It's not just the grill,

It's not just the grill, which looks like a TIE fighter doing a mating display, but the whole mess of a front end.  At least where I live you can get a vanity license plate so that it has JUST NO slapped across it.

Folsom 22 September 2020

M3 looks ok...

Can't belive I'm saying this but I was at a BMW dealership last Friday and think I like the new 7-series grill more than the pre-facelift more subtle one, and now today I find the new M3 'big-snout' attractive also - maybe its that radient green color in the pics but think the big grill actually suits the M3 4-door bodystyle!

Maybe I need to go lie down...