Undaunted by the pre-reveal leaks on Tuesday (22 September), BMW has officially unveiled the highly controversial new M3 and M4 in range topping Competition guise.
As previewed by the series of spy, leaks and teaser images, the internally designated G80 and G82 models feature the same contentious upright kidney grilles as that of the new 4 Series, with Munich’s Vice President of Design, Adrian van Hooydonk, describing the look as “function-driven, pure and reduced without compromise”.
Flanked by standard LED or optional Matrix Laserlight LED headlights, the M specific touches include a black finish for the grille, a carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof on both models, M mirrors painted gloss black on the Competition, new widened door sills, quad exhaust outlets finished in black chrome on the Competition, and from the options list, an M Carbon exterior package as well as the Shadowline pack.
Debuting in two new hues, Isle of Man Green Metallic and Sao Paulo Yellow, the colour palette consists of Alpine White, Skyscraper Grey Metallic, Sapphire Black Metallic, Brooklyn Grey Metallic, Toronto Red Metallic and Portimao Blue Metallic with buyers also able to choose from the Individual and Frozen range of hues.
Mounted as standard on 18-inch alloy wheels at the front and 19-inch inches at the rear with the Competition getting 19 and 20-inches respectively, the move from standard 3 Series and 4 Series has had an effect on the overall dimensions with the M3 being 85 mm longer and the M4 24 mm on the wheelbase front. In the case of the former, the width has been widened by 75 mm and the height dropped by two millimetres, while those of the M4 have been increased by 40 mm and 10 mm respectively.
Riding on the same CLAR platform as the standard models, considerable revisions have taken place underneath the skins, namely the inclusion of a revised Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers, an aluminium front subframe and axle, double joint front springs, wishbones and ball joints, a five-link rear axle, stiffer chassis and a new front axle subframe. In total, three standard driving modes are offered; Comfort, Sport and Sport+.
What’s more, the M tuned electric Servotronic power steering has been tweaked but still comes with two modes (Comfort and Sport), the M Driving mode selector updated with ten settings of slip for the traction control and three for the engine (Efficient, Sport and Sport+) and the Dynamic Stability Control programmed to be switched off entirely with drive, in xDrive models, going to the rear wheels solely.
Braking-wise, the M Compound brakes are standard and utilise a blue or optional red or black painted six-piston fixed front caliper setup at the front and single at the rear with the discs measuring 380 mm and 370 mm respectively. Painted gold, and available as an option, the M Carbon ceramic stoppers retain the same caliper configuration, but with larger discs measuring 400 mm at the front and 380 mm at the rear.
Inside, the overall look and design remains unchanged from the 3 Series and 4 Series, but with a series of specific M additions such as an anthracite M roofliner and M Sport steering wheel with red M1 and M2 buttons like on the M5, M badges, high gloss, aluminium or carbon fibre inlays, optional carbon fibre gear shift paddles and M Sport seats trimmed in fine grain Merino leather of full leather finished in black with anthracite inserts, Yas Marina Blue/black, Silverstone/black or Kyalami Orange/black.
From the BMW Individual catalogue, the mentioned inlays can be specified in Fineline Black with silver effect open pore wood, while the seats are timed in leather in offered in Ivory White, Fjord Blue/black, Tartufo and Fiona Red/black.
Also from the options list are the new M Carbon bucket seats that weigh 9.6 kg less than the standard seats, while the M Mode is standard on both models and comes with three settings; Road, Sport and Track with the activation of the latter resulting in the showing of a colour Heads-Up Display with M specific readouts.
As part the M Drive Professional system that comes standard on the Competition, two new readouts are located within the 10.25-inch infotainment system, a laptimer and an M Drift analyser. The infotainment system boasts the same 7.0 operating system as the rest of the BMW line-up, and forms part of the Live Cockpit Professional setup that includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with M graphics.
Up front, forward momentum is provided by the new 3.0-litre S58 twin-turbocharged straight-six engine rated at 353kW/550Nm and 375kW/650Nm in the Competition. As alluded to before, a six-speed manual gearbox is offered as standard on the former, with the option, and sole transmission for the Competition, being an eight-speed Steptronic.
In terms of performance, both the M3 and M4 will get from 0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 250 km/h or 290 km/h with the optional M Driver’s Package included, while the Competition will dispatch the benchmark sprint in 3.9 seconds with the respective 0-200 km/h times being 13.7 and 12.5 seconds.
Debuting next year, both Competition versions will come with mentioned xDrive all-wheel-drive for the first time, equipped with the same modes as the M5 namely 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD. As indicated previously, the much vaunted M3 Touring will join in 2022, however, no mentioning, as yet, has been made about the rumoured CS and CSL models.
In the United States, sales commence in March next year with pricing from $69 000 (R1 166 688) and $71 800 (R1 214 032) for the M3 and M4, and from $72 800 (R1 230 940) and $74 700 (R1 263 067) for the Competition. BMW South Africa has however confirmed that only the Competition derivatives will become available from the first half of next year, meaning purists will miss-out on the manual transmission.