Moving into its fifth generation for the M3 Sedan and the fourth-generation M3 Coupé, now dubbed the M4, BMW M GmbH continues its performance legacy as it blends sporty genes with everyday usability.
Low-slung and aggressive in its stance, the M3 and M4 duo share many of the same styling cues like the detailed front apron that proudly houses the M-badge in the infamous kidney grille.
With fun-to-drive characteristics topping the agenda, BMW put the new breed of M3/M4 on a healthy diet of aluminium rather than conventional steel, resulting in a weight loss of around 80kgs for the M4 Coupé.
Weight-saving was achieved by introducing the Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics(CFRP) roof to the M3 Sedan for the first time, which was previously confined to the Coupé derivative only.
Parked silently, laying in waiting, the M3/M4 might look calm when motionless but awaking the German at the press of the start button, leaves you in awe. Its grumpy growl from the rear exhaust pipes makes you tingly, as the high-revving, six-cylinder in-line engine, with M TwinPower turbo technology (newly developed for these M cars), is awoken.
While purists might be disappointed to see that the monstrous V8 powertrain is no longer, the new six-cylinder is no slouch! Stuffed with 317kW of power and 550Nm of torque the revs climb with a vengeance and can propel both cars from 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds when fitted with the optional smooth-shifting seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (DCT).
The car comes standard with a six-speed transmission with throttle blipping and although this optional wasn’t available to drive at launch, we’re sure the manual transmission offers an engaging drive and will resonate with the traditionalist.
For top speed runs, drivers will be able to reach speeds of 250 km/h (electronically limited) or 280 km/h if the optional M Driver’s Package is specified. It’s a serious blitzkrieg, but the car is so well composed and impeccable on the road, you won’t even notice the speed climbing to the higher end of the scale.
The new turbo technologies housed beneath the bonnet, means the new M3/M4 sees a fuel consumption improvement of more than 25 percent over the outgoing model. In fact, BMW report a combined fuel cycle of 8.3 litres/100km and a CO2 emission rating of 194g/km.
We will be the first to admit that you will be hard pressed to achieve anywhere close to these figures because of the car’s scintillating characteristics.
The new breed of M3/M4 has been parcelled up so well. It offers fantastic everyday qualities with exceptional ride quality. But, there’s no denying this lot does enjoy being hustled around at pace,which every M driver will surely oblige.
Thankfully the plethora of safety features and electronic driving aids will nanny you without clamping down on your fun. However, for those who want to try tame the beast, you can turn it all off. Just beware, the sting in the tail.
These BMWs are definitely worthy custodians of the highly regarded M3/M4 badge. Its gorgeously appointed interior and flamboyant styling lets you know it‘s arrived.
Personally, from a driver‘s point of view, the M3 does seem to offer something extra. There’s more exhaust noise entering the cabin and it delivers a well-weighted drive as everything syncs in perfect harmony. Although, once you clamp your eyes on the M4 in its Coupé silhouette, you won’t be able to pry them from its stunning profile.
As with every BMW these models offer a host of optional equipment to personalise your car to your liking. The new BMW M3/M4 comes standard with a five-year/100 000km Motor Plan.
|BMW M3 Sedan six-speed manual transmission||R966 918.40|
|BMW M3 Sedan seven-speed auto transmission||R1 014 392.40|
|BMW M4 Coupe six-speed manual transmission||R1 016 418.40|
|BMW M4 Coupe seven-speed auto transmission||R1 063 892.40|