2021 BMW M3 and M4 changes the face of ultimate driving machines
The BMW M3 is an icon, and the M4 is essentially an M3 coupe with a different number as decided by marketeers a few years ago. For decades, the compact sports sedan and coupe were the benchmark that everyone else chased. But BMW is taking a “bold new approach” for the sixth-generation 2021 BMW M3 (and M4), and well — look for yourselves.
The most obvious defining character for the M3 (and M4) used to be its handling performance. Now it’s the snout. It’s as if BMW’s designers came up with a generic-looking sedan and coupe, then realised it’s too generic, and then quickly added the most massive iteration of their ever-enlarging kidney grille, inspired by a classic car from your great grandpa’s era that no one remembers.
Looking beyond the face that only BMW management could love, the M3 (and M4) use a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six good for 473 hp and 550 Nm in the standard M models, allowing a 0-100 kph time of 4.1 seconds. The more powerful Competition models get 503 hp and 650 Nm, managing the 0-100 kph run in 3.8 seconds. Both versions have electronically limited top speeds of 250 kph, or 290 kph with the optional M Driver’s package. Transmissions include a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic. All-wheel-drive will be optionally available in a year.
The M3 (and M4) comes standard with a carbon fibre roof or an optional no-cost moonroof, M-specific front and side splitters, and staggered wheels (18-inch front and 19-inch rear for standard models and an inch bigger front and back for Competition models). There’s also an optional M Carbon package available which adds more lightweight exterior bits, and a Shadowline option that gives the exterior mirrors, rear spoiler and exhaust pipes a darkened finish.
Most interior features from the standard BMW 3-Series (and 4 Series) are carried over, such as the central touchscreen and digital instrument cluster, with subtle touches such as a red start button, optional carbon fibre trim pieces, M badging throughout the cabin and red M Mode buttons on the steering wheel to cycle between Road, Sport and Track settings.
Leather bucket seats with massive side bolsters, integrated head restraints with an illuminated model badge, and M-specific perforation for better ventilation are new. Optional M Carbon seats in Alcantara are even more aggressively bolstered and come in funky colours.
The M3 (and M4) also gets an optional M Drive Professional feature, which helps drivers analyse driving lines and times on race tracks. An M Drift Analyser records the duration of a drift, distance covered, and the line and angle, displaying a final rating on the Control Display after each drift. Users can also download an iPhone app that corresponds with the car to give them a bird’s-eye view of the track and access to a lap time comparison chart, as well as data like speed, accelerator position, and total G forces.
The M3 (and M4) may not be the prettiest car around now (and an emergency facelift will probably come in 2 years), but it should continue to be the benchmark sports sedan (and coupe) that every other premium brand looks up to.
Expect the new models to reach UAE and GCC showrooms by early next year, at prices well north of Dhs 300,000.
Keep track of updates in the BMW buyer guide.