2021 BMW M3 & M4 Revealed
BMW’s M performance division has stuck to the proven formula that has made the duo such a resounding success. The engineers at M GmbH have listened very closely to customers and journalists. One of the results: Unlike every competitor, you can still get the M3 and the M4 with a six-speed manual transmission. And even better, it is possible to turn off the rev-match system that all too often interferes when you are having fun with the clutch and gearbox.
Of course, there is no such thing as unconditional bliss, and the drawback is that the manual transmission is tied to the lower of two power levels: the entry-level M3 and M4, which are powered by a 473-hp variation of the upgraded S58 twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. The alternatives are the M3 Competition and its two-door sibling, the M4 Competition, which feature another power upgrade to a 503 horsepower and are solely available with an eight-speed automatic sourced from ZF. It is a quick-shifting unit that allows for automatic throttle blipping at downshifts and will select the lowest possible gear when the left paddle is held for an extended period of time.
Maximum power comes at 6250 rpm in both models, 950 rpm shy of the lofty 7200 rpm redline. Peak torque of 406 lb-ft is served up on a plateau from 2650 to 6130 rpm on the regular models, while the somewhat sharper Competition models produce 479 lb-ft from 2750 to 5500 rpm.
Both powertrains send the torque to the rear wheels, but BMW already announced an all-wheel-drive variant that will be offered solely on the automatic-only Competition models. Taking a page from the top-level M models, the all-wheel drive system will be rear-biased, and it will be possible to switch off the front axle entirely for some unfiltered drift action. Rear-axle torque is harnessed by a electronically controlled differential. When the optional M Drive Professional system is specified, axle slip can be adjusted on a range of a full 10 stages.
A 155-mph governor is standard, but it can be raised to 180 mph (in case speed limits are ever lifted). The sprint from zero to 60 mph takes a claimed 4.1 seconds in the regular models and drops to 3.8 seconds in the Competition models.