BMW reveals power figures for new M3/M4
Turbocharged versions of the coupe and saloon are coming, producing 430bhp…
The latest addition to one of the most iconic sports coupes lineage is nearly here, previewed first by that M4 Concept we saw a while back, and BMW has taken this opportunity to stick a big fat iron rod of interest into the fire. And yes, you read that right, M4 and M3: BMW will reserve the M3 badge for the saloon, and M4 for the coupe.
As we expected, BMW has confirmed that the engine is indeed a turbocharged straight six, returning the marque to the famous sixers from the E36 and E46 generation M3. Here, we're told the turbo'd engine - featuring two mono-scroll turbochargers - will rev to over 7,500rpm, whilst also being 25 per cent more fuel efficient than the outgoing V8 in the E92 M3. While the total horsepower creeps up slightly from the old V8's 420bhp, it's the excess of torque that's the big talking point, up to over 369lb ft from the E92's 295lb ft.
You get direct injection, variable valve timing and double ‘vanos' variable camshaft timing for, we're told, a wider power band to access all of those many, many torques. There's a closed-deck crankcase, while the cylinder bores feature ‘twin-wire' arc-sprayed coating, resulting in a reduction in overall engine weight. The crankshaft too, is forged and lighter, reducing rotating masses. This will help throttle response, so it should be as pointy as you like.
We're also promised a keen engine note, "in keeping with the motorsport level performance of the BMW M3 and M4", helpfully provided by a flap in the those famous twin-pipe exhausts. When this electronically-operated flap is activated, BMW reckons it'll produce a "BMW M sound which is striking and unmistakable". Anyone who's heard a 1 Series M Coupe burbling its way through a car park will attest to M Division's prowess with sixers.
It'll be offered with a standard six-speed manual gearbox (rejoice!), itself 12kg lighter than before, together with a function that blips the throttle on downshifts, while the seven-speed double clutcher is still available as an option. There's an active M diff too, while the ‘M' mode in the DSC system allows for greater hooniganism (it disengages the traction control).
BMW has shed weight from the suspension and chassis components too - aluminium is used for the control arms, wheel carriers and axle subframes - while the electric power steering's feedback can be adjusted by cycling through ‘comfort, ‘sport' and ‘sport+' modes. These modes also configure the active suspension too, while you can option carbon ceramic brakes to further boost your Driver's Brigade profile.
Elsewhere, you'll find a carbon fibre reinforced plastic roof and bootlid on both the saloon and coupe, along with a CFRP prop shaft and engine strut brace. BMW is keen to point out its excellence in CFRP (thanks to the innovative new i3) which has helped keep that weight at 1500kg - around 80kg less than the outgoing model.
And how's this for pedigree? Both new M3 and new M4 were track-honed with BMW's factory DTM drivers Bruno Spengler and Timo Glock, the latter also dabbling in Formula One too, don't forget. The pair undertook extensive testing around James May's least favourite holiday destination (the Nürburgring), with Spengler reporting back that the "driving experience is already sensational". Glock himself said: "These two cars are capable of generating quite incredible centrifugal forces." Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?
We'll keep you up to speed with the development of the new M3 and M4, so stay tuned...