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BMW has finally, officially, taken the wraps off the hotly anticipated, straight-six-powered, M4 Coupe and M3 saloon. We’ve been over the difference in nomenclature, but, to remind you: the M3 is the four-door, the M4 the two-door (and upcoming convertible). Simple.

And, though it’s lost a pair of cylinders, this is the most powerful M3 in history. Both cars pack a 3.0-litre straight six with a pair of mono-scroll blowers, returning 431bhp with a 7,600rpm redline, and a whopping 406lb ft. The old naturally aspirated V8 made 414bhp and 295lb ft. Even more impressive figures are the boring-but-practical digits: consumption and emissions are down by 25 per cent, giving 32.0mpg and 204g/km. We’re promised it’ll sound good, too: there’s a flap in the exhaust pipe that varies the sound you hear depending on the car’s mode.

This power is fed through a standard-fit six-speed manual gearbox with an auto throttle-blipping function, though you can spec the seven-speed double clutch (DCT) transmission featuring something BMW officially calls (and we’re really, really not making this up)… the Smokey Burnout function. Yes folks, the new M3 and M4 are hooligans.

Both M3 and M4 are, of course, staunchly rear-wheel-drive, and that extra power moves less weight: both are roughly 80kg lighter than their predecessors, with the M4 weighing in at 1500kg, and the M3 saloon just 23kg heavier. Both will do 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds (4.1s with the DCT ‘box) and run on to a limited 155mph.

There’s nothing limited about the sideways, though. BMW itself says the M Dynamic Mode “allows greater wheel slip and therefore easy drifting”, which is the sort of technical insight of which we very much approve.

There’s also some serious aero going on: air curtains on the front bumper and air breathers in the front arches that massage the air around the front of the car, a smooth underbody, a Gurney flap on the M3’s bootlid, and a CSL-style CFRP rear-end on the M4 (oh, and speaking of CFRP, both models get a roof made of the stuff, saving up to 6kg). There are carbon ceramic brakes, too.

Inside, you get standard bucket-style M Sport leather seats that look fantastic, an illuminated ‘M’ logo on the backrests, a decent-sized boot and a BMW M lap timer.

Prices for the saloon start at £56,175, while the M4 Coupe starts at £56,653 (and, most will be glad to hear, comes in colours other than gold). Sad to see the naturally aspirated V8 go, or will you take more power, less weight and a twin-turbo straight six?

A brief history of the BMW M3 Coupe

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