They’re meant to be identical, the M3 and M4. You’re not meant to be able to tell them apart. Well, aside from the stunningly obvious fact that one is a coupe and the other a saloon. The suspension settings differ fractionally, but only to take account of the M3’s extra 23kg and make them feel more similar. They have identical track widths, too, even though the standard 4-Series is 40mm wider than the boggo 4dr. This means the saloon M is now 80mm wider than normal. Talk about stance.
We must talk about other things too. Chiefly turbos. The arrival of the new M3/M4 signals the death of the naturally aspirated M car. Yes, this does matter. M purists, the type who never saw eye to eye with the outgoing 4.0-litre V8 (too big), will not be appeased by the fact this fifth-generation car returns to the classic straight-six layout when it’s joined by a pair of high-speed spoolers. Turbos kill engine response and noise.
Pictures: Lee Brimble
This article first appeared in Top Gear magazine