2021 BMW M3 and M4: First Look

© BMW USA Next Generation M3 and M4
BMW unveiled the all-new 4 Series earlier this year, and today the German automaker follows up with the high-performance 2021 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe. Thirty-five years after the premiere of the first M variant, these latest entries in BMW’s M lineup offer updated styling, more power, improved performance and the impressive road and track capabilities expected of a BMW M vehicle.

© BMW USA Updated Styling
Love it or hate it, the large kidney grille introduced on the BMW 4 Series carries through to the new M3 and M4. According to BMW, this massive opening — as well as additional air intakes — provides the required airflow to keep the powerful engine cool. A slot at the edge of the front bumper feeds the air curtain, which helps with airflow around the wheelwells.

© BMW USA Function-Driven Design
“The design is resoundingly function-driven, pure and reduced without compromise,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design. “At the same time, it provides an emotionally engaging window into the vehicle character,” van Hooydonk noted.

© BMW USA Powerful Look
Contours of the hood match the new grille, providing an appearance of airflow. Slim LED headlights flank the kidney grille and incorporate stylish fiber-optic daytime running lights. Adaptive LED headlights and BMW Laserlight are optional upgrades. Although slight differentiators exist, both coupe and sedan share the same basic front-end styling.

© BMW USA Similar yet Different
Both M3 and M4 are the same length and width; however, the M4 has a sleeker profile that puts its overall height about two inches shorter than the M3.

© BMW USA Rear View
Both cars have the expected signature M quad exhaust outlets integrated into their rear fascias, and both get darkened LED taillights that stretch toward the center of the vehicle. (The M4’s lights are a bit slimmer, giving the coupe a wider look.) Both M3 and M4 feature a rear lip spoiler as well as fins integrated into the carbon fiber roof to optimize airflow.

© BMW USA Under the Hood
A 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine producing 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque powers the new M3 and M4, representing a leap of almost 50 horses versus the current generation. For an additional boost, buyers can opt for the M3 Competition or M4 Competition trims, which make 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque out of the same 3.0-liter engine.

© BMW USA Manual Gearbox
Although many automakers have been eliminating manual transmissions in their performance vehicles, BMW will deliver the M3 an M4 with a 6-speed manual gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels. With the Gear Shift Assistant engaged, the system automatically matches revs for downshifts, making any driver feel like a professional. Variants equipped with the manual gearbox also weigh about 50 pounds less than those with the 8-speed automatic transmission.

© BMW USA M3 and M4 Competition
The additional power in the Competition trims is certainly welcome, but there is a price (aside from cash) to pay — they are not available with the manual transmission. With the large bump in torque BMW needed to fit the M3 and M4 Competition with the M Steptronic 8-speed automatic transmission. Many driving enthusiasts will continue to prefer a manual; however, BMW’s automatic transmission provides instantaneous shifts with impressive performance .

© BMW USA Performance Stats
Anyone familiar with M cars knows these machines are as much about supreme handling as they are about acceleration, although sprinting to 60 mph provides a good bar for measurement. The automaker says the 2021 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe can reach 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, while the more powerful Competition models complete the same task in a mere 3.8 seconds. With enough track, top speed maxes out at 180 mph.

© BMW USA Suspension and Handling
Engineers made body and chassis enhancements to further differentiate the M cars from their tamer siblings, resulting in improved agility. Both M3 andM4 come with Adaptive M Suspension, M Traction Control and M Servotronic steering — all designed to improve overall performance.

© BMW USA Big Brakes
Both the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 have M Compound brakes that feature 6-piston fixed calipers up front along with 380 mm discs. The rear rotors are 370 mm in diameter. Calipers are painted blue, although they can also be ordered in red or black. BMW additionally offers optional M Carbon Ceramic brakes, which can be identified by gold calipers.

© BMW USA Wheels and Tires
A new design of forged M light alloy wheels are standard on these new M cars — 18 inches up front, 19 inches at the rear. The M3 and M4 Competitions upgrade with 19-inchers in front, 20-inchers in the rear. In both cases, wheels get shod with high-performance tires.

© BMW USA Updated Interior
Adopting the changes that came with the BMW 4 Series, the new M3 and M4 feature a center console that houses the start button, a new gearshift, M controls and the latest iDrive controller. Red accents, including the start button and M buttons on the M leather steering wheel, add to the vehicles’ sporty styling. Aluminum Tetragon trim is standard equipment; however, an optional carbon fiber trim package is available.

© BMW USA Sport Seats
The M Sport Seats have been redesigned with pronounced side bolsters, integrated head restraints and an M-specific perforation in the fine-grain Merino leather. Seats are heated and — for the first time on the M3 and M4 — they can also be ventilated.

© BMW USA M Carbon Seats
Buyers also have the option to upgrade to M Carbon bucket seats that save 21 pounds over the standard sport seats.

© BMW USA Coming Next Spring
Both the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 are set to launch in America in March of 2021. Base MSRP for the M3 will be $69,900, while the M4 bumps to $71,800. The M3 and M4 Competition trims will be priced at $72,800 and $74,700, respectively. The all-wheel-drive M Competition xDrive should arrive next summer.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M3 and M4
The M4 gets slimmer taillights for a wider look.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M4
BMW Laserlight is an available option.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M4
Quad exhaust outlets.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M3
Big power boost over the previous generation.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M4
The large grille design is quite polarizing.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M4
Carbon fiber roof.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M3
Power to drift.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M3
High performance with four doors.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M3
Stylish rear seat.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M3
Sculpted hood.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M4
Exhaust note should certainly draw attention.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M3
Standard forged M light alloy wheels.

© BMW USA 2021 BMW M4
Interior with M Carbon bucket seats.

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