The fifth-generation BMW M3 is heading to Australia with a starting price $156,900, while the recently renamed two-door BMW M4 Coupe will command a $10,000 premium
Despite the slight price increase (the entry price for the previous M3 range was $155,100), BMW Australia says the new M cars come with an additional $8500 worth of features and specifications over their predecessors.
That is, of course, if you’re willing to let go of the previous-generation’s naturally aspirated 4.0-litre V8 engine in favour of the new BMW M3 and M4’s six-cylinder turbocharged engine.
With 317kW of power and 550Nm of torque, the new M outclasses its predecessor with an additional 8kW and 150Nm of torque. Power is delivered to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with launch control and BMW says both models can go from 0-100km/h in just 4.1 seconds.
Manual transmission lovers need not be disappointed as BMW will also offer a new six-speed manual gearbox that is now more compact and 12 kilograms lighter, but it will cost the same as the standard auto.
The BMW-developed gearbox also features carbon friction linings in its synchroniser rings and dry sump lubrication. It will also rev match on downshifts for a quicker gearchanges.
Braking is handled by a four-piston fixed caliper system at the front and a two-piston fixed caliper package for the rear.
Fuel consumption has dropped by about 25 percent, but Australian specific figures are still to be confirmed.
BMW says its M cars were tuned at the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife by the likes of former Formula One and current DTM racer Timo Glock.
The new BMW M cars have also gone on a diet, shedding a respectable 60kg thanks to a higher use of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP) and aluminium. Both the M3 sedan and M4 coupe retain their carbon roof as standard, but can be had with a sunroof at no extra cost (but with a slight weight penalty).
The electronically controlled multi-plate limited-slip differential (Active M Differential) is carried over, with its ability to vary the degree of lock between the rear wheels from zero to 100 percent for the best grip and least wheel spin.
A noteworthy change is the introduction of a new electromechanical steering system that adjusts the steering assistance based on speed while offering comfort, sport and sport+ settings for a variety of steering response levels.
The same three settings also apply to the adaptive M suspension that adjusts the damper settings for urban, sport and track conditions.
Carrying over plenty of equipment from the 335i and 445i, the BMW M3 and M4 gain 19-inch M double-spoke alloy wheels in forged ‘Ferric Grey’, the well-known M bonnet and mirror casings, a rear apron and diffuser above quad exhaust tailpipes, aluminium-made front side panels and sculpted front aprons with three large air intakes.
Both models will be available in eight colours (including M-range exclusive Yas Marina Blue and Austin Yellow). The M3 sedan gets a boot lid with fitted Gurney (lip spoiler) while the M4 coupe benefits from an aerodynamically shaped lightweight boot lid with an integrated spoiler.
On the inside the M-treatment follows, with a unique roof liner, M-badged door entry sills and gearshift lever. Carbon fibre interior trim with black chrome accents further add to the cabin ambience, as does the double spoke M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles and extended leather ‘merino’ upholstery.
Dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, as well as hands-free opening of the tailgate and full electric adjustable front seats including lumbar support and seat heating are also standard equipment.
The BMW M3 sedan gains roller sunblinds for the rear side windows and electric roller sunblind for the rear windscreen, while both models get heat/sun protection glazing as standard.
Adaptive bi-xenon headlights (with anti-glare high beam assist) and rear LED tail-lights (with dynamic braking light function) take care of the exterior lighting package, while the interior gains LED front and rear reading lights, LED illuminated vanity mirrors, front and rear ambient lighting supported by illumination in the front footwells, interior and exterior door handles and LED lighting in the boot.
Infotainment and technology is mastered by a 16-speaker, 600 watt Harman Kardon audio system with a DAB+ digital radio tuner, Bluetooth, auxiliary-in and USB connectivity.
The M3 and M4 both come standard with BMW’s navigation system professional that uses an 8.8-inch screen driven by the latest version of iDrive coupled to a 20 Gb hard drive that can also be used to store audio files.
BMW will use the M3 and M4 to further showcase its new connectivity systems, with both cars equipped with a permanent SIM card with BMW Teleservices and Intelligent emergency call activated.
Tick an additional box and the ConnectedDrive Lifestyle or Freedom package with apps, remote services and real time traffic information can be included.
BMW will also offer its head-up display (HUD) that uses the windscreen to project such information as speed, navigation guidance, gear display, rev counter and shift indicator.
Safety features include six airbags and dynamic stability control highlighting a five-star rating. The standard inclusion of front and rear parking sensors as well as a reverse-view camera and surround-view (bird’s eye view) monitor aids with parking.
BMW M3 and M4 buyers will no longer be held to the standard kilometre or timing based servicing schedules, with the car’s computer systems determining when a service is due based on BMW’s condition based servicing system (CBS).
The 2014 BMW M3 and 2014 BMW M4 will both land in BMW dealerships nationwide in June.
CarAdvice is currently at the launch of the two M cars in Portugal; check back soon for a comprehensive review. For now, take a look at the gallery for plenty of photos (and there’s more to come from the track).