Appreciably, they jump right to the most important part of the new styling, the massive kidney grilles at the front of the cars. Jack Rix does make a very valid point that while they are pretty huge on their own, having a number plate, at least in the UK and EU, breaks them up into more manageable aesthetics.
He also makes the point that M cars are generally not bought by those who are conservative. They are aggressive cars, meant to be bought by those who, as he says, “want their neighbors to know” what they bought.
After dealing with the nose, it’s on to the profile, where the aggression continues. Flared wheel arches, side badges that let you know what the car is without being gentle about it, and both cars, for the first time, getting carbon fiber roofs as standard.
The rear of the car is dominated by a mild diffuser holding massive exhausts. The four pipes do have active valves in them, so they can be quiet around town, and bellow loudly when attacking the twisties in the countryside. As he says, “Say what you want about that grille, but the proportions are spot on.”
Then comes the beating heart of both cars, a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 that belts out 503 BHP in the Competition variants of the car. With a raised redline now at 7,200 RPM and with the 8-speed DCT, the new M3 and M4 Competition models will both reach 60 MPH from a dead stop in a hair under 4 seconds.
What comes next is the biggest surprise about the cars, however. As of Summer 2021, the M3, M4, M3 Competition and M4 Competition will all be available with BMW’s xDrive AWD system. This is the first time in the entirety of the M series of cars that there will be a full-time AWD option on the best of the best. And, if you’re missing the rear wheel fun of the older M cars, you can simply turn off the Dynamic Stability Control, which uncouples the front wheels from the drive system.
On the interior, the M3 and M4 both get a variety of standard features, and a few options if you want to spice things up. The biggest standard feature is that there are small red highlights in the most inconspicuous of places to remind you what you are in, such as red highlights in the carbon fiber paddle shifters, and the small red M-mode shortcut buttons on the steering wheel.
Another option is the availability of carbon fiber bucket seats on the Competition models, as well as carbon brakes with a two-stage setting on pedal feel. Get both, and you save 25 kg of weight (55 lbs) alone.
As well, the car setup menu, navigated through the infotainment screen, is typically BMW. In other words, it’s best adjusted when you’re parked somewhere as you dial in the settings you want.
Despite the styling and despite the love/hate front grille, the two Competition model cars are priced like M cars. The M3 Competition, in the UK, will start just under £75,000 (approx. $95,000) and the M4 Competition over £75,000.
Also, in 2022, an Estate version of the M3 will be released, known as the M3 Touring, bringing a third competitor to the fierce wagon war that has already started this year.