Even as critics lament the brand’s departure from its status as the ultimate driving machine, anytime there’s news of a new M3 sedan or M4 coupe, enthusiasts pay attention. BMW released more photos and information on the upcoming new generation of the high-performance M cars this morning, and at least on paper, what’s in store looks promising. While we can’t discern too much visually from the camouflaged cars, we may have already seen the 2021 M4 in a leak earlier this year, garish grille and all.
When the sporting siblings are unveiled in mid-September 2020, BMW will offer two levels of performance, a “standard” and a Competition package, in line with its strategy with other M models like the M5, M8, and X3 M/X4 M. The standard trim will offer a six-speed manual transmission, for those who want maximum engagement with the car, while the Competition package will be offered exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Initially, both variants will be rear-drive only, but BMW plans to introduce an all-wheel-drive version of the M3 and M4 Competition packages sometime after release.
Both cars (in both trims) are powered by a twin-turbo straight-six, a longstanding tradition for these apex predators. In standard trim, you’ll be sorting out 480 horsepower, a bump of 49 horses over the previous generation. In Competition form, power jumps to 510 horsepower, some 60 more ponies than the previous M3/M4 Competition models. The same mill will find its way into the M4 GT3 race car, which will be BMW’s range-topping customer offering starting in 2022, replacing the oft-meme’d M8 race car.
Asserting your dominance atop the sport sedan category will take more than just extra shove, however. BMW promises that the extensive time spent at tracks like the Sachsenring—a longstanding fixture of the German touring car series (DTM)—has resulted in suspension and braking innovations, and though there was no further detail give on what went into these changes. After fellow German maker Audi announced its departure from DTM earlier this year, BMW remains the only manufacturer still involved in the series at a factory level.
We’re grateful to see the option to row-your-own stick around for another generation of high-po sedans from BMW. Just how much getting ahold of one of these will damage your wallets, we’ve yet to hear. Be sure to check back for updates from BMW closer to the reveal date of the 2021 M3 and M4 siblings.