- The next-generation BMW M3 and M4 are forthcoming, and here's what we know about them.
- They will continue to be hotted-up versions of the standard 3-series sedan and 4-series coupe and convertible, and they will likely use BMW's new S58 inline-six with up to 503 horsepower.
- Expect to hear more about the M3 and M4 in 2020, since the cars are scheduled to go on sale as 2021 models.
The seventh-generation 3-series (G20) is here, which means the next M3 and M4 will arrive soon. Slated for simultaneous unveilings in mid-2020 followed by a market launch for the 2021 model year, both the G20's M3 and M4 derivatives should benefit from more reengineering that may bring the magic back to the 3-series. In keeping with tradition, BMW will thoroughly retune and stiffen the M3/M4 chassis, meaning that the steering may get even more engaging. But that will be just the start.
Details are scant at this point, but we know that the next M3 and M4 will be differentiated from the base 3- and 4-series at least as much as the current M cars are. Expect to see spoilers, diffusers, flared fenders, gaping air intakes, bulging hoods, and wheels and tires sized 19 inches and up. As with the current generation, the M3 and M4 will offer exclusive color and trim choices, and the instrument cluster will be programmed to visually reflect BMW's racing heritage.
The S58 3.0-liter straight-six that powers the new X3 M and X4 M will slot into the M3 and M4. Loosely based on the B58 that goes into the M340i, the S version has a larger bore and shorter stroke. This twin-turbocharged engine will come in two strengths: Base M3/M4 models will have 473 horsepower, as in the X3 M/X4 M. Competition models-which we expect to be available from the get-go-will make a heartier 503 horsepower, matching the output of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S's V-8.
The S58 will redline at a lofty-for a turbocharged engine-7300 rpm, and we expect it will crank out the same 442 lb-ft of torque that it makes in the X3 M and X4 M. This time around, though, we believe that BMW may offer all-wheel drive as an option, which should reduce zero-to-60-mph times to somewhere in the low threes. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic likely will stick around, and even though there's no manual in the regular 3-series for sale in these United States, we fully expect BMW to keep the three-pedal six-speed as the standard transmission for this generation M3 and M4.
The M4 convertible will switch from a retractable hardtop to a power-operated softtop. It's a change we wholeheartedly support, as it will drastically reduce weight and complexity, add trunk space, and probably look better, too. Priced from around $70,000, the M3 and M4 will continue to face tough competition from the likes of the Audi RS5, the Lexus RC F, and the Mercedes-AMG C63, all of which have taken the basic M3 concept and made it their own.
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