BMW has announced the 2015 M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe, high-performance versions of the new 3 Series and 4 Series that launched this year. The new Ms have stirred controversy in a variety of ways, but one must remember that the M cars traditionally don't follow a specific mold.
The new 3.0-liter inline-six makes 425 turbocharged horsepower from 5500 rpm all the way up to 7300 rpm.
Back in 1988, BMW launched the M3 with a high-revving four-cylinder engine even though the top non-M 3 Series model was equipped with an inline-six. The reason: the little four-banger weighed less. The power-dense 2.3-liter four produced 197 horsepower, which was enough to make the original M3 one of the most sought after performance BMWs of all time. Two successive generations of M3 stepped up the cylinder count to six and provided a nice bump in power, and the M3 that came after them was equipped with a screaming V8. The M3's history dictates that M cars aren't about staying the same - they're meant to push limits - and M Motorsport engineers decided that the new M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe would push limits best with a twin-turbocharged inline-six.
For those of you worried that the new mill will underwhelm, on paper it outperforms the last M3's 4.0-liter V8 in a number of areas, including weighing 22 pounds less. The new 3.0-liter inline-six makes 425 turbocharged horsepower from 5,500 rpm all the way up to 7,300 rpm – just 300 rpm before the redline is reached. That's five more horsepower than the V8, but more importantly, the 1800-rpm powerband is very broad. Torque from the turbo six is even more impressive: peak torque of 406 pound-feet starts at 1850 rpm and doesn't start falling off until 5,500 rpm, right when the engine starts to make peak horsepower. That compares very favorably to the V8's oft-bemoaned max torque of just 295 lb-ft.
Score one for the turbo M.
The broad power and torque bands can be attributed to the two fast-spooling, single-scroll turbochargers, Valvetronic variable valve timing and Double VANOS variable camshaft timing, the latter two working together to control intake valve lift. You could say that engine downsizing, turbocharging and controlling the valve timing are politically correct moves on BMW's part, too. The automaker claims that the 3.0-liter six consumes nearly 25 percent less fuel than the V8 and produces nearly 25 percent less emissions.
The M4 Coupe, weighing in at 3,300 pounds, is 176 pounds lighter than the outgoing M3, too. So all that additional power and torque translate to a manufacturer-estimated 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds with the six-speed manual, or 3.9 seconds with the M dual-clutch transmission for the lighter cars. Those numbers compare favorably to 4.5 seconds (DCT) and 4.7 seconds (6MT) for the outgoing model. BMW is mum on the new M3 sedan's weight, however, but claims that it does 0-60 mph in the same amount of time. Both the M3 and M4 can reach an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
The M4 Coupe, weighing in at 3,300 pounds, is 176 pounds lighter than the outgoing M3.
BMW learned its lesson from the cooling problems its turbo sixes experienced when the last generation 335i launched. The new engine gets a track-optimised cooling system complete with a main radiator with a water cooler postitioned to the side, an engine air intake with an indirect intercooler, an engine oil cooler, a baffled magnesium oil pan and an oil extraction pump with a sophisticated oil return system. All should help the new Ms stay frosty during the heat of battle.
Both the M3 and M4 come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, connected to a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) driveshaft, connected to a mechanical limited-slip differential. À la Nissan 370Z, the new six-speed manual features an automatic throttle blip setting to rev-match downshifts. If buyers opt for the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the multi-plate limited slip diff is controlled electronically and can disengaged the diff's clutch plates completely or lock them up 100 percent. DCT-equipped cars also get launch control.
The new six-speed manual features an automatic throttle blip setting to rev-match downshifts.
In addition to using CFRP in certain components to save weight - for example, both M3 and M4 get a carbon roof - the suspension components have been redesigned and are made in aluminum. The front suspension of each model gets aluminum control arms, wheel carriers and axle subframe, which is bolted directly to the chassis with no bushings to reduce suspension elasticity and improve handling precision. Ball joints are used instead of rubber bushings to further improve suspension rigidity and maintain handling precision. Additionally, each model gets an aluminum stiffening plate and a CFRP front strut-tower brace to keep the front end stiff.
The rear, five-link suspension gets similar treatment. Each model gets control arms and wheel carriers made of forged aluminum that together weigh 6.5-pounds less than the previous M3's setup. The rear subframe is also bolted directly to the chassis with no rubber bushings; again to improve rigidity and handling.
All that horsepower and performance-oriented suspension would be for naught at high speeds if the aerodynamics hadn't been carefully honed to produce equal downforce at the front and rear. The front apron and gaping intakes move air around and through the car to produce downforce (and component cooling) at the front, while the rear lip spoiler adds an equal amount of dowforce at the rear. In particular, the intake air that passes over the oil cooler "creates a Venturi effect, which reduces front axle lift and, in doing so, improves the steering," according to Albert Biermann, head of development at BMW. An air curtain and the side M gills with integrated Air Breather aft of the front wheels keeps air moving out of the wheel wells, which increases stability. And while the widened rear wheel arches detract from the cars' aerodynamic efficiency, they were deemed necessary to fit the wheel and tire setup needed to handle the additional horsepower. They also look cool.
Standard wheels are 18-inchs (19-inchers are optional), with 255-section tires in front and 275-section at the back end. The wheels cover brakes with steel rotors, though optional carbon-ceramic units with gold-painted calipers can be had, as well.
The interior is spruced up with M-style touches, including door sills, the driver's footrest, a gearshift lever, circular instruments with white graphics and the all-important, leather-clad steering wheel. M sport seats with a one-piece back panel (electronic adjustment optional) and color-contrast stitching, look grippy and good to use, too. The rear seats feature a 60/40 split, just in case you ever need to haul more than ass.
The widened rear wheel arches were deemed necessary to fit the wheel and tire setup needed to handle the additional horsepower. They also look cool.
The new M3 and M4 are departures from previous M3s, but if the specifications point to anything, it's that BMW and its M division are still pushing boundaries, just as they always have. Look for the M3 and M4's world debut at next month's Detroit Auto Show. The pair will go on sale in early summer as 2015 models.
Head below for the press release, which includes all of the available information on the M3 and M4, and for a short video on the new cars that Autobild has gotten together early.
Lighten Up. Power Up.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – December 11, 2013, 6:10pm Eastern Time... BMW today
announced the all-new BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe models, which capitalize on
the strengths of the latest 3 Series Sedan and fresh 4 Series Coupe models as their
respective foundations. As the first-ever BMW M cars to feature the achievement of an
engineered-in reduction in curb weight from one generation to the next, the all-new M3
and M4 stand poised to attack corners, hills, and braking zones, and will vigorously defend
BMW M's decades-strong position as segment leader around the world.
Featuring a return to the inline-6 engine format made famous by BMW M, the all-new, 3.0-
liter BMW M3 and M4 engine is approximately 10 kilograms lighter than its V-8
predecessor and packs an even stronger punch. With 425 horsepower from 5,500 – 7,300
rpm, 406 lb-ft of torque from 1,850 – 5,500 rpm, and capable of 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds
when equipped with the M-DCT transmission (4.1 seconds with standard 6-speed
manual), the all-new BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe will debut at the 2014 North
American International Auto Show in Detroit, and will begin sales as 2015 models in early
Summer, 2014 (Editor's notes: All specifications preliminary. Complete US-specific specs,
pricing, options, and packages will be announced closer to the on-sale date).
The launch of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe sees BMW M GmbH
revealing a new interpretation of the high-performance sports car – and carrying the BMW
M philosophy over into the fifth generation of the M3. More than 40,000 examples of the fourth-generation BMW M3 Coupe were built, and now the BMW M4 Coupe is poised to
continue this success story. The "M4" badge is a reference to the model series that
provides the basis for the new M model – and, for the first time, the Coupe will be
introduced at the same time as the four-door variant. Logic dictates the latter will be
christened the BMW M3 Sedan.
"Four generations of the BMW M3 have blended motor sport genes and uncompromised
everyday usability within an emotionally rich overall concept," explains Dr Friedrich
Nitschke, President BMW M GmbH. "The BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe
represent an ongoing commitment to this philosophy. The engine is the heart of every M
model, and the new turbocharged six-cylinder unit fitted in the two new cars combines the
virtues of a high-revving naturally aspirated unit with the strengths of turbocharger
technology. A committed lightweight design concept produces a weight saving of around
80 kilograms over the outgoing M3. The BMW M3 and BMW M4 take motor sport
technology from the track to the road, and thousands of laps of the legendary Nürburgring
Nordschleife – the world's most exacting race track – have readied the new models for that
transition. Meticulous and passion-fuelled development work has underpinned the
creation of two high-performance sports cars that set new standards in terms of overall
concept, precision and agility."
The high-revving, inline-6 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology freshly developed
for the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe produces a maximum output of
425 hp. Its peak torque of406 lb-ft is available across a wide rev band and outstrips the
figure recorded by the outgoing BMW M3 by roughly 40 percent. And yet the engine also
achieves a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions of nearly 25 percent. Both the
BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe cover the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds
with the standard 6-speed manual transmission and even 3.9 seconds with the optional 7-
speed M Double Clutch Transmission.
In the interests of maximizing dynamic ability and ensuring excellent efficiency, weight
savings of around 80 kilograms have been achieved over a comparably equipped
predecessor model. The BMW M4 Coupe, for example, has a DIN curb weight of 1,497
kilograms, thanks to the rigorous application of intelligent lightweight design measures.
These include the increased use of lightweight materials such as carbon-fiber-reinforced
plastic (CFRP) and aluminum for a number of chassis and body components. Indeed, both
models feature a carbon roof.
One of the primary objectives in the development of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4
Coupe was to ensure the new cars offered impressive race track capability. Hence the
presence of a track-specification cooling system, which ensures that the optimum
temperature balance for the engine, turbochargers and transmission is maintained at all
In order to accentuate the racing character of the two models in terms of both their
technical composition and the fine-tuning of the cars, the engineers worked closely with
BMW Motorsport's professional racing drivers during the development phase. For
example, DTM drivers Bruno Spengler and Timo Glock took part in the extensive testing
and set-up work carried out at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit.
Low-slung and broad-set, the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe share a
finely balanced stance on the road. Indeed, the M-specific design of the two highperformance
sports cars underlines their performance capability. Large air intakes and Air
Curtains at the front end, exposed carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and aluminum
body components, and the diffuser at the muscular rear end are not merely design
flourishes; they also fulfill functional roles in terms of aerodynamics, cooling and weight
Numerous aerodynamics measures integrated into all areas of the body.
The aerodynamics concept of BMW M GmbH models has always been one of the key
elements in their development. The engineers need to channel the air around the car to
create the best possible platform for dynamic excellence, while also ensuring the engine,
powertrain and brakes receive the requisite cooling even when operating under heavy
loads on the race track.
Details such as the powerfully formed front apron, smooth underbody and clearly defined
Gurney spoiler at the rear of the M3 Sedan (or integrated spoiler lip at the rear of the BMW
M4 Coupe) reduce lift by an equal degree at the front and rear axle and produce optimum
handling attributes. "The way in which we channel the inflowing air through the engine oil
cooler creates a Venturi effect, which reduces front axle lift and, in so doing, improves the
steering," explains Albert Biermann, Head of Development BMW M GmbH. Elements like
the Air Curtain and M gills with integrated Air Breather rearwards of the front wheels
minimize turbulence in the front wheel arches. Together with the aerodynamically
optimized exterior mirrors in twin-stalk style, they are also highly distinctive design features of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe and help reduce drag. These examples
underline in familiar fashion the success of M engineers in reconciling the requirements of
everyday use with the demands of action on the race track.
Sophisticated cooling concept for maximum performance.
The exceptional performance potential of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe
places extremely exacting demands on temperature management in the engine and
peripheral assemblies. In order to ensure optimum operating temperatures in everyday
use, on short journeys around town and out on the race track, the BMW M GmbH
engineers have developed an extremely effective cooling system. For example, alongside
the two ultra-dynamic turbocharger units, the air intake system of the six-cylinder engine
also includes an indirect intercooler, maximizing charge pressure and engine output. As
well as a main radiator, the track-ready cooling concept also comprises a water cooler
repositioned to the side for the high- and low-temperature water circuits, and the engine
and transmission oil (if the M Double Clutch Transmission is specified). These ensure a
consistent temperature balance and therefore high performance on the track as well as the
road. An additional electric coolant pump cools the turbocharger bearing mounts when the
car is stationary.
6-speed manual gearbox with throttle blipping.
The engine's power is transferred to the road via a standard six-speed manual gearbox
with robust double-plate clutch. This unit is considerably more compact than its
predecessor and 26.4 lbs lighter. As a means of increasing shift comfort, the manual
gearbox uses innovative new carbon friction linings in its synchronizer rings. Dry sump
lubrication provides an efficient supply of oil to all parts of the engine. The gearbox blips
the throttle on downshifts – previously a feature reserved for the M Double Clutch
Transmission. This engagement speed control function improves the smoothness of the
transmission, helps to enhance stability and was originally developed by motor sport
7-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic with Launch Control.
The third generation of the M-DCT sees the M engineers once again setting the
benchmark in terms of power and race track capability without having to compromise on
everyday usability. The optional 7-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic
prompts the new high-revving turbocharged engine into emotionally impressive feats. As
well as changing gear automatically, in manual mode the transmission enables ultra-fast
gear changes with no interruption in the flow of power. The integrated Launch Control
function ensures optimum sprinting performance off the line, producing acceleration
figures that would be out of range with the manual gearbox. Stability Clutch Control opens
the clutch when the car is understeering to bring it back into line. And M-DCT also
includes functions like the Drivelogic modes that can be selected by the driver to give the
BMW M3 and BMW M4 more comfortable, more economy-focused or even sportier
characteristics. The additional seventh gear over the manual gearbox allows longer gear
ratios – and delivers the efficiency gains you would expect as a result.
The properties of the extremely light yet impressively durable material CFRP have allowed
the engineers to follow a fundamentally new approach in the manufacture of the drive
shaft. Made from CFRP, this component feeds the engine's torque from the gearbox to
the rear differential and works under extremely heavy loads – especially in highperformance
vehicles. "The impressive stiffness and low weight of the CFRP tubing allow
the drive shaft to be constructed as a single-piece unit with no center bearing. As well as a
weight saving of 40 percent over its predecessor, we have achieved a reduction in rotating
masses and therefore improved drivetrain dynamics," explains Albert Biermann.
Even more accomplished rear-wheel drive with Active M Differential.
Among the other components that add fresh polish to the dynamic repertoire of the BMW
M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe are the hollow lightweight output shafts of the rear
differential and the Active M Differential, which uses an electronically controlled multi-plate
limited-slip differential to optimize traction and directional stability. The multi-plate limitedslip
differential works with extremely high precision and speed. Its control unit links up with
the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system and also takes into account the position of the
accelerator pedal, the rotational speed of the wheels and the car's yaw rate. Every driving
situation is therefore precisely analyzed and an impending loss of traction on one side of
the car identified at an early stage. The degree of lock – which may be anywhere between
0 and 100 percent – is adjusted as required within a fraction of a second, enabling wheel
spin to be prevented on slippery surfaces, in instances where the right and left rear wheel
have widely differing friction coefficients, in tight bends and when changing direction with
particular vigor. Optimizing traction in this way also provides unbeatable driving stability in
challenging conditions and allows impressively dynamic acceleration out of corners.
M Dynamic Mode – a sub function of the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system –
quenches the thirst of enthusiastic drivers for keen dynamics. While DSC intervenes as
required to counteract understeer and oversteer, M Dynamic Mode allows greater wheel
slip and therefore easy drifting. Owners with a taste for sporty and dynamic driving will
appreciate this breadth to the cars' handling, although DSC will still step in if the car
ventures over the limits – unless it is switched off completely. Whichever setting the driver
chooses, he or she remains responsible for the car's stability.
Aluminum suspension elements ensure sharper dynamics.
The core expertise of BMW M GmbH resides in developing M cars that offer impressive
steering precision, on-the-limit adjustability, agility and driving feeling, together with
unbeatable traction and outstanding directional stability – all without neglecting everyday
usability. In order to achieve these aims with the significantly increased performance
capability of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe, the axles of the outgoing
BMW M3 have been redesigned with painstaking attention to detail.
Here again, low weight and a high level of rigidity for the axle systems are essential
ingredients in ensuring the cars provide an ultra-dynamic driving experience. In the doublejoint
spring strut front axle alone, the use of a lightweight aluminum construction for
components such as control arms, wheel carriers and axle subframes saves five kilograms
over a conventional steel design. Play-free ball joints and elastomeric bearings developed
specially for the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe ensure an optimum and direct
transfer of forces both laterally and longitudinally. An aluminum stiffening plate, CFRP front
strut brace and additional bolted joints between the axle subframe and the body structure
all help to increase the rigidity of the front end.
Also lighter than the construction in the outgoing BMW M3 is the new five-link rear axle.
All the control arms and wheel carriers are manufactured using forged aluminum, which
reduces the unsprung masses of the wheel-locating components by around three
kilograms compared with the previous model generation. The rigid connection between
the rear axle subframe and the body – without the use of elastic rubber elements – is
borrowed from motor sport and serves to further improve wheel location and therefore
directional stability. "The double-elastic mounting for the rear differential within the rear
axle subframe – which is bolted to the body structure – has allowed us to achieve a new
level of driving precision, but without neglecting comfort," says Albert Biermann, citing
another example of the perfect symbiosis of pure-bred motor sport technology and
excellent everyday usability.
The development of the tires for the cars was incorporated into the construction process
for the axles from the outset. For high-performance sports cars like the BMW M3 Sedan
and BMW M4 Coupe, in particular, steering feel and precision are the foremost
considerations in the development of tires for the front axle, alongside lateral stability and
braking forces. At the rear axle, meanwhile, traction, lateral stability and directional stability
take center stage. For this reason, both cars will leave the factory on low-weight 18-inch
forged wheels (front axle: 9 J x 18, rear axle: 10 J x 18) with mixed-size tires (front axle: 255
mm, rear axle: 275 mm). 19-inch wheels and tires are available as an option. The specially
developed forged wheels make a significant contribution to the reduction in the cars'
unsprung masses and, in turn, to the optimization of dynamic qualities and efficiency. The
experienced M engineers have taken great care to ensure all the components between the
steering wheel and tires work together harmoniously and therefore provide maximum
driving precision and lateral stability, along with good ride comfort.
Unique Electric Power Steering with three settings.
The electromechanical steering system in the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4
Coupe represents a new development from BMW M GmbH and the critical component in
the link between driver and car. It offers the gifts of direct steering feeling and precise
feedback. The integrated Servotronic function electronically adjusts the level of steering
assistance according to the car's speed, providing optimum steering characteristics at all
speeds. The steering for the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe also offers the driver
three settings as standard, which can be selected at the touch of a button. COMFORT,
SPORT and SPORT+ modes allow the level of steering assistance to be adapted to suit
the situation at hand and the driver's personal tastes.
"Together, the rigid front and rear structures, precise axle kinematics and an impressively
responsive electromechanical power steering system help to deliver the outstanding
steering and handling characteristics of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe," sums
The optional Adaptive M suspension likewise comes with COMFORT, SPORT and
SPORT+ modes, enabling the driver to choose between a more comfortable damper
setting for urban driving, for example, a stiffer set-up for dynamic driving on country roads,
and a third option that minimizes body movements and maximizes dynamic performance
for use on the track.
With their supreme dynamic attributes in mind, the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe
also come as standard with BMW M compound brakes boasting impressive feel,
outstanding stopping power and high resistance to fade. Far lighter than conventional
equivalents, these brakes contribute to a substantial reduction in unsprung masses and
therefore help to enhance dynamic performance. Even lighter BMW M carbon ceramic
brakes can also be specified as an option, their further optimized performance attributes
equipping them even more effectively for track use and giving them even greater
The new inline-6 M engine: High-revving, turbocharged unit combines the best
of both worlds.
The new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe from BMW M GmbH see a return to
a six-in-line engine configuration, as used on the second and third generations of this
iconic sports car. "When developing a new model we first think about what requirements
the vehicle will be expected to meet, and then decide which concepts and technologies
will best meet these goals," says Albert Biermann. The new turbocharged engine
combines the best of both worlds – reaching a maximum 7,600 rpm, it is unusually highrevving
for a turbocharged engine, resulting in linear power delivery over a wide engine
speed range and a soulful engine note, while M TwinPower Turbo technology ensures
that peak torque is on top over a broad rpm range. A further hallmark of this engine is its
The new engine sees a slight power upgrade over the previous V-8 to 425 hp, which is
delivered between 5,500 and 7,300 rpm. Peak torque has been increased by roughly 40
percent to 406 lb-ft, and is maintained over a very wide rev band (1,850–5,500 rpm). The
standard sprint from zero to 60 mph takes the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4
Coupe 4.1 seconds respectively. Equipped with the 7-speed M Double Clutch
Transmission, this number even falls to 3.9 seconds. Top speed is 250 km/h / 155 mph
(electronically limited), The new engine also boasts excellent fuel efficiency: the BMW M3
Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe achieve consumption nearly 25 percent better than the
previous model's figures. Regulated pollutant emissions are EU6-compliant.
Instantaneous response, courtesy of M TwinPower Turbo technology.
The M TwinPower Turbo technology comprises two fast-responding mono-scroll
turbochargers, High Precision Direct Petrol Injection, Valvetronic variable valve timing and
Double-VANOS continuously variable camshaft timing. Valvetronic and Double-VANOS
work in tandem to seamlessly control intake valve lift. The result is smooth and efficient
power delivery, very sharp response and reduced fuel consumption and emissions.
The six-cylinder engine features a closed-deck crankcase design which is very rigid and
allows cylinder pressures to be increased for improved power output. And instead of liners,
the cylinder bores feature a twin-wire arc-sprayed coating, which results in a significant
reduction in engine weight.
A further technical highlight is the forged, torsionally rigid crankshaft which, as well as
providing increased torque-carrying capacity, is also lighter in weight. This significantly
reduces rotating masses, resulting in improved throttle response and acceleration.
Track-ready engine oil supply system for outstanding performance.
On the track, the exceptional driving dynamics of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4
Coupe place extra demands on the engine oil supply system, whose design reflects the
extensive motor sport experience of BMW M GmbH. The low-weight magnesium oil
sump, for example, features a special cover to limit movement of the oil under the effects
of strong dynamic lateral acceleration. Under extreme longitudinal acceleration and
deceleration, an oil extraction pump and a sophisticated oil return system situated close to
the turbocharger likewise help to maintain stable oil circulation. Oil is therefore supplied
continuously to all engine components in all driving situations – whether in everyday
motoring or during hard driving on the track.
An engine sound in keeping with the motor sport attributes of the BMW M3 and BMW M4
is provided by an innovative flap arrangement in the twin-pipe exhaust system. The
electrically controlled flaps just before the rear silencer minimize exhaust back-pressure
and produce a BMW M sound which is striking and unmistakable over the entire engine
speed range, as well as giving precise feedback on engine load. The different selectable
drive modes, which offer drivers a choice of preconfigured, perfectly balanced vehicle setups,
also feature different engine sound profiles.
Lightweight design across the board: Shedding weight in all the right places.
Intelligent lightweight design was a top priority in the development of the BMW M3 and
BMW M4. The goal was to minimize curb weight in order to give both models outstanding
driving dynamics and exemplary efficiency. These measures have delivered impressive
results, giving the BMW M4 Coupe a DIN curb weight of 1,497 kilograms, around 80
kilograms lighter than a comparably equipped predecessor model – with benefits for
driving dynamics and fuel consumption as well.
BMW M3 Sedan also features CFRP roof for the first time.
On the outgoing models, the CFRP roof was confined to the Coupe version. Now, for the
first time, the four-door BMW M3 will get this striking design and functional feature as well.
The CFRP roof brings weight savings of five kilograms (11 lbs) in the case of the BMW M3
Sedan and more than six kilograms (> 13 lbs) in the case of the BMW M4 Coupe. It also
lowers the vehicle's center of gravity, which has a positive impact on driving dynamics.
Made from aluminum rather than conventional steel, the front side walls and the hood
(with power dome) make an important contribution to the models' lightweight design
concept, while at the same time improving axle load distribution.
On the BMW M4 Coupe, the contoured roofline with central channel continues into the
trunk lid, emphasizing the even sportier personality of the new model. The newly
developed trunk lid not only provides extremely effective tail end styling, its geometry is at
the same time precisely tailored for optimized aerodynamics, while the use of carbon fiber
and plastics makes for additional weight savings.
The new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe also feature a CFRP propeller shaft.
The high rigidity and low weight of the CFRP tube mean that the propeller shaft can be
produced as a single-piece component, without a center bearing. This achieves weight
savings of 40 percent over the previous model and a reduction in rotating masses, which
in turn results in more dynamic powertrain response.
The CFRP strut brace in the engine compartment is a further example of how all weightsaving
measures on these vehicles have also been tailored to the improvement of driving
dynamics. Weighing only 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lbs), the strut brace offers superior rigidity to a
comparable aluminum component and at the same time plays a key part in the excellent
steering response and precision of both vehicles.
The use of carbon in these models is a reminder that BMW is a global leader in highstrength,
lightweight CFRP construction, and that it was BMW who brought out the first
mass-production vehicle with a body consisting entirely of this material – the innovative
Development input from professional racing drivers: BMW works driver Bruno
Spengler on the technical highlights.
When developing the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe, the BMW M
engineers could count not only on track-honed technologies, but also on the driving talent
of experienced racers. For example, Bruno Spengler and Timo Glock, BMW Motorsport
works drivers in the DTM Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (German Touring Car Masters)
series, took part in extensive testing and set-up runs on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife
"I'm proud to have made a contribution to the set-up work on these two cars," says 2012
DTM champion Spengler, who also took third place in the 2013 series. "The suspension
has a very sporty set-up, the feedback from the front axle is extremely direct, the grip at
the rear axle is phenomenal and the engine performance is awesome. This is the ideal
basis for our DTM car."
Bruno Spengler on the six-in-line engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology:
"As a race driver, I'm very impressed by the instant, lag-free response from the two turbos
as soon you step on the gas. This is a sensational feature of this engine which translates to
more fun at the wheel and is perfect for sporty driving."
... on the electronic power steering:
"The electronic power steering is very precise, and from my point of view as a race driver
that's very, very important. It responds instantly to inputs and provides excellent feedback."
... on the rear axle:
"The rear axle has a very progressive locking action, due to the electronically controlled
limited-slip differential, and generates huge amounts of grip. The electronic control system
is configured so that when you lift off the gas going into corners, the differential opens up
and the lock-up effect is reduced to zero, resulting in very eager turn-in. When you accelerate out of the corner again, the lock-up engages progressively all the way up to 100
percent full lock, for optimal traction."
Design: Striking use of forms underlines standout performance capability.
The design of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe visualizes in eyecatching
style the outstanding performance capability and impressive handling properties
of the two new models. "The superior performance of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4
Coupe should be obvious at first glance," explains Karim Habib, Head of Design BMW
Automobiles. "Indeed, the exterior design of the new BMW M3 and BMW M4 has a visual
impact that elevates the BMW M design language to a new level of expression, highlighted
by a purposeful character, emotional appeal and dynamic verve."
The front end: the powerfully expressive face of BMW M.
Viewed from the front, the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe stand out most
prominently with their powerful contours and a strongly defined three-dimensionality,
which lend them a powerfully expressive face. Characteristic design elements leave no
doubt that these cars are the work of BMW M. There is the modern take on the twin
headlight arrangement (with optional LED technology), for example, not to mention the
distinctive twin-bar kidney grille with black painted grille bars – which reflect the design of
the characteristic BMW M double-spoke wheels and bear the M logo – and the powerfully
designed front apron with its trio of large intakes supplying cooling air to the highperformance
engine and brakes. Among the other hallmark BMW M design features on
display is the characteristic power dome on the hood, which hints at the potential of the
brawny M TwinPower Turbo engine and creates space for the intercooler. And the striking
exterior mirrors – with their suggested twin-stalk mounts – also demand particular
attention, their design optimizing the aerodynamics of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new
BMW M4 Coupe.
The flanks: low-slung silhouette and dynamic lines.
The sides of both cars extend the dynamic impression created by their respective front
ends. The hallmark BMW proportions of a long hood, long wheelbase, set-back
glasshouse and short front overhang are lent further emphasis by familiar M design
elements. "The muscular wheel arches and eye-catching surface forms clearly underline
the dynamic potential of the BMW M3 and BMW M4," adds Habib.
Those dynamics-accentuating details include likewise newly designed M gills, which
perform both a stylistic and a functional role. Integrated into them are Air Breathers, which
team up with the Air Curtains in the front apron to help optimize the airflow around the
wheel arches and therefore improve aerodynamics.
The dark color of the CFRP roof (with its contoured roofline) gives both models a lowerslung
and more compact appearance, as the eye perceives the roof pillars – painted in
body color – to be the uppermost point of the car. A flowing roofline lends the already
sporting overall appearance of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe an extra
elegance and finesse. The line gains in momentum once again as it heads rearwards,
increasing aerodynamic downforce and giving the rear a more muscular look at the same
The rear: BMW M4 with spoiler integrated into the trunk lid.
The design of the rear end displays striking differences in the two models. The BMW M3
Sedan, for example, is fitted with a Gurney spoiler to reduce lift, while the tailgate of the
BMW M4 Coupe features an integrated rear spoiler and is made from particularly
lightweight carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. As well as performing a functional aerodynamic
role, the tailgate also contributes significantly to the BMW M4's standalone design. Indeed,
the pair of lines which begin life flanking the power dome in the hood – and score a clearly
defined path over the CFRP roof – complete their journey in the trunk lid.
A shared feature of the two models is the prominently flared rear wheel arches which, in
combination with the wide track, underline the confident appearance of the BMW M3 and
BMW M4. A characteristic BMW M detail of the rear end are the high-gloss polished, now
slanting pair of twin exhaust tailpipes, which are framed like jewels by the sculptural rear
apron with its integrated diffuser.
The interior design: flawless ergonomics in a sporting ambience.
Climbing into the BMW M3 and BMW M4, drivers will be greeted by the interior
architecture familiar from the BMW 3 Series and BMW 4 Series, complete with
unimpeachable ergonomics and clear driver focus. In keeping with the character of the two
models, however, the interior fulfils an even more sharply defined sporting brief. To this
end, the host of traditional BMW M equipment details includes M door sill finishers, an M
driver's footrest, M gearshift lever, M-design circular instruments with white graphics, M
leather steering wheel with chrome trim, color contrast stitching and electroplated-look
shift paddles (if the M-DCT gearbox is specified).
The front seats also represent an evocative expression of BMW M's motor sport genes.
Taking visual inspiration from the bucket seats fitted in racing cars, the seats feature a fullsize
single-piece back panel. This means the construction of the seats is very flat, while
the high, width-adjustable side bolsters and low-set seat surface allow an ideal seating
position and provide excellent support. Despite their undeniably sporty design, the BMW
M sports seats can be equipped with comfort-enhancing features including electric
adjustment and heating. On the seat surface, the stitching, upholstery segmentation and
perforation lend the seats a slim-fitting feel. Illuminated for the first time, the BMW M logo
on the seat backrests adds a new and exclusive highlight.
Equipment: Extensive standard equipment joined by a host of options that
enhance dynamics and comfort.
The new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe leave the factory with a thorough
selection of equipment on board which reflects their character as extremely performanceoriented
cars offering excellent everyday usability. In addition, customers can choose from
an extensive range of optional equipment to give the high-performance sports cars an
even more uncompromising sporting edge or push their comfort levels to the maximum.
Carbon roof as a visible sign of the commitment to lightweight design.
The CFRP roof, which was fitted to the Coupe version only of the outgoing BMW M3, is a
standard feature of both the new BMW M3 Sedan and the new BMW M4 Coupe. The
"exposed" styling of the carbon-fiber construction accentuates not only the exclusivity of
the two models and their direct links to motor sport, it also emphasizes clearly the
lightweight design philosophy underpinning the cars.
Other standard-fitted and exclusive exterior details include the lightweight hood with eyecatching
power dome, the font side panels made from aluminum, the sculpted front apron
with three large air intakes, the black double-bar kidney grille, the hallmark M exterior
mirror casings, the rear apron with integrated diffuser, the exhaust system with four
tailpipes, and the trunk lid with fitted Gurney on the BMW M3 or the aerodynamically
shaped lightweight tailgate with integrated spoiler of the BMW M4. Both models come as
standard with forged 18-inch BMW M light-alloy wheels with mixed-size tires. Forged 19-inch light-alloy wheels with mixed-size tires can be ordered as an option, in either Ferric
Grey or Black.
Interior with exquisite materials and motor sport ambience.
The BMW M3 and BMW M4 also stand out with an interior that is exclusive and functional
in equal measure. For example, the M Sport leather multifunction steering wheel is fitted
as standard, as are bucket-style M sports seats and the BMW Individual roof liner in
Anthracite. Like the front seats, the distinctively contoured backrests of the rear seats also
offer exceptional lateral support. They are made from a lightweight composite material and
can be folded in a 60:40 split. This gives the BMW M3 and BMW M4 a degree of variability
and everyday usability that is well beyond the norm for high-performance sports cars of
Drivers of the BMW M3 and BMW M4 can look forward to piloting their car from behind a
double-spoke M leather steering wheel. The M logo, chrome trim and color contrast
stitching are central elements of the cabin's racing ambience. Both models come as
standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the 7-speed M Double Clutch
Transmission is available as an option. M-DCT allows the driver to change gears using
either the selector lever on the center console or the shift paddles mounted on the
Innovative driveline and chassis technology deliver unbeatable dynamics.
The optional M-DCT Drivelogic changes gear with no interruption in the flow of power,
enabling it to reduce shift times, while a Launch Control system optimizes acceleration off
The standard-specification Active M Differential at the rear axle guarantees optimum
traction, while the likewise factory-fitted electromechanical M Servotronic steering with
three settings delivers sporty, direct responses. Both the new BMW M3 and new BMW
M4 are equipped as standard with BMW M compound brakes, but customers can also
order their car with even lighter and more effective BMW M carbon ceramic brakes, which
come with the additional visual highlight of gold-painted calipers.
Optional add-ons for comprehensive driver information.
BMW has developed a free BMW M Laptimer app, which allows owners to analyze their
personal driving style. Once their smartphone is hooked up to the BMW – via USB cable or
the car's snap-in adapter – customers can operate the BMW M Laptimer app easily using
the iDrive Controller. The app then gets to work without delay, recording the car's speed,
longitudinal and lateral acceleration, engine revs, the gear engaged (if the M-DCT or
automatic gearbox is specified), steering angle, accelerator position and fuel consumption.
That means, when the data is subsequently analyzed via graphic displays on the
customer's smartphone, the driver's reactions can also be assessed. Another feature
allows two recordings on the same track to be compared corner-by-corner. The readings
used here can be either the driver's own or data shared via email.
The BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe are also available – needless to say – with the
wide variety of driver assistance systems and mobility services introduced under the BMW
ConnectedDrive banner, some of which will already be familiar from the BMW 3 Series and
BMW 4 Series. Among the highlights are a new generation of the Navigation system
Professional, offering extra capability, sharper graphics and 3D elements for the map
display, Active Driving Assistant, which warns the driver of a looming collision with a
pedestrian, and the adaptive full LED headlights.
The optional Head-Up Display in the BMW M3 and BMW M4 comes with additional, Mspecific
functions such as a gear display, rev counter and Optimum Shift Indicator.
Production: Return to the birthplace of the BMW M3.
It was at the Preußenstraße headquarters of BMW Motorsport GmbH in Munich 28 years
ago that the company's then managing director Paul Rosche developed the idea for the
BMW M3. Production began just a few months later at the original BMW plant next door. A
total of 17,970 units of the first-generation BMW M3 were built here up to 1991. And now,
almost 23 years later, production of the iconic sports car – long since guaranteed
legendary status – is returning to its birthplace. BMW Plant Munich will host production of
the new BMW M4 Coupe, while the BMW M3 Sedan will be built at BMW Plant
Regensburg, where 222,293 units of the second, third and fourth generations of the BMW
M3 combined have been produced since 1992.
Full integration into the regular manufacturing process.
One of the reasons for the decision to split production of the BMW M3 and BMW M4
between the two facilities centered on the company's commitment to integrating the two
high-performance sports cars into the production processes for their respective donor
models. For example, the BMW M4 will be built alongside models including the standard
BMW 4 Series Coupe in Munich, and Regensburg is the venue for production of the BMW
3 Series Sedan as well as the new BMW M3. Among the benefits of "mixed" production
on a shared line is that the plants can respond quickly to market fluctuations by making
adjustments to unit figures as required. As well as efficient production planning and
logistics, the essential ingredient in this approach is the single-line system: both M models
will be built alongside their respective donor models on the same production line.
Intensive experience-sharing ensures a smooth production start-up.
This will be the first time the Munich plant has handled production of a lightweight design
concept bringing together an aluminum hood and side panels, CFRP roof and lightweight
tailgate in this combination. The bonding facility for the carbon roof in the paint shop is
also new to Munich. The intensive sharing of experience with colleagues in Regensburg
helps ensure that the employees in Munich maintain an outstanding level of manufacturing
expertise when it comes to lightweight design technologies. Indeed, Plant Regensburg can
call on many years of experience in lightweight design. As well as production of the
outgoing generation of the BMW M3 with its carbon roof, the Regensburg factory has also
been responsible for the manufacture of numerous BMW Motorsport touring cars built for
Hall of fame: The evolution of an automotive legend over three decades.
The new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe represent the fifth generation of a
pure-bred sports car offering excellent everyday usability – one which has raised the bar in
the ultra-high-performance mid-size sedan/coupe segment at every turn over the last
three decades. "The BMW M3 has been our iconic model in the high-performance sports
car segment since 1985, when the company unveiled the first generation of the BMW M3
at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt," recalls Dr Friedrich Nitschke, President
BMW M GmbH. "Today, 28 years later, the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4
Coupe are set to extend this tradition into a fifth generation and take the car's unique
combination of outstanding dynamics and unrestricted everyday usability to yet another
The first generation: forming the basis for the world's most successful touring
In spring 1985, the BMW Motorsport department began development of a racing machine
to line up in touring car competition. The road going version required for homologation –
5,000 examples of which had to be built for sale per year to satisfy the sporting regulations
for this category of racing – was conceived from the outset as a race-ready Group A
machine. The inaugural BMW M3 celebrated its premiere in September 1985 at the
Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), with the market launch following in summer 1986. Its naturally
aspirated four-cylinder engine developed 143 kW/195 hp (version without catalytic
converter: 147 kW/200 hp) from a 2.3-litre displacement, accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h /
62 mph in 6.8 s (6.7 s) and had a top speed of 230 km/h / 143 mph (235 km/h / 146 mph).
In this trim, the first-generation BMW M3 exceeded all sales expectations. Including the
Convertible variant, the various evolution stages of the car and the special-edition models,
BMW had sold a total of 17,970 units worldwide by the time production was wrapped up
The second generation: three variants of a "wolf in sheep's clothing".
The successor to the original M3 was not designed as the basis for a racing car. However,
it was developed from the outset in three body variants. The two-door Coupe, which made
its debut in 1992, was followed onto the market in 1994 by a Convertible and – for the first
time – a four-door Sedan. All three models were powered by a six-cylinder 3.0-litre engine
developing 210 kW/286 hp, which powered the car to 100 km/h / 62 mph from a standstill
in under six seconds. Top speed was electronically limited to 250 km/h / 155 mph. A
small-series M3 GT variant was added to the range in 1994, its 217 kW/295 hp sending it
straight to the top of the M3 performance scale at the time. In 1995 the car's
displacement was increased to 3.2 liters and output rose to 236 kW/321 hp.
In 1997 the BMW M3 became the world's first volume-produced car to be made available
as an option with the Sequential M Gearbox (SMG). This transmission variant was based
on the conventional gearbox for the M3, but with a clutch that was activated electrohydraulically
to change gears. M3 drivers no longer needed to press a clutch pedal; all they
had to do to change gear instantly on one level was pull or push the gearshift lever. Initial
skepticism was defied by impressive success, and by the time production came to an end
almost one in every two examples of this generation of the M3 generation was fitted with
an SMG gearbox. The M3 had grown from a niche sports car to a resounding sales
success: 71,242 units of the Coupe, Convertible and Sedan combined were produced at
Several design features of the second-generation BMW M3 also cemented their places in
the driver's consciousness. They included special light-alloy wheels in double-spoke
design and the specially formed, aerodynamically optimized exterior mirror casings with
their two wing-shaped struts. These highlights have been revisited time and again in
subsequent generations of the M3 in the form of some fascinating design cues.
The third generation: enhanced dynamics in a sharper design.
The third generation of the BMW M3 – launched in 2000 and available in coupe or
convertible form only – added another, now traditional, signature feature to the model: a
power dome on the hood. The new model also raised the bar another not inconsiderable
notch in terms of performance and dynamics. Its six-cylinder in-line engine still had 3.2-
litre displacement, but now developed 252 kW/343 hp. And that meant the M3 could
accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h / 62 mph in 5.2 seconds (Convertible: 5.5 s), should the
occasion demand. Almost more impressive still, though, was the sprint from 80 to 120
km/h / 50 to 75 mph, which could be dispatched in a mere 5.4 seconds. Evidence of the
six-cylinder engine's exceptional pulling power could not have been provided any more
For the first time, the BMW M3 now also came with a variable differential lock at the rear
axle allowing anywhere between 0 and 100 percent lock. The results were noticeable
benefits in terms of traction and grip when pulling away and cornering at pace. Added to
which, the second generation of the Sequential M Gearbox (SMG II) now also allowed the
driver to change gear using paddles on the steering wheel.
The sporting flagship of this M3 generation was the BMW M3 CSL introduced in 2003.
The three-letter suffix stood for "Coupe Sport Lightweight", a billing justified by elements
such as a carbon-fiber roof, center console and door panels, a lighter rear window and the
omission of numerous comfort-oriented features. With a curb weight of just 1,385
kilograms, it tipped the scales some 110 kilograms below the standard M3. All 1,383 units
of the 265 kW/360 hp "cornering king" were sold within just a few months.
The fourth generation: V-8 engine and intelligent lightweight design.
2007 signaled a break with tradition as the BMW M3 took to the stage for the first time in
15 years without the straight-six unit so frequently crowned Engine of the Year. Instead,
the fourth-generation car – which appeared in coupe, sedan and convertible form (the
latter joined the range in 2008) – was powered by an eight-cylinder unit. The new 3,999cc
engine developed 309 kW/420 hp and some 85 percent of its maximum 400 Newton
meters (542 lb-ft) of torque was available across a huge 6,500 rpm rev range. The
engineers continued along the path of lightweight design with the Coupe in particular. On
the back of positive experience with other M models, the roof was once again made from
carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The hood with its striking power dome was made from
aluminum, as were large sections of the newly developed lightweight chassis.
Among the highlights of the fourth-generation car's production run were the exclusive
small-series variants of the BMW M3 which shone an even brighter spotlight on its racinginspired
characteristics. Here, the BMW M3 GTS – road-registered but developed for club
sport racing – stood out in particular. The displacement of the standard M3's V-8 engine
was expanded to 4.4 liters to produce peak output of 331 kW/450 hp. Specially developed
chassis components and aerodynamic measures, plus a two-seat cockpit conceived for
track use, equipped this exclusive special-edition model (only available in show-stealing
Fire Orange paintwork) for competitive action on the track and generated a particularly
intense M feeling on the road. 135 examples of the BMW M3 GTS were delivered to
The BMW M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) presented in 2011 was limited to just 67
units. Exclusively manufactured lightweight components and modified chassis technology
imbued this 331 kW/450 hp model, which was based on the BMW M3 Sedan and built at
the BMW M GmbH factory, with exceptionally precise handling balance. The hood of the
BMW M3 CRT was made from two CFRP moldings encasing an aramid honeycomb
structure, its bucket seats featured two CFRP layers wrapped around a recycled-paper
honeycomb, and a carbon layer made using conventional production technology was
added to visible areas. A rear spoiler and an air-channeling element integrated into the
front apron (both made from CFRP) rounded off the exclusive lightweight elements found
on the BMW M3 CRT.