BMW has lifted the veil of secrecy from its new M4, revealing that the coupe will boast far more torque, noticeably less weight and comprehensively uprgraded technology compared with the M3 Coupe that it replaces.
The M4′s mechanically-identical sedan sibling, which retains the traditional M3 nameplate, has also been revealed.
Like the redesigned M3, the M4 sports a muscular-looking front fascia, flared fenders and a hood bulge that signals the presence of something mean lying beneath. Air curtains mounted in the front apron team up with “Air Breathers” – that’s BMW-speak for fender vents – to optimize airflow around the wheel arches and improve aerodynamics. Around back, a diffuser with inset quad tailpipes and a lip spoiler provide both style and function. Eighteen-inch rims are fitted as standard, while 19-inchers can be specified as an option.
The heart of the M Division’s latest creation is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six that churns out 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque from just 1,850 rpm all the way to 5,500 rpm. Those figures represent gains of 11 ponies and, more importantly, 111 lb-ft of twist compared to the old M3 Coupe’s 4.0-liter V8, with peak torque arriving 2,050 rpm earlier.
While official ratings have yet to be released, BMW claims a fuel economy improvement of 25 percent; the 2013 M3 Coupe was rated at 14/20 city/highway mpg.
Buyers will be offered the choice of new manual and dual-clutch automatic gearboxes. The standard-equipment six-speed stick features a rev-matched downshift function and helps the M4 to accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in a claimed 4.1 seconds, while the seven-speed dual-clutch – which is up a gear over the previous unit – gets launch control and a slightly quicker sprint time of 3.9 seconds. Also part of the septa-cog’s bag of tricks is a “Stability Clutch Control” function that opens one of the clutches in order to quell understeer.
Upgraded M compound brakes on all four corners and a stiffened, track-tuned suspension will keep M4′s considerable power in check. As expected, the M3 Coupe’s hydraulic-assist steering gives way to a new, more efficient electric-assist setup with three different effort modes. An optional Adaptive M suspension with electronically-controlled dampers also offers a trio of modes, allowing drivers to prioritize ride comfort or handling agility.
All M4s will be equipped with an Active M Differential that monitors throttle inputs, the rotational speed of the wheels and the car’s yaw rates in order to maximize traction.
Thanks in part to the increased use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum in the body and suspension, the M4 is an impressive 176 lbs. lighter than its predecessor. Contributing to the weight loss are components like the new six-speed manual (-26 lbs.), smaller engine (-22 lbs.) and carbon fiber roof (-13 lbs.).
The Inside Story
Those familiar with the standard 4-Series coupe’s interior will immediately feel at home in the M4. Model-specific cabin upgrades include a unique instrument cluster, a sporty three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, sports seats and carbon fiber trim on the dashboard and on the center console. Naturally, liberal helpings of M badging are also part of the package. A tablet-style 6.5-inch display screen mounted on top of the dashboard displays stereo and vehicle information.
Notable options will include a head-up display, a front collision warning system, full LED headlights, and, on the performance end, lightweight and extra fade-resistant carbon ceramic brakes.
The M4 will make its in-the-sheetmetal debut at the North American International Auto Show in January, after which it will ship out to dealership by early summer. Watch for pricing, standard features and the full options list to be released closer to that launch date.