2021 BMW M3 and M4 Debut With Up To 503 HP, Available AWD and Manual Transmission

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

Zero bonus points for guessing what design element has people talking about this duo the most…

After a leak earlier in the week, BMW officially debuted the M3 and M4 duo late yesterday. The compact sport sedan and coupe follow the traditional Bavarian blueprint under the skin, with powerful inline-six engines sending power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual. That isn’t all though, as both will also offer all-wheel drive, with an automatic transmission no less, with the 503-horsepower Competition models.

As for the exteriors, well—you see it, right? Bugs Bunny. Bus Rodent from Fleabag. Whatever comparison you want to make—and the internet has made many already—the 4 Series’ controversial grille is now front and center on the M cars too. The M3 even picks up the coupe’s lights, visually distancing it from the rest of the 3 Series lineup. The rest of the package is easier to digest, with a vent slashing across the bodywork aft of the front wheels, and the signature quad-exhaust tail.

SEE ALSO: 2019 BMW X4 M Review: Good On Track, Better Off It
Hey, at least it won’t be mistaken for anything else on the road. And props to BMW for picking some actual colors for the debut: we’re big fans of that deep, Isle of Man Green on the M3.

Mechanically, both the regular and Competition models of the M3 and M4 use the same basic engine, BMW’s S58 inline-six. Standard models will produce 473 hp at 6,250 rpm, and a plateau of peak torque from 2,650 to 6,130 rpm. Row-your-own enthusiasts will be happy to know a six-speed manual transmission is standard. An eight-speed auto is standard on the higher-performance Competition models, which turn up the wick to 503 hp at the same peak rpm, and a huge 479 lb-ft from 2,750 to 5,500 rpm. Carbon fiber shift paddles come standard with the auto, and the Competition models pick up their own unique wheel design as well, measuring 18 inches up front and 19 in the back.

Initially, these Competition models will stick to rear-wheel drive. BMW is bending to the demands of the segment however, and come next summer, all-wheel drive will also be an option.

Performance is, as expected, pretty damn quick. The core models will snap off 0–60 mph blasts in 4.1 seconds; the Competitions will drop that further, to 3.8. Top whack is the typical 155 mph, but BMW will up it to 180 mph if you want to hand over more money.

BMW has stuffed a bunch of driver assist programs into the new cars, as well as tech for more spirited driving. Chief amongst the latter is the optional M Drive Professional feature. This analyzes your track driving, giving you feedback on how to improve your laps. It also includes a mode that scores your drifts, because why not? Drivers can export the data to the BMW M Laptimer app on iPhones.

SEE ALSO: 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i Review

The M mode button returns too, allowing drivers to select between Road and Sport settings, tailoring the drive assists as well as the instrument cluster display and (optional) head-up display. There’s a Track mode too, though it’s only available in cars with the M Drive Professional option box ticked.

The rest of the interior follows the general design of the 3 and 4 Series. A standard digital instrument panel is present, plus unique M sport seats. We’re more interested in the wild optional M Carbon bucket seats you see above, though. With very aggressive bolstering and the same Yas Marina blue hue as the previous-gen M4, they look awesome. Please, if you’re one of the people looking to pick either of these new models up, spec these. Thanks in advance.

Speaking of buying, the new M3 lineup kicks off at $70,895 for the standard sedan, or $2,900 more for the high-power Competition. The M4 starts at $75,695, needing the same $2,900 to upgrade to the Competition model. Expect more detailed pricing on the various options and packages closer to the Spring 2021 launch.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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