BMW M3 and M4 Driven

Tim
By Tim Suddard
Jun 10, 2014

The flashy M4 proved its bite could match its bark.

Yesterday, BMW unleashed their new M3 sedan and M4 coupe on the motoring press and we were there to enjoy it. Less weight, more power—425 horsepower—and an even better chassis add up to the best BMWs we have ever driven. Going all out on the full 4.1 mile Road America, arguably the nation’s fastest and longest race track, we were amazed at the abilities these new sports packages provide.

Listening to criticism about fuel economy, weight and styling on more recent M3 models, BMW went back to the drawing board and came up with an all-new M3 and M4, which replaces the M3 coupe in the lineup.

BMW tells us the M3 sedan and the M4 coupe weigh 180 pounds less than their bulky predecessors.

Equipment levels, specs and dimensions are nearly identical on the new coupe and five-passenger sedans. The prices are not, as the base price for the M3 sedan is $62,925 and M4 coupe runs $64,125. While not cheap, little else in this price range offers this level of performance.

These cars come with a mostly new 3.0 liter twin-turbo, inline six-cylinder engine which is actually a derivation of the engine found in the discontinued 1M. It offers 406 lb-ft of torque to go with the aforementioned 425 horsepower.

Transmission choices include a light-weight, modified six-speed manual box from the 1M and an optional seven-speed, DCT—dual-clutch—semi automatic that works exceedingly well, even when subjected to vigorous track use.

On the big Road America track we were truly impressed with how well the optional carbon fiber brakes slowed the car and how astonishingly high the grip level was in steady state cornering. Turn in was precise, despite the car being equipped with electronic power steering. Mild, completely controllable understeering was the predominant handling characteristic and despite insane amounts of power, grip and brakes, these cars will prove very easy for BMW CCA, NASA and other track day drivers to handle. Despite the price point, we suspect these cars will soon become staples at track day events across the nation.

Out on the road these new M cars are quite livable as well. With 25% better mileage figures than their predecessors, owners can expect a very reasonable 25-30 mpg on the highway. We found the suspension, when set on comfort mode, was very acceptable on Wisconsin’s bumpy back roads.

Lighter, faster, more comfortable and better looking, that is how we sum up BMWs new M3 and M4. We see a great new winner at the top end of our market segment.

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