We just wrapped up our coverage of the 2014 North American International Auto Show and there is no doubt that the all-new M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe were two of the stars this year. Both cars are making their world premiere and BMW brought each variant in their respective unique colors to get the maximum effect.
The BMW M3 Sedan debuted in Detroit wearing the previously spied Yas Marina Blue while the M4 showed up in Austin Yellow. The colors are surely unique and it is going to be well received for those who want to push the envelope and stick out from the crowd. The truth is that just buying any F80 M3 or F82 M4 is going to turn heads given the presence and performance that this next generation M3/M4 brings to the market. All the details stand out in their own way including the flared fenders, the carbon fiber roof, obvious power dome or even the optional massive carbon ceramic brakes. This car was meant to stand out in the crowd.
While the exterior design is a step in the right direction, it is everything that you can't see that is going to make you take notice. An un-named BMW representative who has had the chance to drive early versions of the car describes the M3/M4 as having a "monster of a motor" and that "people aren't going to be ready for it". This generation M3/M4 now boasts 425 horsepower (up from 414) and a massive 406 lb-ft of torque (up from 296) available from 1,800 RPMs.
While more power is all well and good, the better news is that this M3/M4 also weighs less which means an even higher power to weight ratio. How good? The weight saved in the design process brings the weight to just under that of the E46 M3 which produced 333 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. This represents a total weight savings of about 176 pounds from the previous generation M3/M4. This is a huge improvement and a reversal of recent trends that had seen cars increasing in size as well as weight. With the increased use of CFRP, we fully expect to see this trend continue as new models come to market starting with the next generation 7 series.
It looks good. It has gobs of power. How does it drive? That is the one question that we can't fully answer yet. The one big concern was the inclusion of Electromechanical Power Steering (EPS) on an M car for the first time. After sitting down to speak with Carsten Pries (Head of BMW Product Management, BMW M Automobiles and BMW Individual, BMW AG), our minds are at ease. This is NOT the EPS system that you have driven in the past. This is the M specific version of EPS. This system is built from the ground up with all new hardware and all new programming. This was a huge investment cost but one that the M division felt was 100% necessary to ensure the precision and direct feedback was exactly as one has come to expect from an M car.
Everywhere you look on these new M cars, you see improvements from previous generations and it gives us a sense of hope that this is going to be the amazing car it is being sold as. They have even kept the 6 speed manual as the standard transmission and redeveloped it along the way to improve performance and lose 26.4 pounds of weight. This all sounds really great but the real test is when they finally let us get behind the wheel. Until then, we are left hoping that all the good selling points of the car come through and we wind up with something that makes us want to stretch our budgets next time to own this car.
What do you think of the all-new M3 and M4? What are you excited about?
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