The veil of secrecy at BMW's M division has been lifted. Last night, BMW revealed the 2015 M3 sedan and M4 coupe. The two models enter a new era at M where turbocharging, a new naming system, technologies, and lighter weight are being served up on a plate.
Here's what you need to know about these high-performance cars from Bavaria.
M3 and M4? Say What!
Yeah, we're not too keen on BMW's decision with sedans/wagons wearing odd numbers and coupes/convertibles wearing even numbers, but that's something we can argue about another time. That new naming nomenclature carries over to the M division as the M3 is for the sedan and M4 is for the coupe.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about the exterior design of these two models. Both have a similar exterior package which consists of a bulging hood, front air dams, fender vents, and a rear diffuser. The back end on the M3 and M4 are slightly different. The M3 utilizes a lip spoiler, while the M4 has an integrated spoiler. Eighteen-inch wheels come standard, while nineteen-inch wheels are on the option list.
Inside, both models get spruced up with a new instrument cluster, sport seats, carbon fiber trim on the dashboard and on the center console, and a three-spoke steering wheel.
Return Of The Iconic Inline-Six
The last-generation M3 came with a 4.0L V8 engine that produced 414 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The 2015 M3 and M4 go back to the tried and true inline-six that has powered M3's for many years. The engine displaces 3.0L and features a twin-turbo setup. BMW says the engine is rated at 425 horsepower (up 11 horsepower) and 406 pound-feet of torque (up 111 pound-feet).
A six-speed manual transmission is standard and compared to the last six-speed transmission, this new one is 26.4 pounds lighter. The six-speed manual will also come with a automatic throttle blip system to rev-match downshifts. Available is a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which features launch control and "Stability Clutch Control" which opens up the clutch to alleviate understeer.
The run to 60 MPH takes 3.9 seconds with the seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and 4.1 seconds for the six-speed manual transmission. Top speed stands at 155 MPH (electronically limited).
BMW says the 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six sees a 25 percent increase in fuel consumption.
Peeking Under The Skin
The 2015 M3 and M4 are considerably lighter than the previous-generation M3. BMW says the M4 has a curb weight of around 3,300 pounds, a massive 404 pound drop when compared to the last-generation M3 Coupe. This is thanks in part to carbon fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum body panels and suspension components.
Both models will come with an electric power steering system that features three different settings. Optional is an Adaptive M suspension with electronically-controlled dampers that allows a driver to change from a setting good for track duties to one that's perfect for driving home.
Like previous M3's, the new M3 and M4 route their power to the rear wheels. New for these models is a Active M Differential which helps improve traction and control of the vehicle.
Debut and Going On Sale
The 2015 BMW M3 and M4 will debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show. Sales will begin sometime in the summer. As for pricing, expect information on that to come out sometime before the two models go on sale.
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