Topic: 2015 BMW M3 and M4
Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ
BMW's newest 'M' offerings left this reviewer wanting more. But they come at a price.
What won me over about the E90/E92 M3 was its engine, which was a normally aspirated 4.0-litre, V8 that produced 414 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Power was only sent to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Not only was the car quick, but it was also stable and handled great.
BMW moved on, and time has brought along a lot of changes. The new model is split into two different series, with the F80 sedan called the M3, and the F82 coupe called the M4. Both share the same mechanical bits, but wear different bodies.
The biggest cause of concern for the last batch of M3 is BMW’s direction towards the powertrain. In comes a new, 3.0-litre, inline-six cylinder engine that features two, twin-scroll turbo chargers. This smaller, lighter motor is more powerful, producing 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. It is also quite a bit more fuel-efficient than the old V8 motor – I had averaged 10.4 litres/100km in a week. Power like every M3 goes to just the rear wheels. Transmission choice is the same as the last model – you either get a six-speed manual or a seven- speed dual-clutch automatic.
How does the car make you feel when you first approach it? If the styling makes you smile, it’s a winner. Both the 2015 M3 sedan and the M4 coupe passed this test.
While both these models are beautiful, I must say I prefer the M3. There are not many high-performance four-door sedans in this category, and of those available, the new M3 is easily one of the most striking to behold.
In the coupe game, things are a little different, because the M4 coupe has to compete with cars like the sexy Jaguar F-Type coupe. While the M4 is an attractive coupe, it is not the most visually arresting in its category.
Open the door and you’ll be greeted with a very similar interior for both the new M3 and M4. The cars have the same dashboard, the same seats and the same toys. The M3 gives you separate doors to access the rear seats, while the M4 doesn’t. Even the trunk capacity between the two is virtually identical.
Both my testers did not feature BMW’s adaptive suspension technology, so they were riding on the standard springs and dampers, which are fine on a highway run, but the ride quality on city streets is a bit too harsh. Because of its stiffer shell, the M4 felt uncomfortable.
On twisty roads, the handling was impressive as the new chassis does a great job of hanging on. The only thing that keeps you on your toes is that extra bit of torque going to the rear wheels, because it can quite easily overcome the traction of the rubber and allow the rear end to swing out a bit. If that happens, not to panic and keep on the throttle, as the new traction and stability control system cuts in ever so gently and corrects everything to keep you going in the right direction. This slight feeling of a loose rear end actually makes the new M3 and M4 feel more like a driver’s car, which is what enthusiasts want.
The cars are fast. They go from zero to 100 km/h dealt with in just 4.1 seconds, while top speed is electronically pegged at 250 km/h. I never attempted to test its top speed claims, but on some deserted back roads, I did push these “M” cars a bit, and found them to be very stable and confidence inspiring. Just as impressive as the “go” power are the brakes, which look to be the size of dinner plates and can haul you down in a real hurry.
I bet you want one now, but be ready to fork out $74,000 for a base M3 and $75,000 for the base M4. They aren’t cheap, but “M” cars never were, and the performance you get for this kind of money is spectacular.
Any complaints? Yes, I had to give them back after a week.