Iconic. Legendary. Venerable. Fabled … words are easy to use to create hyperbole, and all too often they’re used in a misguided fashion; is it really possible to have a ‘legendary’ car? Well, once or twice in a lifetime, a car does rightly earn that status, and you’d have to argue that the BMW M3 does deserve that acclaim.
It has been around for 35 years now, and has pretty much always been the benchmark of saloon car performance. Sure, one or two pretenders have come along for brief spells and tried to bloody its nose, but their success has been fleeting, if at all.
BMW have revamped the M3, and updated the M4, just to ensure that their place in saloon car performance history is locked in forever, and you just know that they’ll deliver.
Let’s just get the elephant in the room, out of the room … the front grille (on both) is very marmite; love it or hate it, it’s a talking point.
Putting aside the massive dual-kidney grille, other updates will be much better received – like the new twin-turbo straight six engine, with a maximum horsepower rating of 503hp (in the ‘Competition’ model), while the regular run-of-the-mill model has to make do with just 473hp. Hardly a snooze fest.
Speaking of new things – BMW have also released teaser images of an M3 Tourer, and that definitely has to go on the wishlist.
Getting back to the M3 & 4, there are so many high points, it’s difficult to know where to start – the carbon fibre roof? Adaptive suspension? Four-wheel drive? (courtesy of the M5) Or perhaps the manual gearbox?
The thought of an old school manual is appealing to the ‘driving enthusiast’, but the reality is that the modern automatic ‘boxes are so good, and intuitive, that the manual option now seems just outdated, and un-needed. Perhaps BMW should fit an ‘H’ gated manual option for those obsessing over retro touches, that are truly outdated? That’s not to say that the manual gearbox has been added as a cost-cutting measurement – it really hasn’t, it’s just that the automatic gearbox really is that good. (in fact, the Competition model is only available with the automatic option).
Putting power, and toys aside, the experience behind the wheel also feels all-new. Mid-range punch (50 – 70mph) has been improved by a whole second, which makes overtaking a breeze, and that’s what these models are all about.
Equally, choosing the upgrade option for Carbon-Ceramic brakes means stopping at the other end is also vastly improved, and part of that package sees the top speed being raised somewhat – find a private track with a long enough straight, and you’ll get 180mph (rather than the standard 155mph).
Being honest, we usually try and avoid talk of top speeds, performance and power, but this is what the M3 and M4 represent … this is what you’re spending your money on, so it’s good to know that BMW deliver in that respect, but then you already knew that either of these M cars can do more than most.
If you’re looking to find out more information, share your opinion on the new grille, or discuss how you find yourself driving one of these legends, then contact our team of professionals to find out just how that can happen.