ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS REPORTS ON TWO NEW M CARS FROM BMW
How time flies, some thirty five years have passed since the debut of the first BMW M3 and now BMW is presenting the latest generation of its high-performance model which fuses track-focused performance with everyday use. You could say it’s a car for all reasons. There are two versions, Competition Saloon (pictured) and M4 Competition Coupe occupy very different territory. On the one hand, a saloon with space for five occupants, the other a four-seater coupe, however they both achieve their common goal of delivering pure driving pleasure. They enjoy class leading levels of standard equipment plus options that take individualisation to new heights, especially for racetrack outings, ensuring both models will continue the success of their formidable predecessors.
Optional equipment is offered in six main packages, Comfort, Technology Plus, Visibility, M Carbon, M Pro and Ultimate. Beyond these packages, there will be a select number of optional items including M Brakes in red, blue or black, M Carbon exterior, M Carbon seats and Park Assistant Plus with Drive Recorder. Resting under the bonnet lies a 510bhp high-revving straight-six engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology, which teams up with an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission as it sends its power to the rear wheels.
The engine powering the new high-performance models sets a new high point in terms of output and torque for six-cylinder in-line petrol units from BMW. The power unit offers 60bhp more than the maximum output of its predecessor models and increases its peak torque by 100Nm. This new three litre straight-six engine combines the hallmark high-revving character of M engines with the latest version of M TwinPower Turbo technology. The engine maintains peak torque up to the moment where maximum output is reached: 650Nm is on tap between 2,700 and 5,500rpm, from when maximum output of 510bhp is sustained up to the 7,200rpm red line. Both cars accelerate from 0 to 100kph (62mph) in 3.9 seconds while top speed is electronically limited to 250kph (155mph), rising to 290kph (180mph) if the optional M Pro Package is specified. Both models use a specially tuned eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. This transmission enables both fully automatic gear changes and manual shifts with sequential gear selection. Fitted as standard along with the newly designed selector lever are carbon gearshift paddles on the steering wheel. With a simple tap of a paddle the driver can switch from automatic to manual mode. The transmission’s shift characteristics are adjusted using the Drivelogic button integrated into the selector lever. The driver can access three clearly distinct setups – comfort oriented, sports focused or track optimised. For the first time in the history of the M3 and M4, customers will be able to specify an all-wheel-drive system again expected from summer 2021, as an alternative to traditional rear-wheel drive. The engine’s power is distributed between the front and rear wheels via the transfer case’s electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, before the Active M Differential splits it again between the two rear wheels.
The specially developed system significantly enhances acceleration from standstill and the driver can configure the distribution of power as required via the Setup menu. In the default 4WD setting, signature M rear-biased power transmission goes hand-in-hand with unshakable traction and precisely controllable handling. 4WD Sport mode directs a greater proportion of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels to optimise track performance. Switching off DSC brings 2WD mode into the equation, with no intervention from the control systems.
When this pair arrive on Irish roads you will not fail to miss the distinctive, aerodynamically optimised exteriors of both which convey their motorsport-inspired character.
Both models have a deep, frameless and all-black BMW kidney grille and the hallmark M double bars, now horizontally arranged, bear a model badge. Yet another stunning example of cars from BMW which can be enjoyed every day or on track.