The headline is a 30bhp power bump from the turbo’d straight-six powerplant, up to 503bhp – just 4bhp less than the legendary V10 in the E60/E61 M5. As expected it comes only with a fast-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox and rear-wheel drive as standard, for maximum un-forwards potential. If you’re wondering, the new cars are 60bhp angrier than the old Competition models.
Interestingly the M3 and M4 will be built at separate plants; Munich for the four-door and Dingolfing for the coupe. Both will use the same engine, though, a twin-blown 3.0-litre straight-six with an eye-opening 74lb ft more than the standard (manual) car’s equivalent. Peak torque is mashed rearwards between 2700rpm and 5500rpm, with peak power reached between 5500rpm and the 7200rpm redline.
Whether it’s the four-door or the three-, you’ll be able to chomp through the 0-62mph launch in just 3.9 seconds and you’ll hammer into the 155mph limiter with all the force of Thor impacting a baddie’s doomed jawline. For a fee you can upgrade the top speed to a more Autobahn-beasting 180mph as part of the M Pro Package.
Official figures put the cars’ fuel economy at 27.7mpg, but we’ll believe that when we see it. Other cool engineering factors include a bespoke twin-circuit cooling setup, with a low-temperature system for cooling the intercooler and a separate high-temperature line for cooling the engine and turbos. Each turbo feeds its own cylinder bank.
Three Drivelogic drive modes are standard, for comfort, sporty road driving and flat-out track use. Whichever you choose, more traction will soon be on tap with the arrival of the familiar M xDrive all-wheel drive system planned to arrive next summer. Power is initially split via the Steptronic transmission’s electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch, but then an Active M Differential at the rear axle allows for slip-limiting finesse.
A new ‘integrated wheel slip limitation function’ is built into the stability control to mitigate any potential traction loss in uneven grip conditions, or on wet or snowy roads. An M Dynamic button on the steering wheel allows greater sideways angles to help you look heroic – where the law and conditions allow, obviously. There’s a DSC Off button, but it’s not clear whether the systems can be turned fully, wholly off.
At the front will sit 380mm brake discs gripped by six-piston calipers. The rears will be 370mm items with single-piston stoppers. Of course, the options list is as long as the day’s stock exchange print-outs, so among the many ways to splash additional cash is a set of 400mm and 380mm carbon ceramic discs with gold-painted calipers.
Prices are to be confirmed at a later date. Oh, and because we haven’t mentioned it yet, yes it does still have that face, and no, something more handsome isn’t on the options list. At least we can look forward to the first official M3 Touring.