Best believe that the new M3 and its coupé sibling the M4 are coming. Here’s what we know about them

BMW confirmed that the next-generation G80 M3 and G82 M4 will see daylight in 2020, but hasn’t offered an exact launch date. Some say it could happen at the Geneva Motor Show, while some say a mid-2020 debut is also quite likely, but then it should entail a private, BMW-centric event of sorts. Or maybe the Goodwood Festival of Speed, then? Either way, sales will kick off in early 2021.

As usual, there’s a lot of stuff we don’t know about the incoming BMW M3/M4 duo, such as price, the said launch date, and, most importantly, performance figures. So we focused on what we know about the new M3 and M4 and what we expect BMW to offer for the two.

2021 BMW M3 and M4 Interior and Exterior Design

2021 BMW M3/M4: All You Need to Know Spyshots Exterior
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If we are to take BMW M CEO Markus Flasch’s word for it, the new M3 and M4 will look “phenomenal.” And they should, because they are BMW M’s crown jewels. Mr. Flasch spoke with BMW Blog and revealed that “the cars will differentiate very much from the base models” and that “we [BMW M] have gone to a greater extent than we have done in the past.”

Sounds encouraging? Sure, but there’s only one potential issue here. The upcoming M3 and M4 will reportedly flaunt the bombastic beaver-teeth grille (or a slightly toned-down version of it) introduced by the BMW Concept 4 prototype at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. What’s more, there ar rumors saying that each car will get its own version of the grille with different slats design, for the differentiation purposes mentioned above.

2021 BMW M3/M4: All You Need to Know Spyshots Exterior
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All in all, expect a sculpted, muscular body kit that would go hand in hand with the cars’ beating hearts. In other words, look for bulky spoilers, diffusers, air scoops, maybe even bulging hoods, and large wheels for good measure.

2021 BMW M3/M4: All You Need to Know Spyshots Exterior
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On the inside, although cabin shots are scarce, we expect a topography similar to what you get in the current BMW 3 Series, albeit with M-specific tweaks: a sportier steering wheel, the 12 o’clock marking, Alcantara trim, carbon fiber, bucket seats, you get the big picture. Whether BMW M manages to surprise us in this area and come up with something revolutionary remains to be seen, but don’t hold your breath on that.

2021 BMW M3 and M4 Engine and Performance

2020 BMW X3 M
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According to Car and Driver, the incoming 2021 BMW M3 and BMW M4 are set to adopt the S85 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six unit found inside the BMW X3 M and X4 M. The motor is developed on the B85 powerplant that motivates the M340i, but according to the same source, it gets larger bore and shorter stroke. Plus, it’s going to be offered in two flavors.

Car and Driver estimates that the base M3 and M4 will make do with 473 horsepower, whereas Competition-badged versions are to be blessed with 503 horsepower, the same numbers as in the X3/X4 M. These higher-specced M3s and M4s could be available from the off, as BMW will be looking to adopt a strategy similar to Mercedes-AMG, which offers standard and S versions for its go-fast cars.

Speaking of which, 503 horsepower in the M3/M4 Competition would be one par with what the Mercedes-AMG C 63 makes from its V-8 engine. Torque-wise, the X3/X4 M’s 442 pound-feet of twist should do the trick, so we’ll take that for now.

2021 BMW M3 and M4 Transmission

According to Road & Track, a manual gearbox is also promised by BMW, together with an all-wheel-drive setup similar to that implemented in the BMW M5 and M8.

2020 BMW X4 M Drivetrain
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Yeah, that’s the one with the Drift Mode, which can decouple the front axle for more pizzazz (read: drifts and burnouts) behind the wheel. Most likely, the AWD system will come as an option, so purists will still get a proper RWD M3 and M4 in standard guise.

Transmission-wise, the same outlet writes that the new M3 and M4 will make the switch to a torque-converter unit, coming to replace the dual-clutch setup found inside current models.

Final Thoughts

2021 BMW M3/M4: All You Need to Know Exterior
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Besides a raucous character, the new BMW M3 and M4 will also have to provide daily drivability. The current models are good at that, as are the rivals: both the Mercedes-AMG C 63 and Porsche 911 can deliver that day-to-day, healthy-kidney driving experience to some extent - with the mention that the 911 isn’t the most practical of the bunch.

On that front, we expect comfy seats all around and the ability to soften up the suspension at the push of a button, especially in the M3, which some might see fit to take the kids to school in. Then again, BMW should be able to pull that off easily, given that it already knows how to balance performance and softness in its sporty coupes/sedans. It’s also possible that those looking for the extra verve will be offered special editions of a more hardcore ilk, like the Competition or CS. We’ll see.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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