The BMW M3 and M4 Will Have Up to 510 Horsepower, and You can Have a Manual Transmission too!

BMW has finally confirmed that, as expected, the upcoming 2021 BMW M3 and M4 will be offered in standard M trim and Competition trim. What’s more important, however, is the impressive improvement that comes with the new generation, including an output increase of 66 horsepower over the current M3 and M4 Competition. With the 2021 M3 and M4 Competition pumping out 510 horsepower, can they hold their own against the Mercedes-AMG C63 S and the Audi RS5? You bet your ass they can.

Standard M3 and M4 or Competition – A Sacrifice Must Be Made

BMW Is Outgunning Mercedes and Audi With the new BMW M3 and M4
- image 917440

Along with a plethora of official spy shots, BMW released quite a bit of information about the upcoming M3 and M4. The first part of that information is that the M3 and M4 will be available in standard or Competition trim, with the Competition trim, obviously, being a little more powerful. The base models will deliver a cool 480 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque – figures that represent a 55 horsepower and 73 pound-foot increase over the current U.S. models (based on the M4). Meanwhile, the Competition models will deliver 510 horsepower, an improvement of 85 horsepower over the current M3 and M4 or 66 horsepower over the current Competition models.

BMW Is Outgunning Mercedes and Audi With the new BMW M3 and M4
- image 917458

However, when it comes to buying the next-gen M3 or M4, it will be about more than choosing between having two and four doors, or an extra reserve of horsepower. The base M3 and M4 will be offered with a manual transmission, and everything is right in the world. But, if you want either of the Competition models, you’ll have to deal with BMW’s (rather awesome for what it is) eight-speed automatic transmission, presumably with flappy paddles behind the steering wheel. At launch, only RWD will be offered, but eventually xDrive AWD will make it to the options list for the Competition model sometime a year or two after launch.

In the press release that gave us this information, Dirk Hacker, the Head of Development for M Automobiles, said,

BMW Is Outgunning Mercedes and Audi With the new BMW M3 and M4
- image 917454
“For customers who prefer a puristic performance experience and particularly intense interaction with their vehicle, the model variants with a manual transmission constitute an offer that is unique in this segment. On the other hand, with the Competition versions of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe, we are addressing maximum dynamics in regards power development and transfer—initially with classic rear-wheel drive and, at a later date, also in conjunction with the latest version of our four-wheel-drive system M xDrive.”

As of now, BMW hasn’t confirmed which straight-six engine it is cramming under the hood of the new M3 and M4, but there’s a good chance it’s the S58 that also powers the X3 and X4 M.

Will the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 Beat Mercedes?

BMW Is Outgunning Mercedes and Audi With the new BMW M3 and M4
- image 917436

With 480-510 horsepower on tap, the M3 and M4 will give both the Mercedes-AMG C63 S and the Audi RS5 a battle worthy of Klingon songs. With the Audi RS5 delivering just 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, both trims of the M3 and M4 will beat it to the ground with extreme prejudice. The standard models will fall just shy of the AMG C63 S, but the Competition models will have it by 7 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of torque.

We have yet to be enlightened about how fast the new M3 and M4 will be, but the C63 S and RS5 can make it to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. With the current M4 in non-competition form hitting the sprint in 3.9 seconds, you can bet the M3 Competition will get there in 3.7 and the M4 competition should at least match the 3.8-second sprint.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
About the author

Related Articles

BMW Resorts to Tesla-Style Trolling With Latest BMW M3 and M4 Teaser Image

2020 BMW M3

2018 BMW M3 CS

2018 BMW M4

2016 BMW 3 Series

2015 BMW M3

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: