Πλέον και επίσημα η BMW μας παρουσίασε τις Μ3 Sedan και Μ4 Coupe, όπου με το λανσάρισμα τους η βαυαρέζικη φίρμα αποκαλύπτει τη πέμπτη γενιά της Μ3 με μια νέα ερμηνεία του όρου σπορ αυτοκινήτου υψηλών επιδόσεων, τον turbo κινητήρα τους.
Έχοντας πουλήσει πάνω από 40.000 αυτοκίνητα της τέταρτης γενιάς της M3 Coupe, η BMW M4 πλέον, επιθυμεί να συνεχίσει την βαριά ιστορία του μοντέλου. Σχεδιαστικά η ολοκαίνουρια M3 Sedan φοράει μια εξαιρετικά επιθετική μάσκα, με μαύρες γρίλιες στα χαρακτηριστικά «νεφρά», τονισμένες εισαγωγές αέρα στον προφυλακτήρα και νέο καπό με φούσκωμα στο κέντρο. Στην οροφή βρίσκουμε ανθρακονημάτινη οροφή, επιβεβαιώνοντας τις μέχρι τώρα φήμες ενώ άλλα highlights περιλαμβάνουν τις γκρι ζάντες ελαφρού κράματος με τις πέντε διπλές ακτίνες, τους κλασικούς αεροδυναμικούς καθρέφτες και τις χρυσές δαγκάνες.
Από την άλλη πλευρά, η M4 Coupe δεν έχει αλλάξει σημαντικά σε σύγκριση με το concept που είδαμε πριν λίγο καιρό, έχοντας το ίδιο χρυσό χρώμα, με «ασορτί» δαγκάνες ενώ όπως και η M3 Sedan. Σε γενικές γραμμές η M4 εκμεταλλεύεται το coupe αμάξωμα και μοιάζει πιο κομψή ενώ το εσωτερικό θα είναι πρακτικά πανομοιότυπο και στα δύο μοντέλα.
Η μπροστά ανάρτηση MacPherson, όπως και η πίσω πολλαπλών συνδέσμων είναι κατασκευασμένες από ελαφριά υλικά ώστε να μειωθεί το μη αναρτώμενο βάρος και να αυξηθεί η ακαμψία. Από το εργοστάσιο και τα δύο τα αυτοκίνητα φορούν ζάντες 18″ με ελαστικά διαστάσεων 255/40 μπροστά και 275/40 πίσω, αλλά στον πρόσθετο εξοπλισμό υπάρχουν ζάντες 19″.
Το βάρος της Μ4 είναι 1497 κιλά, κάτι που το κάνει κατά 80 κιλά ελαφρύτερο από το προηγούμενο μοντέλο και μεγιστοποιεί τα δυναμικά χαρακτηριστικά, εξασφαλίζοντας άριστη απόδοση. Για να επιτευχθεί αυτό έχει γίνει αυξημένη χρήση ελαφρών υλικών όπως ανθρακονήματα με ενισχυμένο πλαστικό (CFRP) και αλουμινίου σε ένα μεγάλο μέρος εξαρτημάτων του πλαισίου και του σώματος. Η CFRP οροφή, σε σχέση της συμβατικής, ζυγίζει 5 κιλά λιγότερα στην M3 και 6 κιλά στην M4.
Τόσο η M3 Sedan όσο και M4 Coupe εφοδιάζονται με τον ίδιο 3-λιτρο εξακύλινδρο εν σειρά TwinPower Turbo S55 κινητήρα που αποδίδει ακριβώς 431 άλογα και 550Nm ροπής. Σύμφωνα με την BMW συνδυάζει τις αρετές ενός υψηλόστροφου ατμοσφαιρικού με τα πλεονεκτήματα της τεχνολογίας των turbo. Για τα 0-100 χλμ/ώρα χρειάζεται μόλις 4,1 δευτ. χρησιμοποιώντας το επτατάχυτο κιβώτιο διπλού συμπλέκτη M-DCT (4,3 δευτ. με το 6-τάχυτο μηχανικό κιβώτιο), ενώ είναι και κατά 25% πιο οικονομικός έχοντας μέση κατανάλωση 8,3 λίτρα/100 χλμ με το 7-τάχυτο αυτόματο κιβώτιο και 8,8 λίτρα/100 χλμ με το 6-τάχυτο μηχανικό. Η τελική ταχύτητα περιορίζεται ηλεκτρονικά στα 250 χλμ/ώρα, αλλά με το πακέτο M Driver’s Package ο περιοριστής φεύγει και η τελική ταχύτητα ανεβαίνει στα 280 χλμ/ώρα.
Τα φρένα τους αποτελούνται από συμβατικούς αεριζόμενους δίσκους, αλλά στον πρόσθετο εξοπλισμό συναντάμε και carbon-κεραμικά φρένα. Το αυτόματο κιβώτιο M DCT διαθέτει μάλιστα σύστημα εκκίνησης και σύστημα burnout, όπως αυτό που φημολογείται πως διαθέτει επίσης και η νέα Mustang.
Ντεμπούτο θα κάνουν τον Γενάρη στην έκθεση του Detroit με την M3 να κατασκευάζεται στο εργοστάσιο της BMW στη πόλη Regensburg και την M4 στο εργοστάσιο του Μονάχου. Μπορείς να δεις το φυλλάδιο παραγγελιών που έχει ήδη διαρρεύσει, τα πλήρη τεχνικά χαρακτηριστικά τόσο της M3 όσο και της M4 ενώ δεν πρέπει να ξεχάσεις να διαβάσεις τα 10 πράγματα που πρέπει να ξέρεις για αυτά τα δύο αυτοκίνητα καθώς και το επίσημο PDF παρουσίασής της.
The new BMW M3 Saloon and BMW M4 Coupe
The launch of the new BMW M3 Saloon and new BMW M4 Coupé heralds the arrival of the fifth-generation of the iconic high-performance sports car from BMW M. For the first time the Coupé and Saloon models receive individual model names, in deference to the different model series that provide their basis.
Another first is the adoption of a turbocharged engine for this BMW M model: the high-revving, 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology has been specifically developed for this purpose, and produces a maximum output of 431hp. Its peak torque of 550Nm is available across a very wide rev range starting at just 1,850rpm, and exceeds the figure recorded by the outgoing BMW M3 by roughly 40 per cent. In spite of this, the new engine also achieves a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions of around 25 per cent.
To maximise dynamic ability and ensure excellent efficiency, a weight loss of over 80kgs has been achieved compared to a comparably equipped predecessor model. Specific weight-saving measures include the increased use of lightweight materials: both models now feature a carbon-fibre reinforced plastic roof.
BMW M engineers have paid particular attention to the car’s aerodynamic performance, and incorporated the latest Active M Differential amongst numerous other technical highlights. During the development process the engineers worked closely with BMW Motorsport’s professional racing drivers, with extensive testing and set-up work carried out on the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit.
|Model||Power (hp)||Torque (Nm)||0-62mph (secs)||Top speed (mph)||Combined (mpg)||CO2 emissions (g/km)|
|BMW M3 Saloon||431||550||4.3 (4.1)||155* (155*)||32.1 (34.0)||204 (194)|
|BMW M4 Coupé||431||550||4.3 (4.1)||155* (155*)||32.1 (34.0)||204 (194)|
The balance of the overall concept: high power, low weight, driving pleasure.
The new BMW M3 Saloon and new BMW M4 Coupé are formed from a host of finely blended elements, all working in perfect harmony to deliver outstanding performance, precision and agility on road and track.
With the new BMW M3 Saloon and M4 Coupé, the engineers sought to optimally channel the air around the car in the quest for ultimate performance, while also ensuring the engine, powertrain and brakes receive the requisite cooling. Even when operating under heavy loads on the racing circuit. The aggressively styled front apron, smooth under-body and the clearly defined lip spoiler at the rear of the M3 Saloon (or integrated bootlid spoiler at the rear of the BMW M4 Coupé) reduce lift by an equal amount at the front and rear axle, to the benefit of handling.
Albert Biermann, Head of Development at BMW M GmbH, said: “The way in which we channel the inflowing air through the engine oil cooler creates a venturi efect, which reduces front axle lift and, in so doing, improves the steering.”
The Aero Curtain and M side gills, the latter with integrated Air Breathers minimise turbulence in the front wheel arches. These elements, together with the aerodynamically optimised side mirrors in familiar M twin-stalk style, are not only distinctive design features, they also help to reduce drag.
The new six-cylinder in-line engine: high-revving, turbocharged unit combines the best of both worlds. The new BMW M3 Saloon and new BMW M4 Coupé mark a return to the classic six-cylinder in-line engine configuration, as used on the second and third-generatios of this iconic sports car.
The new engine sees a slight power upgrade over the previous V8 to 431hp, now delivered between 5,500 and 7,300rpm, with maximum revolutions set at an unusually high figure for a turbocharged engine: 7,600rpm. Peak torque has been increased by roughly 40 per cent to 550Nm, and is maintained over a very wide rev range (1,850–5,500rpm). The standard sprint from 0-62mph takes both cars just 4.3 seconds with manual transmission, or just 4.1 seconds with the optional M DCT, while the top speed is 155mph (electronically limited). The new powerplant also boasts excellent fuel economy: the combined consumption in the EU cycle is as high as 34mpg and CO2 emissions are as low as 194g/km, an improvement of more than 25 per cent over the previous model’s figures. Regulated pollutant emissions are EU6-compliant.
The M Twin Power Turbo technology comprises two fast-responding mono- scroll turbochargers, High-precision direct injection, VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and Double-VANOS continuously variable camshaft timing. VALVETRONIC and Double-VANOS work in tandem to seamlessly control intake valve lift. The result is a smooth and efficient power delivery, with very sharp response and reduced fuel consumption and emissions.
The six-cylinder engine features a closed-deck crankcase design, which is very rigid and allows cylinder pressures to be increased for improved power output. And instead of liners, the cylinder bores feature a twin-wire arc- sprayed coating, which results in a significant reduction in engine weight.
A further technical highlight is the forged, torsionally rigid crankshaft which, as well as providing increased torque-carrying capacity, is also lighter in weight. This significantly reduces rotating masses, resulting in improved throttle response and acceleration.
A sporting engine sound, in keeping with BMW M tradition, is ensured thanks to the lofty rev range of the new engine and an innovative flap arrangement in the twin-pipe exhaust system. The electrically-controlled flaps just before the rear silencer minimise exhaust backpressure and produce a sound that is striking and unmistakable over the entire engine speed range, as well as giving precise feedback on engine load.
The different selectable drive modes, programmable with the MDrive Manager and activated via the iconic steering wheel ‘M’ buttons, offer drivers a choice of preconfigured, perfectly balanced vehicle set-ups which also feature different engine sound profiles.
Track-ready engine oil supply system for outstanding performance On the track, the exceptional driving dynamics of the BMW M3 Saloon and BMW M4 Coupé place extra demands on the engine oil supply system, the design of which reflects the extensive motorsport experience of BMW M. The low-weight magnesium oil sump, for example, features a special cover to limit movement of the oil under the effects of strong lateral acceleration. Under extreme longitudinal acceleration and deceleration, an oil extraction pump and sophisticated oil return system situated close to the turbocharger also help to maintain stable oil circulation. Oil is therefore supplied continuously to all engine components in all driving situations – whether in everyday motoring or during hard driving on the track.
Sophisticated cooling concept for maximum performance The exceptional performance potential of the BMW M3 Saloon and BMW M4 Coupé places exacting demands on temperature management, in not only the engine but also the peripheral assemblies. In order to ensure optimum operating temperatures across all types of usage, BMW M engineers have developed an extremely effective cooling system.
For example, alongside the two sophisticated turbocharger units, the air intake system of the six-cylinder engine also includes an indirect intercooler, maximising charge pressure and engine output. Moreover, as well as a main radiator, the cooling system also comprises a water cooler repositioned to the side for the high and low temperature water circuits, and the engine and transmission oil (if the M Double Clutch Transmission is specified). An additional electric coolant pump cools the turbocharger bearing mounts when the car is stationary.
Six-speed manual gearbox with new throttle blipping function: The standard transmission specified is a six-speed manual gearbox with a robust double-plate clutch. This unit is considerably more compact than its predecessor and also 12kgs lighter. To increase shift comfort, the manual gearbox uses innovative new carbon friction linings in its synchroniser rings. The gearbox blips the throttle on downshifts – previously a feature reserved for the M Double Clutch Transmission – improving the smoothness of the driving experience and helping to enhance stability.
Seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic and Launch Control The optional transmission for the new BMW M3 Saloon and M4 Coupé is the third-generation M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT). As well as changing gear automatically, in manual mode it enables ultra-fast gear changes with no interruption in the flow of power. The integrated Launch Control function ensures optimum sprinting performance off the line, producing acceleration figures that would be simply unattainable with the manual gearbox. In addition, the system allows for a range of extra features, including Stability Clutch Control, which opens the clutch when the car is understeering to bring it back into line, and also the selectable Drivelogic modes that give the BMW M3 and BMW M4 more comfortable, more economy-focused or even sportier characteristics depending on driver choice. The additional seventh gear over the manual gearbox allows longer gear ratios – and delivers the efficiency gains you would expect as a result.
Taking advantage of the extremely light yet impressively durable properties of CFRP (carbon-fibre reinforced plastic), the engineers have been able to construct the driveshaft from this material.
“The impressive stiffness and low weight of the CFRP tubing allow the driveshaft to be constructed as a single-piece unit with no centre bearing. As well as a weight-saving of 40 per cent over its predecessor, we have achieved a reduction in rotating masses and therefore improved drivetrain dynamics.” explains Albert Biermann.
The rear-wheel drive chassis with Active M Differential The Active M Differential makes a considerable contribution to the superb dynamics of the new BMW M3 Saloon and BMW M4 Coupé. With further weight-savings thanks to hollow, and hence lighter, output shafts, the Active M Differential uses an electronically controlled multi-plate limited-slip differential to optimise traction and directional stability. Working precisely and rapidly, the control unit links up with the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system and also takes into account the position of the accelerator pedal, the rotational speed of the wheels and the car’s yaw rate.
Every driving situation is therefore precisely analysed and an impending loss of traction on one side of the car identified at an early stage. The degree of differential lock – which may be anywhere between 0 and 100 per cent – is adjusted as required within a fraction of a second, enabling wheel spin to be prevented on slippery surfaces, in instances where the right and left rear wheel have widely differing friction coefficients or in tight bends and when changing direction with particular vigour.
The M Dynamic Mode – a sub-function of the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system – allows enthusiastic drivers to probe the limits of the new cars while retaining an electronic safety net at all times. The system tolerates greater wheel slip and therefore easy drifting, although DSC will still step in if the car ventures over the limits – unless it is switched off completely.
Aluminium suspension elements ensure sharper dynamics The core expertise of BMW M resides in developing cars that offer superb driving dynamics and real driver satisfaction, yet not at the expense of everyday usability. In order to achieve these aims with the significantly increased performance capability of the new BMW M3 Saloon and new BMW M4 Coupé, the suspension of the outgoing BMW M3 has been redesigned with painstaking attention to detail.
In the front suspension the use of lightweight aluminium construction for components such as control arms, wheel carriers and axle subframes saves 5kgs over a conventional steel design. Play-free ball joints and elastomer bearings developed specially for the cars ensure an optimum and direct transfer of forces both laterally and longitudinally, while an aluminium stiffening plate, CFRP engine strut brace and additional bolted joints between the axle subframe and the body structure all help to increase the rigidity of the front end.
Also lighter is the new five-link rear axle. All the control arms and wheel carriers are manufactured using forged aluminium, which reduces the unsprung masses of the wheel-locating components by around 3kgs compared with the previous model generation. The rigid connection between the rear axle subframe and the body – without the use of elastic rubber elements – is borrowed from motorsport and serves to further improve wheel location and therefore directional stability.
Tyre development was critical from the outset, and both cars feature 19-inch wheels as standard for the UK market, in either Ferric Grey or optionally Jet Black. These specially developed forged wheels make a significant contribution to the reduction in the cars’ unsprung masses. BMW M engineers have taken great care to ensure all the components between the steering wheel and tyres work together harmoniously and therefore provide maximum driving precision and lateral stability, while retaining good ride comfort.
Electric Power Steering with three settings The electromechanical steering system in the new BMW M3 Saloon and new BMW M4 Coupé represents a new development from BMW M. The integrated M Servotronic function electronically adjusts the level of steering assistance according to the car’s speed. The system offers the driver three settings as standard, which can be selected at the touch of a button: COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes allow the level of steering assistance to be adapted to suit any given situation and the driver’s personal tastes.
The Adaptive M suspension, fitted as standard for the UK market, also provides COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes, enabling the driver to choose between a more comfortable damper setting for urban driving, for example, or a stiffer set-up for dynamic driving on country roads. A third option minimises body movements and maximises dynamic performance for use on the track.
The standard new BMW M Compound brakes boast impressive feel, outstanding stopping power and a high resistance to fade. Far lighter than conventional equivalents, they contribute to a substantial reduction in unsprung masses. Even lighter BMW M Carbon ceramic brakes can be specified as an option – gold callipers denote their fitment.
Lightweight engineering: shedding weight in all the right places. Intelligent lightweight design was a top priority in the development of the BMW M3 Saloon and BMW M4 Coupé. The goal was to minimise kerb weight in order to give both models outstanding driving dynamics and exemplary efficiency. These measures have delivered impressive results, with the BMW M4 Coupé (manual transmission) weighing 1,497kgs, around 80kgs lighter than a comparably equipped predecessor model – with all the benefits that reduction brings.
On the outgoing models, the CFRP roof was confined to the Coupé version. Now, for the first time, the four-door BMW M3 Saloon gets this striking design and functional feature as standard. The CFRP roof brings weight-savings of 5kgs in the case of the BMW M3 Saloon and more than 6kgs in the case of the BMW M4 Coupé. It also lowers the vehicle’s centre of gravity, which has a positive impact on driving dynamics.
Aluminium is used for the front wings and the bonnet, as opposed to conventional steel, and makes an important contribution to the low overall weight, while at the same time improving axle load distribution.
On the M4 Coupé, the shape of the new bootlid has been optimised for aerodynamic performance, while the use of a carbon-fibre and plastic compound saves additional weight.
The new BMW M3 Saloon and new BMW M4 Coupé also feature a CFRP driveshaft. The high rigidity and low weight of the CFRP tube mean that the driveshaft can be produced as a single-piece component, without a centre bearing. This achieves weight-savings of 40 per cent over the previous model and a reduction in rotating masses, which in turn results in more dynamic powertrain response.
A further use of CFRP can be found in the engine compartment for the engine strut brace. Weighing only 1.5kgs it offers superior rigidity to a comparable aluminium component, and at the same time plays a key part in the excellent steering response and precision of both vehicles. The use of carbon-fibre in these models is a reminder that BMW is a global leader in high-strength, lightweight CFRP construction, and that it was BMW who brought out the first mass-production vehicle with a body consisting entirely of this material – the innovative BMW i3.
Design: striking use of forms underlines standout performance capability. “The superior performance of the BMW M3 Saloon and BMW M4 Coupé should be obvious at first glance,” explains Karim Habib, Head of Design at BMW Automobiles. “Indeed, the exterior design has a visual impact that elevates the BMW M design language to a new level of expression, highlighted by a purposeful character, emotional appeal and dynamic verve.”
Viewed from the front, the BMW M3 Saloon and BMW M4 Coupé have a powerfully expressive ‘face’, with a modern take on the twin headlight arrangement and a distinctive double-slat kidney grille with M designation. The aggressive front apron, with its trio of large intakes, supplies cooling air to the engine and brakes. Among the other hallmark BMW M design features is the characteristic powerdome on the bonnet, which hints at the potential of the muscular M TwinPower Turbo engine and creates space for the intercooler. The twin-stalk side mirrors are another classic BMW M design feature.
The sides of both cars clearly show the hallmark BMW proportions of a long bonnet, long wheelbase, set back glasshouse and short front overhang, further emphasised by familiar M design elements. The new M side gills perform both a stylistic and a functional role: integrated into them are Air Breathers, which team up with the Aero Curtains in the front apron to help optimise the airflow around the wheel arches and therefore improve aerodynamics.
The dark colour of the CFRP roof (with its contoured roofline) gives both models a lower-slung and more compact appearance, as the eye perceives the roof pillars – painted in body colour – to be the uppermost point of the car. A flowing roofline then gains in momentum once again as it heads rearwards, increasing aerodynamic downforce and giving the rear a more muscular look at the same time.
At the rear, there are greater differences in the two models. The BMW M3 Saloon is fitted with a lip spoiler to reduce lift, while the tailgate of the BMW M4 Coupé features an integrated rear spoiler and is made from a carbon-fibre compound.
Both models feature prominently flared rear wheel arches, which, in combination with the wide track, give the cars a very purposeful stance. The high-gloss pair of twin exhaust tailpipes are framed by the sculptural rear apron with its integrated diffuser.
Interior design: flawless ergonomics in a sporting ambience. Inside, drivers will be greeted by the interior architecture prioritising unimpeachable ergonomics and a clear driver focus. However, the emphasis has naturally been put on an even more sporting ambience. There are a host of traditional BMW M equipment details, including M door sill finishers, M gearshift lever, M design circular instruments with white graphics, M leather steering wheel (with M logo, chrome trim and iconic triple-colour contrast stitching) and metallic shift paddles (if the M DCT gearbox is specified). The BMW Individual headlining is finished in Anthracite.
The bespoke front seats take inspiration from the bucket seats fitted in racing cars, and feature a full-size single-piece back panel. This means the construction of the seats is very flat, while the high, width-adjustable side bolsters and low-set seat surface allow an ideal seating position and provide excellent support. Despite this, these BMW M seats also include electric adjustment and heating as standard. On the seat surface, the stitching, upholstery segmentation and perforation lend the seats a slim-fitting feel, whilst the BMW M logo on the seat is illuminated for the first time.
Like the front seats, the distinctively contoured backrests of the rear seats also offer exceptional lateral support: they are made from a lightweight composite material and can be folded in a 60:40 split. This gives the BMW M3 and BMW M4 a level of everyday usability that is well beyond the norm for high-performance sports cars.
Equipment: extensive standard equipment joined by a host of options that enhance dynamics and comfort. The new BMW M3 Saloon and new BMW M4 Coupé possess an extensive list of standard equipment, which reflects their performance-oriented character but also their excellent everyday usability. The UK specification has been enhanced substantially from the predecessor model with a number of additions; these include technical features such as Adaptive M suspension, 19-inch M light alloy wheels and front and rear PDC; comfort items such as the heated and electric BMW M seats and exterior-folding mirrors; aesthetic features such as High-gloss Shadowline exterior trim and finally the full BMW Professional Media package with upgraded Bluetooth system.
In addition, customers can choose from a broad range of optional equipment to give the cars either an additional sporting edge, or boost comfort levels further still. For those buyers wishing to personalise their cars yet further, the wide-reaching spectrum of BMW Individual – including BMW Individual paint finishes, BMW Individual Merino leather and BMW Individual interior trim elements – will be available later in 2014.
Further options for comprehensive driver information For track drivers BMW M has developed a free BMW M Laptimer app, which allows owners to analyse their personal driving style. Once their smartphone is hooked up to the car – via USB cable or the car’s snap-in adapter – customers can operate the BMW M Laptimer app easily using the iDrive Touch Controller. The app then records speed, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, engine revs, the gear engaged, steering angle, accelerator position and fuel consumption. The data can subsequently be analysed via graphic displays on the customer’s smartphone, including the driver’s reactions. Another feature allows two recordings on the same circuit to be compared corner-by-corner: the readings can be either the driver’s own or data shared via email.
Naturally, the BMW M3 Saloon and BMW M4 Coupé are also available with the wide variety of driver assistance systems and mobility services introduced under the BMW ConnectedDrive banner, some of which will already be familiar from the BMW 3 Series and BMW 4 Series. Among the highlights are the latest-generation of the Professional Navigation system, offering extra capability, sharper graphics and 3D elements for the map display; Driving Assistant Plus, which warns the driver of a looming collision with a pedestrian; Adaptive full LED headlights with an intelligent anti-dazzle High-beam Assistant and a further developed version of Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function.
The optional M Head-up Display comes with additional, M-specific functions such as a gear display, rev counter and Optimum Shift Indicator.
Production: return to the birthplace of the BMW M3. It was at the Preußenstraße headquarters of BMW Motorsport GmbH in Munich, 28 years ago, that the company’s then managing director Paul Rosche developed the idea for the BMW M3. Production began just a few months later at the original BMW plant next door. And now, almost 23 years later, production is returning to BMW Plant Munich with the build of the new BMW M4 Coupé. The BMW M3 Saloon will continue to be built at BMW Plant Regensburg where 222,293 units of the second, third and fourth-generations of the BMW M3 combined have been produced since 1992.
The first-generation. In spring 1985, the BMW Motorsport department began development of a new machine to compete in touring car racing. The road-going version required for homologation – 5,000 examples of which had to be built to satisfy the sporting regulations – was conceived from the outset as a race-ready Group A machine. The model made its debut in the summer of 1986. Its naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine developed 195hp (or 200hp without catalytic converter) from a 2.3-litre engine; accelerated from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds (6.7 seconds) and had a top speed of 143mph (146mph).
The first-generation BMW M3 exceeded all sales expectations: including the Convertible variant, the various evolution stages of the car and the special-edition models, BMW sold a total of 17,970 M3s worldwide by the time production ceased in 1991.
The second-generation. The successor to the original M3 was not designed as the basis for a racing car. However, it was developed from the outset in three body variants: the two-door Coupé, which made its debut in 1992, was followed onto the market in 1994 by a Convertible and – for the first time – a four-door Saloon. A six-cylinder 3.0-litre engine developing 286hp powered all three models to 62mph from a standstill in less than six seconds; top speed was electronically limited to 155mph. A low-run M3 GT variant was added to the range in 1994, with 295hp, and then in 1995 the displacement was increased to 3.2-litres, with engine output rising to 321hp.
In 1997 the BMW M3 became the world’s first volume-produced car to be available with a Sequential M Gearbox (SMG). This transmission was based on the conventional gearbox for the M3, but with a clutch that was activated electro-hydraulically. 71,242 units of the Coupé, Convertible and Saloon combined were produced at Plant Regensburg.
The third-generation. The third-generation of the BMW M3 arrived in 2000, available in Coupé or Convertible form only. Its six-cylinder in-line engine still displaced 3.2-litres, but now developed 343hp, and that meant the M3 could accelerate from 0 to 62mph in just 5.2 seconds – or 5.5 seconds for the Convertible model. New also was a variable differential lock at the rear axle, allowing anywhere between 0 and 100 per cent lock. Added to which, the second-generation of the Sequential M Gearbox (SMG II) now also allowed the driver to change gear using paddles on the steering wheel.
The pinnacle of this generation was the BMW M3 CSL, introduced in 2003. The suffix stood for “Coupé Sport Lightweight”, justified by elements such as a carbon-fibre roof, centre console and door panels, a lighter rear window and the omission of numerous comfort-oriented features. With a kerb weight of just 1,385kgs, it weighed 110kgs below the standard M3. All 1,383 units of the 360hp vehicle were sold within just a few months.
The fourth-generation. In 2007 the fourth-generation BMW M3 was launched with an all-new V8 engine – the first time an M3 had appeared without the now classic six-cylinder powerplant. Built in Coupé, Saloon and Convertible form (the latter joined the range in 2008) the new 3,999cc engine developed 420hp and some 85 per cent of its maximum 400Nm of torque was available across a huge 6,500rpm rev range. Weight-saving gained increasing importance, and BMW M engineers responded with the Coupé in particular. As with the previous CSL model, the roof was now made from CFRP; the bonnet with its characteristic powerdome was made from aluminium, as were large sections of the newly developed lightweight chassis.
Highlights during the production run included the BMW M3 GTS, which contained a larger 4.4-litre V8 to produce a peak output of 450hp. The GTS featured specially developed chassis components and aerodynamic measures, plus a two-seat cockpit conceived for track use. Only available with Fire Orange paintwork, the GTS was aimed specifically at circuit driving as well as road use. Just 135 examples of this model were delivered to customers, with just 15 coming to the UK.
The launch of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe sees BMW M GmbH revealing a new interpretation of the high-performance sports car – and carrying the BMW M philosophy over into the fifth generation of the M3. More than 40,000 examples of the fourth-generation BMW M3 Coupe were built, and now the BMW M4 Coupe is poised to continue this success story. The “M4” badge is a reference to the model series that provides the basis for the new M model – and, for the first time, the Coupe will be introduced at the same time as the four-door variant. Logic dictates the latter will be christened the BMW M3 Sedan.
“Four generations of the BMW M3 have blended motor sport genes and uncompromised everyday usability within an emotionally rich overall concept,” explains Dr Friedrich Nitschke, President BMW M GmbH. “The BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe represent an ongoing commitment to this philosophy. The engine is the heart of every M model, and the new turbocharged six-cylinder unit fitted in the two new cars combines the virtues of a high-revving naturally aspirated unit with the strengths of turbocharger technology. A committed lightweight design concept produces a weight saving of around 80 kilograms over the outgoing M3. The BMW M3 and BMW M4 take motor sport technology from the track to the road, and thousands of laps of the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife – the world’s most exacting race track – have readied the new models for that transition. Meticulous and passion-fuelled development work has underpinned the creation of two high-performance sports cars that set new standards in terms of overall concept, precision and agility.”
The high-revving six-cylinder in-line engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology newly developed for the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe produces a maximum output of 431 hp. Its peak torque of 550 Newton metres (406 lb-ft) is available across a wide rev band and outstrips the figure recorded by the outgoing BMW M3 by roughly 40 per cent. And yet the engine also achieves a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions of around 25 per cent. Both the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe cover the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h / 62 mph in 4.1 seconds (with the optional seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission).
In the interests of maximising dynamic ability and ensuring excellent efficiency, weight savings of around 80 kilograms have been achieved over a comparably equipped predecessor model. The BMW M4 Coupe, for example, has a DIN kerb weight of 1,497 kilograms, thanks to the rigorous application of intelligent lightweight design measures. These include the increased use of lightweight materials such as carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and aluminium for a number of chassis and body components. Indeed, both models feature a carbon roof.
One of the primary objectives in the development of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe was to ensure the new cars offered impressive race track capability. Hence the presence of a track-specification cooling system, which ensures that the optimum temperature balance for the engine, turbochargers and transmission is maintained at all times.
In order to accentuate the racing character of the two models in terms of both their technical composition and the fine-tuning of the cars, the engineers worked closely with BMW Motorsport’s professional racing drivers during the development phase. For example, DTM drivers Bruno Spengler and Timo Glock took part in the extensive testing and set-up work carried out at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit.