The BMW M GmbH is currently preparing the generation change for the iconic sports cars. With driving dynamics tests performed under racetrack conditions, the series development process for the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupé is entering its crucial phase. With a significant increase in performance vs. the predecessor models and an M-specific suspension setup, newly developed straight six-cylinder engines once again set benchmarks in the segment of high-performance sedans and coupés of the premium midrange class. Comprehensive innovations in the areas of drive, wheel suspension, springs, dampers and braking technology require thorough testing on public roads at the BMW Group testing centres in Miramas, Southern France, in the Swedish town of Arjeplog as well as on a number of different racetracks.
Traditionally, the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring sets the yardstick for the perfect interaction between drive and suspension technology in every situation. However, because the performance characteristics of a BMW M automobile have to convince not only there but also on the most varied racetrack profiles, the test engineers always expand the test programme to include further circuits such as the current test drives with camouflaged prototypes of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupé at the Sachsenring.
A few months before their world premiere mid-September 2020, the dynamic potential of the new BMW M3 Sedan and the new BMW M4 Coupé is already clearly perceptible. Inspiring agility, outstanding dynamics and precisely controllable handling even in extreme sporting situations characterise their driving behaviour. The balance between superior performance and unrestricted everyday suitability so typical of an M attains a new level. “With each BMW M automobile, we put motorsport technology on the road,” says Markus Flasch, chairman of the board of the BMW M GmbH. “The new BMW M3 Sedan and the new BMW M4 Coupé embody this principle in a particularly intensive way, because both models stand unmistakably in the tradition of the most successful touring car worldwide. And results of the test drives show us that the new model generation is significantly superior to that of its predecessors in terms of performance.”
Like all current high-performance-automobiles from the BMW M GmbH, the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupé are offered in two performance levels: Besides a 353 kW/480 hp variant with a 6-speed manual shift, there is also the choice of a Competition model with 375 kW/510 hp and an 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. “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,” explains Dirk Häcker, head of Development M Automobiles and BMW Individual. “On the other hand, with the Competition versions of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupé, 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.”
Compared with the predecessor models, the straight six-cylinder engines featured by the new high-performance sports cars deliver a maximum output increase of 36 kW/49 hp and 44 kW/60 hp (Competition models) and a maximum torque of up to 650 Nm. Moreover, thanks to M TwinPower Turbo technology and high-revving concept, the power plant impresses with performance characteristics derived from motor racing. The power unit excels through extraordinarily spontaneous response in every speed range and is also deployed in the BMW M4 GT3, which will become the new top-of-the-rage model from the BMW M GmbH in the customer sport segment as from the 2022 season.
With a meticulously operated testing programme, development and testing engineers at the BMW M GmbH are currently making sure that the M-specific suspension components are tuned to the engine’s performance characteristics to such an extent that they guarantee the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupé places in the first row of the starting grid in their vehicle segment. The around 3,670-metre stretch at the tradition-steeped Sachsenring, which is known as the long-standing venue of the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) racing series, also offers the ideal prerequisites for this purpose. With its challenging profile comprising hairpin bends, long straights and the downhill passage before the Queckenberg bend, it is possible lap after lap to achieve targeted optimisation of the longitudinal and lateral driving dynamics of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupé.