Despite our numerous reports on the design of the 2021 BMW M3/M4 – based on several sources – there was still plenty of skepticism around the validity of our reporting. Even after a factory leak gave us an early look at the front-end of the G80 M3, many BMW fans have refuted the possibility of a very large kidney grille on the beloved M3.

So naturally, during our conversation with the BMW M CEO Markus Flasch, we had to ask the question: Was that leak accurate and what should we expect from the 2021 BMW M3 and 2021 BMW M4?

Rendering by @Avarvarii

“M3/M4 are the legend. As you mentioned also, the cars will differentiate very much from the base models. We have gone to a greater extent that we have done in the past. The cars look phenomenal,” said Herr Flasch.

The new M boss has refrained from sharing other design details, but what we can share is that indeed both cars will get a very large kidney grille, extended both horizontally and vertically more than ever before.

But there is still a twist – the kidney grille design will be slightly different in between the two models – G80 M3 and G82 M4. We believe that the slats on the kidneys might have their own design interpretation so they will differentiate the new M3 from the BMW M4.

2019 BMW M4 CS models are still available to purchase

The idea behind this new trend at BMW M was also recently explained to us by Domagoj Dukec, the man in charge of the BMW design. During an interview in Munich back in September, I asked Dukec whether a large kidney grille on the new M3 would make sense and whether the customers would appreciate the big gap in between the M car and the regular production series.

“The M version is always about exaggeration. It’s the best version of each product. Actually, the designers are always designing to the end, meaning to the top product. Then the sketches get toned down for the standard production series cars”, Dukec tells me.

“This is something we started three years ago and it will be very special, but you have to wait a bit longer.”

If there was any doubt that big changes are coming to BMW design, then this new statement should clear it all up. Whether that’s the right choice, it remains to be seen, but clearly, BMW is looking towards the future, not only on the technology side, but also with their iconic design. Maybe decades from now, the 2020s will be seen as the “Golden Times” of BMW design.