For BMW fans, the upcoming BMW M3 and M4 are some of the most hotly anticipated cars of their lifetimes. That might sound extreme but it’s true. The new G80 M3 and G82 M4 are the first of their kinds in many ways. For starters, they mark the first time that the M3 or M4 will be offered with two different drivetrain options.

One such drivetrain option will be an xDrive all-wheel drive system, another first. They’ll also be some of the most polarizing cars in modern BMW history, due to their new grille design.

BMW recently gave select journalists some seat time behind the wheel of pre-production prototype models of each. During this pre-pro test at the famous Miramas circuit in France, BMW has also released the final and official performance specs.

“With each BMW M automobile, we put motorsport technology on the road,” says Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M. “The new BMW M3 Sedan and the new BMW M4 Coupe 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.”

BMW M3 Prototype

There will be two variants of both the BMW M3 and M4; a standard model and a Competition model, both of which will be the same from M3 to M4. While both cars will sport the brand’s S58 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged I6 engine, power levels and options will vary.

As for the standard cars, they will sport 353 kW/480 hp with a six-speed manual transmission as-standard and rear-wheel drive. The maximum torque is rated at 600 Nm (442 lb-ft).

If you jump up to the Competition-spec models, you get 375 kW/510 hp and an eight-speed automatic. However, where the Competition model gets interesting is that it will also be rear-wheel drive as-standard and all-wheel drive will be available sometime after market launch.

Originally, we were under the impression that the Competition model would only be all-wheel drive, so to see it getting rear-drive is extremely exciting. Though, as far as we know, the Competition model won’t be available with a manual.

BMW M4 Prototype

“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 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.”

This is actually very exciting news. While we sort of always knew that the BMW M3 and M4 would get a manual as-standard and be rear-wheel drive, we didn’t know that the Competition models would also be rear-driven. Just that news alone is encouraging.

As far as how these cars look, we don’t really see much from these pre-pro photos that we haven’t already seen before. The new wheels look cool and the manual gear lever is nice to see.

Though, it is a bit disappointing to see the interior, as it barely looks any different than a standard 3 Series. Still, we can’t wait to drive both of these machines.