A lot has been said about the new generation BMW M3 and M4 models. The main focus of critics has been, without a doubt, on the exterior design, which has caused a lot of people to miss the bigger picture entirely. This is the first time the M3 and M4 models are offered both in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive guises and that’s quite a huge departure from the cars of the past.
BMW decided to try and please everyone, both purists and customers alike, and to this end they came up with two different cars altogether. The ‘base’ M3 and M4 models come with rear-wheel drive and manual transmissions, just as die-hard fans would prefer them to be. That does come with a drop in power though, the S58 engine under the hood of these models being rated for only 480 PS (473 horsepower) compared to the 510 PS (503 horsepower) of the Competition versions. Nevertheless, a simple tune should fix that right away.
BMW also released the full specs of these cars and we were rather curious to see just how different they are on paper. One of the main reasons why a lot of fans criticized the move to all-wheel drive in the Competition models and the fact that they are offered only with an automatic gearbox, was weight. Automatics are heavier than manuals most of the time and adding the complexity of an AWD system to the mix also piles on weight. So, how much of a weight difference is there between the two? Not as much as you’d think.
In the case of the M3 and M3 Competition, there’s just 25 kilos separating them. That’s barely noticeable in a modern-day car, to be fair, and it’s quite amazing by how little impact all those added layers of complexity had. The same story applies to the M4 and M4 Competition as well, with the manual, RWD model tipping the scale at 1,700 kilos and the AWD automatic doing it at 1,725 kilos. Another interesting tidbit we should point out is that the M3 is just 5 kilos heavier than its Coupe brother.
The spec sheet also tells us that these cars are evenly matched in terms of performance as well. The M3 will do 0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds (if you get your shifts right) while the M4 has the same acceleration time. For the Competition models you can shave 0.3 seconds off that time and chances are you’ll be more likely to actually hit that claimed figure, since the car will be doing the cog swapping for you.
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