Story by Hua Zeng who had recently had the chance to drive the all-new 2021 BMW M3 and M4 at a track event in Australia. The official press drives are scheduled to go live on March 10, 2021. As a hardcore BMW enthusiast, I have owned several BMW M cars over the years. What keeps my loyalty to the BMW brand is the driving dynamic and the complete feel of control from your own hands.
From the very first E30 M3 to E90 series, BMW has always designed unique bespoke engines exclusively for M cars. And they were always proud of the high revving, naturally aspirated character. These unique kind of traits are exactly we nostalgic BMW owners love. However, it also leads to some critical flaws as these “race-bred engines” need extra care and maintenance. Furthermore, majority of the consumers do not have a broad knowledge on how to properly maintain the car. For them, it’s just a tool or something to show off.
From the F80 series, BMW stopped producing engines from ground up for M cars, and rather vastly improved reliability, quality and the use of lightweight construction materials. It appeals to more customers and. in my opinion, is a successful strategy. That’s why on the all new G80/G82 series, BMW continue to make exaggerated controversial design to attract younger generation customers.
To be honest, my very first impression was completely negative when BMW launched the new M3 and M4. Apart from exterior, there’s not a single mention on the use of innovative lightweight concepts in this generation. Yes, we still have carbon fibre roof, different kinds of aluminum materials, but a potential 80 to 200 kilograms weight increase.
A Better Track Tool
However, on the track the all new 2021 BMW M3 and M4 feels better in almost every aspect over the last generation. Surprisingly, it hides the weight and size pretty well, and has tremendous grip and stability through the corners. What I noticed is the fact that you won’t need to constantly correct the steering for oversteer. Granted, we have only tested the rear wheel drive models. The WLTP regulation kills the exhaust sound for fanboys, but it definitely sounds deeper and less raspy.
The 8-speed ZF gearbox carries the good fame from other new generation M vehicles, shorter and closer ratio gives you consistent and endless accelerations, but looses the direct “kick in the butt” feel of the DCT and manual. The braking system still gives you a confident feel like in the F80 series, and now you can even play around settings for brake as well.
For the very first time in a long period, BMW finally gives you the reading on both Engine Oil and Water Temperatures. But it would be great if they can add oil pressure in the future. The electric powered steering is precise and sharp, an improvement over the artificially heavy F80 series. Of course, it’s still not comparable with the hydraulic steering.
Seating position is perfect and blends you with the car, and not ride on it like the previous E46 generation. One thing that bothers me is the instrument cluster which has too much information displayed and not as simple and clear in previous models. It does take time to get used to the many new features.
During this tough period of pandemic and polarized political world, a perfect daily car is the only place that gives you some rest. At the end of the day, it is still the M3 that can go grocery shopping with baby car seats after a fun track day.
All in all, the G8x M3 and M4 Series is a whole update with small improvements over F8x in almost all areas, a perfect daily car it you don’t mind the grille and weight. For enthusiasts, wait for the CS and CSL.