This is it, folks: The 2021 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe have arrived. The automaker finally pulled the camouflage off both cars Tuesday, showing their technical specs — and their new styling direction — to the world. So what has changed with this sixth-generation M3 and second-generation M4? Fortunately, BMW laid bare pretty much everything, including performance, technology and price.
Both the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 will be available in March 2021, with more variations arriving next summer.
2021 BMW M3 and M4: Styling
Naturally, we’ll start the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 discussion where you can see the most obvious changes, and that’s the look. The new 4 Series prefaced the front end aesthetic of the M4, but that specific front clip translates to the M3 sedan as well. It’s certainly striking compared to the old cars and even the regular 3 Series. In the words of some in the TFL office, it looks “like an angry beaver”. Styling is always subjective, so I’ll leave the decision up to you on how you think it looks.
Of the styling, BMW says it landed on a larger frameless grille design to improve cooling for the 3.0-liter straight-six engine. Large intakes flank the oversized kidneys to provide even more cooling air to the engine and the brakes. In the words of BMW Group’s own Senior Vice President Adrian van Hooydonk, “The design is resoundingly function-driven, pure and reduced without compromise. At the same time, it provides an emotionally engaging window into the vehicle character.”
The 2021 BMW M3 and M4 — both of which are pictured in Competition guise here — debut in exclusive paint colors. The M3 shown above is in Isle of Man Green Metallic, while the M4 is in Sao Paulo Yellow. In total, both cars are available in twelve exterior colors.
The new cars are larger than the previous generation
Both the M3 and M4 are physically larger than the cars they replace. The G80 and G82 generations, as they’re internally called, have a 1.8-inch longer wheelbase, at 112.5 inches. Both cars are also 4.6 inches longer (189.1 inches). The M3 is 0.4 inches wider and a tenth of an inch taller, while the M4 is 0.7 inches wider and 0.4 inches taller than the previous generation.
Down the side, the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 get extended side skirts, while both cars get a rear spoiler and beefier quad exhaust pipes than the outgoing cars. New “Shadowline” trim — which comes standard on the Competition models — adds dark finish to the mirrors, spoiler and tailpipes. A carbon fiber exterior package is an option as well, though pricing information is not available for those options just yet.
In their new generation, the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 utilize the S58 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged straight-six. Standard power output for non-Competition models is 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, a slight improvement in power over the last models. On the plus side for enthusiasts, however, it still comes with a 6-speed manual transmission as an option. That said, you can get it with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Step into the 2021 BMW M3 Competition or M4 Competition, and those figures increase substantially. The 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque puts the 0-60 time under 4 seconds, with a manufacturer-estimated time of 3.8 seconds. Unlike the standard models, though, these versions are solely available with the 8-speed automatic.
While the models launching in March 2021 are rear-wheel drive, the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 lineup will also have all-wheel drive models available in the summer. Like the M5, the rear-biased all-wheel drive system sends power to the rear most of the time, and allows the driver to switch solely to the 2WD mode with the DSC system turned off. In normal driving, the car will run in 4WD mode, with 4WD Sport as a more high-strung option for spirited driving.
Apart from stepping up the game on power, technology has long been the backbone of both the BMW M3 and M4. For 2021, both cars see the same level of improvements as their standard counterparts. That translates to things like a new steering wheel, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch infotainment screen that are standard fare in these performance models. Unique features to these cars include a setup button in the center console to quickly reach powertrain and chassis settings.
“M mode” buttons also feature here as they have on the M5 sedan, allowing drivers two different setups that are quickly accessible to set the BMW M3 or M4 up the way you want it. The M Drive Professional includes more flexibility with drive modes, as well as a lap timer in the head-up display and connectivity to the M Laptimer app on iPhone. Both the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 feature the latest iDrive 7 infotainment system, as well as standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
The 2021 BMW M3 is the least expensive model, coming in at $70,895 with BMW’s $995 destination charge. The more hardcore M3 Competition, on the other plan, comes in at $73,795.
As for the M4, the non-Competition model starts at $72,795. The M4 Competition is $2,900 more, starting at $75,695.
Pricing for all-wheel drive models are not available quite yet. However, more information should be available by the summer 2021 launch. For now, check out everything you need to know in the video below: