Although not yet ready to show and tell everything about its upcoming 2015 BMW M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe models, the automaker has decided to offer a remarkably revealing look at much of the technology these stunning new M Squad members-to-be will introduce when they go on sale here next summer. Lighter, slicker, quicker and more fuel efficient than their last-gen M3 family counterparts, this ultra-dynamic duo promises to raise the "Ultimate Driving Machine" banner to new heights.
As BMW had previously confirmed, the heart of the new M3/M4 is an all-new M-designed twin-turbocharged inline-6 with near-instantaneous, lag-free throttle response. The first T-charged engine to be used in any M3, this all-alloy 3.0-liter replacement for the current 4.0-liter V8 ups the pony count by 10, to a stout 430 horsepower. It also produces over 30 percent more peak torque -- a figure BMW will only describe at this point as being "substantially more than 369 lb-ft" - which it develops in full measure over a wide rev range. Beyond two single-scroll turbo units matched with an air-to-water intercooler, the engine features direct injection, full variable valve timing and lift, reduced internal friction and a dual-mode low-restriction exhaust setup as well as track-ready cooling and lubrication systems to ensure it can handle even the toughest demands any hard-core owners may throw at it.
While performance is its forte, BMW says the engine is 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the current V8 and also produces 25 percent lower emissions. Standard transmission in both cars is a new 6-speed manual that's both smaller and lighter than the existing gearbox and features automatic rev matching on downshifts. A lightning-quick 7-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with integrated Launch Control and driver-selectable multi-mode programming will be optional.
Even through the camouflage, it's clear the new M3 and M4 have bolder and more focused exterior treatments than their lesser siblings. Up front, each has a deeper front apron that works with the automaker's Air Curtain fascia intakes and Air Breather outlets on the front fenders. The rear treatments show similar aggressive touches in the designs of their spoiler and lower diffuser while both reap additional aero benefits from full underbody fairings.
BMW spared no efforts at making these newest M cars as light as possible, and claims each will weigh only about 3,300 pounds in Euro trim. In addition to a CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) roof panel (as well as a composite decklid on the M4), both feature CFRP driveshafts and underhood strut braces, along with aluminum hoods and fenders.
In keeping with that fundamental mass-reduction mission, the all-new underpinning of the 2015 M3 and M4 consist largely of bespoke forged aluminum elements. Other notable chassis features include a new electromechanical power steering system with driver-selectable Comfort/Sport/Sport+ assist levels, an Active M Differential that uses an electronic actuator to constantly vary the locking function as traction conditions dictate and an available Adaptive M suspension, also with Comfort/Sport/Sport+ operating modes. Ultimate stopping-power fans also can upgrade the extremely capable standard M-spec brakes on the M3 and M4 with optional M Carbon Ceramic units.
Both the 2015 BMW M3 Sedan and the M4 Coupe are expected to make their formal world debuts at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
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