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The Latest BMW M Cars

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  BMW

The Latest BMW M Cars

Geoff Maxted
December 12, 2013

BMW M Cars BMW M Cars
The launch of the new BMW M3 Saloon and new BMW M4 Coupé heralds the arrival of the fifth-generation of the iconic high-performance sports car from BMW M. For the first time the Coupé and Saloon models receive individual model names, in deference to the different model series that provide their basis.

The new cars mark a return to the classic six-cylinder in-line engine configuration, as used on the second and third-generations of this iconic sports car. Another first is the adoption of a turbocharged engine for this BMW M model: the high-revving, 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology has been specifically developed for this purpose, and produces a maximum output of 431hp. Its peak torque of 550Nm is available across a very wide rev range starting at just 1,850rpm, and exceeds the figure recorded by the outgoing BMW M3 by roughly 40 per cent. In spite of this, the new engine also achieves a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions of around 25 per cent. 0-62mph for both cars is 4.3 seconds (4.1 with the M DCT ‘box). Top speed, a limited 155. Emissions fall under the 200g/km mark and the official fuel consumption is now listed as 34mpg, but you and I both know that’s not going to happen. Not in an M car.

The standard transmission specified is a six-speed manual gearbox with a robust double-plate clutch. This unit is considerably more compact than its predecessor and also 12kgs lighter. To increase shift comfort, the manual gearbox uses innovative new carbon friction linings in its synchroniser rings. The gearbox blips the throttle on downshifts - previously a feature reserved for the M Double Clutch Transmission - improving the smoothness of the driving experience and helping to enhance stability. It also sounds good.

To maximise dynamic ability and ensure excellent efficiency, a weight loss of over 80kgs has been achieved compared to a comparably equipped predecessor model. Specific weight-saving measures include the increased use of lightweight materials: both models now feature a carbon-fibre reinforced plastic roof.

BMW M engineers have paid particular attention to the car’s aerodynamic performance, and incorporated the latest Active M Differential amongst numerous other technical highlights. During the development process the engineers worked closely with BMW Motorsport’s professional racing drivers, with extensive testing and set-up work carried out on the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit.

With the new BMW M3 Saloon and M4 Coupé, the engineers sought to optimally channel the air around the car in the quest for ultimate performance, while also ensuring the engine, powertrain and brakes receive the requisite cooling. Even when operating under heavy loads on the racing circuit. The aggressively styled front apron, smooth under-body and the clearly defined lip spoiler at the rear of the M3 Saloon (or integrated boot lid spoiler at the rear of the BMW M4 Coupé) reduce lift by an equal amount at the front and rear axle, to the benefit of handling.

With aluminium suspension components and a steering system with three settings, amongst many other technical advances, BMW have really bought the M cars into the 21st Century. It’s OK to mourn the loss of the V8 though. We feel your pain at the passing of an era.

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