automotive.com®...where your car search begins

2015 BMW M3 and M4 Debut

BMW's attempt to restore the pecking order


2015 BMW M3 Research Click to hide

What's New

The last time the world saw a new BMW M3, George W. Bush was still in office and 400 horsepower seemed like a whole heckuva lot. Between then and now, something happened, however: BMW redesigned just about every vehicle in its lineup, with criticism oozing about all of them. Its cars had gotten bigger, heavier, softer, and more like yesteryear's Mercedes-Benzes than Ultimate Driving Machines. Mercedes also seriously laid down the gauntlet by way of the 451- to 481-horsepower C63 AMG that made the then 414-horsepower BMW M3 look weak.

Now, with a new 3 Series and 4 Series on sale, BMW has the opportunity to right some of wrongs with an all-new set of hyper compact luxury sports cars. And, for the first time ever, they're lighter than their immediate predecessors. Will they work?

Who It's For

The BMW M3 is now two separate models: M3 is the sedan and M4 is the coupe. But they're fundamentally the same vehicle. Powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, they reverse the trend BMW has had to go for a bigger, heavier engine with each successive generation. In fact, BMW claims to have taken 176 pounds of weight out of the newer, larger cars, bringing them down to a svelte 3,300 pounds, or about the same as the 1999 to 2004 model.

This car is more focused on all-out performance than any other BMW M car, but make no mistake: This is not the M3 of yore. It still has all of the luxury and technological amenities you'd expect of a modern BMW. If you're spending upwards of $60,000 on one, it'll do just as well on a track as it will as your daily driver, albeit it's more likely to spend more time doing the former than with any other BMW out there.

Key Features

In addition to the lighter weight, the BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe will have:
  • A standard six-speed manual transmission or available seven-speed M-DCT box.
  • BMW's M locking rear differential, which uses sensors to lock or unlock it for optimum round-track traction.
  • A three-mode adjustable electronic power steering system, BMW M's first.
  • Carbon fiber roof panels available for the roof on both the sedan and coupe and integrated aerodynamic aids.
  • Available carbon ceramic brakes for high-performance driving.
  • Oh yeah, that engine, which will have 3.0 liters of displacement, two turbochargers, 425 horsepower, and 406 pound-feet of torque, revving to 7,600 rpm. Wowzers.

What We Think

The 2015 BMW M3 and M4 aren't going to win the horsepower war with any other automakers. But BMW has always focused on the M3 like Porsche has focused on its 911. No matter how far it may stray from the original vehicle, adding technology and luxury all the way, it will continue to make its compact luxury sports car into one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles out there, bar none.

We don't think BMW will screw this up. In fact, we're inclined to say that BMW has officially called a truce to the horsepower wars that have fluctuated closer to 500 these days and will instead look towards bringing driving dynamics back to the forefront of its focus—not like those were ever in question.

Now, if only BMW would do that with its 4,400-pound M5. And if only its competitors don't catch up—or surpass—BMW in this next generation of cars. We're eager to see what happens.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: Detroit 2014