2021 BMW M3 and M4 officially unveiled [updated with pricing]

510hp, optional AWD, and plenty of tech for BMW’s high-performance mainstay, due in Singapore mid-2021


Update 03/11/20: The new BMW M3 Competition and M4 Competition are said to be priced around the S$400k mark without COE, with the most expensive version being an M4 Competition with M Carbon Exterior Package.

That puts them on a similar price level to the outgoing models, which were last seen on price lists in mid-2019 at S$420k with COE for the M$. The new cars are rumored to be arriving in the first quarter of 2021.

Here are the controversial new faces of the 2021 model year BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe, set to be released to the world in stages from March 2021. 

BMW M3 on the left, and confusingly, M4 on the right.

Both models are set to be powered by 3.0-litre, twin-turbo in-line six-cylinder engines producing up to 510 horsepower and up to 650 Nm. We say “up to” because that’s the power output reserved for the M3 Competition Sedan and M4 Competition Coupe. The regular versions of the cars make do with a lower state of tune, to the song of 480 horsepower.

BMW M also revealed its first motorcycle today – and it has wings

BMW makes no big waves about the engine, so it should be the latest M powerplant as found in the X3 M Competition, which also has 510hp.

BMW M4 Sao Paolo Yellow – a classic callback colour to Phoenix Yellow of the E46

That’s already 30hp more than the last update the M3/M4 had, the Competition Pack editions in 2016. If we know anything about Singapore, it’s that BMW will skip the ‘standard’ M3 and M4 and sell only the Competition versions, which is what it did with the current M3 and M4.

But first let’s address that new front end. As you might be aware, the M3 and M4 are very similar cars, with the model number simply designating the difference between the sedan and coupe versions.

BMW M3 – also in a classic callback colour, but it’s called Isle of Man Green now

There are small styling differences between the M3 and M4 besides the number of doors, and BMW states that both receive the “M-specific version of large, vertical BMW kidney grille, powerfully sculpted wheel arches with eye‑catching M gills, prominent side sill extensions with attachments to the front and rear aprons, carbon-fibre roof with aerodynamically optimised fins, plus rear spoiler and familiar M tailpipe pairs.”

The BMW 328 Roadster, produced from 1936 to 1940

It’s not the first time in history that a BMW’s front air intake has been extended to run from the top to bottom of the nose, and the design harks back to the BMW 328 Roadster from 1936. That big nose certainly won’t stop the new M3 and M4 from selling, that’s for sure.

Both the M3 and M4 share identical performance figures: 0 to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds in standard form, and 3.9 seconds in Competition trim. Top speed for both is 250km/h, and 290km/h with the optional M Driver’s Package.

Interestingly, all-wheel drive is not standard, but is an option. That explains the change from a dual-clutch gearbox of the previous car to the new eight-speed automatic transmission. The adaptive system, like that on the current BMW M5, can be switched to rear-wheel drive mode (via an M Button) and you can specify how drifty you want things to be via selectable traction control (more on that later).

The cars were tuned alongside the BMW M4 GT3 racing car programme, and came packed with plenty of electronic driving assistance wizardry to make you feel like a super driver.

Unique to the M3 and M4 are specially-tuned adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers and M Servotronic steering with variable ratio are fitted as standard. There are also M‑specific front- and rear-axle modifications, a new integrated braking system with two settings for pedal feel and response. 

M Compound brakes come fitted as standard, and the M Carbon ceramic brakes are optional add-ons if you feel you need more consistent stopping power, or just more bragging rights.

The cabin is a typical BMW M car, with driver-centric, sports oriented displays. What’s completely new is the inclusion of the M Drive Professional, BMW’s name for its all-encompassing track-use software that includes M Drift Analyser, M Laptimer and M Traction Control. 

The ‘Drift Analyser records and rates driving stats posted in dynamic cornering manoeuvres’, while the M Traction Control can be adjusted in up to 10 stages, independent of the stability control, which should make the amount of drift you want easier to dial in.

See the size of those shift paddes? The red line behind the steering wheel..

Besides the usual automatic transmission, you can also get them with six-speed manual gearboxes with Gear Shift Assistant, and M Race Track Package, which saves around 25kg with carbon fibre seats, lighter wheels plus carbon ceramic brakes.

If you’re a real racing driver, or simply think that you’re a really good driver and don’t mind the opportunity to get the car all crossed up on track, you can deactivate the xDrive’s all-wheel drive system entirely for a pure rear-wheel drive experience. You can also fully deactivate stability control while you’re at it.

We expect the cars to arrive in Singapore before the middle of 2021, and though prices have not yet been announced you can expect it to sit in the same range as the current model, which is to say, the mid S$300,000 region including COE. 

about the author

Lionel Kong
An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.