The slightly slick track at Wisconsin’s Road America has me wondering just how little effort it would take to spin the 425-horsepower German monster I’m driving. 80… 90… 100… 110… a healthy roar from the engine — and all the way back down to 20 just before a hard right that pushes my face and my breakfast forward like I’m being shoved by a linebacker. The truth is that the BMW M4 ($64,200) I’m helming isn’t working nearly as hard as it could be, with its 406 lb-ft of torque and weight savings over the past version. 174 pounds. That’s the equivalent weight of two average male German Shepherds drooling on your fine leather sport seats and the same amount of poundage the new 2-door M4 has dropped over the M3 Coupe it replaces. But the all-new BMW M3 and M4 are so much more than more power and less fat.

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You can call both the 2-door (M4) and the sedan (M3) daily drivers. Most would consider that a compliment for something so fast it makes Ferrari F430s sweat in their hot red paint. But with those levels of refinement also comes the ability to destroy just about everything else on the road, shy of a supercar. Especially in 2-door dress, the car looks like anything but a commuter’s car. The hood bulge looks like something beastly is trying to get out, while the fender flares, quad pipes and dark CF roof adds sinister to the recipe, even when the car is colored in that polarizing Austin Yellow Metallic.

174 pounds. That’s the equivalent weight of two average male German Shepherds drooling on your fine leather sport seats and the same amount of poundage the new 2-door M4 has dropped over the M3 Coupe it replaces.

Beneath the hood bulge, things are just as interesting. BMW dropped the big V8 from the last-gen M3 and replaced it with a new inline-six. Gone is the torque-paltry V8 with the disappointing 295 lb-ft at 3,900 rpm figure, which resulted in nearly absent low-end pull (at least for an M car). In the 2015 M3/M4, BMW’s first ever use of turbocharging in an M car equates to 111 more lb-ft from 1,800 all the way to 5,500 rpm; the kind of potential vehicular mayhem that could easily land you in the slammer.

Specifications

BMW-M3-Spec-Sidebar-Gear-Patrol

M3
Engine: 3.0-liter Twin Turbo V6
Horsepower: 425
Torque: 406 lb-ft
0-60 4.1 seconds (manual) / 3.9 seconds (DCT)
Transmission: Six-speed Manual / Seven-speed Dual Clutch
Fuel Economy: 17 City / 26 Highway MPG
Curb Weight: 3,540 lbs (manual) / 3,595 lbs (DCT)
Top Speed: 156 mph (limited)

BMW-M4-Spec-Sidebar-Gear-Patrol

M4
Engine: 3.0-liter Twin Turbo V6
Horsepower: 425
Torque: 406 lb-ft
0-60: 4.1 seconds (manual) / 3.9 seconds (DCT)
Transmission: Six-speed Manual / Seven-speed Dual Clutch
Fuel Economy: 17 City / 26 Highway MPG
Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs (manual) / 3,585 lbs (DCT)
Top Speed: 156 mph (limited)

Both cars’ Los Angeles class submarine-like power is managed by a slick six-speed manual or a spectacular 7-speed DCT. The electronically controlled, limited-slip diff from the bigger M5 works beautifully — leaving you alone in the turn until you need to put down the power on exit. With this kind of control and minimal understeer, well-executed turns are nearly balletic and result in even more satisfaction than outright blasts down the straight.

The seating position in both cars is just right, with a position that’s definitely lower than the last car’s while maintaining great visibility for those rapid track changes. The delicious and partially piped-in sounds aren’t fake, contrary to some claims. Instead, you’re hearing the M’s actual engine sounds with small percentage of amplification. Regardless, the sound is mellifluous, though not as raw as a Jaguar F-Type’s. But that matters little when taking the cars around the track, even in the wet. Turn in is sharp, and making mincemeat of apexes is easy work. The power upon exit experiences no noticeable turbo lag, and roaring up to triple digit speeds with linear torque is a thing of beauty. The reduced heft enhances the car’s agility; those 425 horses certainly aren’t there to make up for weightiness.

With the benefit of more power, decreased weight and excellent steering, the M3 and M4 deliver an incredible driving experience at an accessible price point. Some cars make you nervous with their power. The M3 and M4 instill the same confidence that every M3 before them has imparted. The legacy of the Motorsport division remains intact — in fact, it ups the ante from the last car, silencing the turbo naysayers and making both cars not just more potent, but more thrilling to drive. The two new icons are proof that BMW Motorsport is constantly striving to improve. We just can’t imagine what they’ll do next.

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BMW-M3-RETRO-PROMO-LINK-Gear-Patrol

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