This is the new BMW M3 saloon. It’s lighter, more powerful and more fuel-efficient than the old V8-powered M3 – and BMW claims it’s even sharper to drive. Read on for CAR’s definitive M3 deep-dive.
BMW’s 2014 M3: the headline stats
The new M3’s twin-turbo straight six displaces 2979cc, and develops 425bhp and 406lb ft. While horsepower is only up 11bhp from the old V8 M3, torque has jumped a massive 111lb ft, and is on tap all the way from 1800-5500rpm. Peak power is available from 5390-7000rpm – the twin-turbo mill revs out to 7600rpm.
Downsizing also improves fuel economy by a claimed 25%; BMW’s official stats herald 34mph and 194g/km. More importantly, the new M3 will hit 62mph in 4.1sec (when fitted with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox) and tops out at a limited 155mph. Add on the M Driver’s pack and the limiter allows 174mph jaunts.
The new M3 is certainly no shrinking violet!
Nope – the flared air dams front and rear turn up the visual aggression to 11 – though BMW does claim the combination of vents, intakes and wings decreases lift at the front and rear axles. BMW has increased the narrower 3-series track to match that of the wider M4 coupe too, necessitating a set of tasty blistered arches for that classic M car stance.
Track-spec cooling systems for the engine, brakes and differential are standard in the new M3: BMW says it’s worked hard to improve the car’s race circuit performance to cater for track day enthusiast. Forged 19in alloys are standard-fit in the UK, along with upgraded M Sport brakes. Lighter, larger carbon-ceramic stoppers with gold calipers will be on the options list.
Speaking of carbon…
It’s all over the new M3 saloon. For the first time, the four-door gets a carbon roof, which saves 5kg and lowers the cars centre of gravity. There’s also a one-piece carbon driveshaft, a carbon engine bay strut-brace, and carbon rings in the standard six-speed manual gearbox for smoother shifting (it’ll also auto-blip to rev-match downshifts).
That’s not the end of the weight-saving measures. The domed bonnet and front wings are made from aluminium, and under the skin there are aluminium suspension control arms to save 3kg of unsprung mass. At 1520kg, the F30 M3 weighs a huge 80kg less than an equivalent E92 M3 saloon.
What about the handling?
There’s a retuned M Differential, that BMW claims enhances traction by altering the amount of diff lock between zero and one hundred per cent in a fraction of a second. Spec the paddleshift gearbox and you get launch control and a ‘Smokey Burnout’ function – stick with the manual and it’s up to the driver to provide those feats yourself…
Anything new inside?
One-piece sports seats, some ‘M’-branded footrest and steering wheel trinkets, and the usual tricolour stitching. Other than that, it’s stock 3-series – not exactly a disappointment, but hardly an exciting cabin given you’ll pay £56,175 when the new M3 lands in spring 2014…
>> What’s your take on the new six-cylinder BMW M3? The new ultimate everyday car? Add your thoughts in the comments below