THIRTY-FIVE YEARS, SIX GENERATIONS, AN unrivalled motorsport pedigree and an expectation to be the best sports saloon in the market. No one said it was ever going to be easy for the new G80series M3 and its M4 coupe brother, and as if to confirm that BMW M is pulling out all the stops, there is a great deal to take in with its latest pair.
It starts with the usual fare that includes two trim levels for each car (standard and Competition) and two gearboxes (a manual and an auto, more on both later), and these choices are now joined by two different drivetrains too (two- and four-wheel drive). But it’s the looks that will inevitably generate the comments – and no doubt protests from some who will say they’ll never buy an M3 again.
The styling of the new cars doesn’t display the homologation attention to detail of the original E30 M3, nor the taught, tightly surfaced approach of the E46, but there’s still plenty to occupy your eye – not least a front grille that will keep the meme generators busier than Lewis Hamilton’s trophy cabinet maker. Combined with a front number plate position that does as much to draw your attention to the vast openings as it does to try to distract you from them, and joined by large outlets in the bonnet’s leading edge above, in a bold colour it’s a standout feature. Perhaps a more subtle hue will tone down the impact, but either way, it’s going to be a conversation starter.
For the rest of the design it’s pure 2020 BMW M, which means more defined openings and exaggerated surfaces for the front, more pronounced sculpting along the flanks, and wider rear arches for the M3 compared to those of a conventional 3 Series. There’s also a carbon fibre roof as standard for both body styles, rear diffusers, and smaller-diameter wheels for the front axles (18- or 19-inch) compared to the rear (19- or 20-inch).
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
THE LAST STRIKE
Seeing out the tumultous year of 2020 with a bang – chasing snow, sand and the sea on one final road trip
Porsche’s next 911 GT3 will be officially revealed in February 2021, but we caught up with GT boss Andreas Preuninger during a final development drive to discover what to expect
Toyota Urban Cruiser
Toyota enters the hotly contested compact SUV segment with the Urban Cruiser, the rebadged version of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
Quiet, comfortable and refined — the Volvo S60 may not be a driver’s car but it certainly is desirable
TOYOTA GR YARIS, VW GOLF GTI & HONDA CIVIC TYPE R
A vintage year for hot hatches sees these three very different examples vying for places in the final. John Barker reveals which make it through
THRILL OF LEARNING
Rookie rider Suvrat heads to the racetrack to hone his riding skills ahead of two race weekends
The Aprilia SXR 160 was revealed at the Auto Expo 2020. Eleven months down the line, we finally get astride the maxi-scooter
The 488 returns as a limited-run, track-only special and it is absolutely bonkers
ARIEL NOMAD R & ASTON MARTIN DBX
They’re like nothing else at this year’s eCoty, so can their unique abilities and appeal see them make their way through to the second round? Henry Catchpole finds out
Ferrari F8 Tributo, Lamborghini Huracán Evo Rwd & McLaren 765LT
Three spectacular supercars, but they can’t all go through, can they? Richard Meaden attempts to identify the weaker players
How four master builders defined the path of the 2021 BMW R 18
Flying the FW 190
A legend gets checked out in the Butcher Bird
NEW BMW HAS CLASSIC GRILLE BUT FOR SENSORS, NOT AIRFLOW
German luxury automaker BMW on Wednesday gave an early look at a new battery-driven SUV that illustrates the company’s future plans for electric-powered driving.
KYOSHO BMW X7
1:18 | $160 no. K08951PBL
How close do you need to get?
SIMPLY THE PITS!
SPEED DEMON SCARES HIS KIDS
OttOmobile Honda S2000 Type S
Sharper Edged Club Racing Roadster
The Burden of HERITAGE
WHAT MAKES A PROPER PREMIUM SPORT SEDAN? TURBOS, ALL-WHEEL DRIVE, AND REFINEMENT
TESLA DELIVERS ITS FIRST COMPACT LUXURY ELECTRIC SUV. WE DRIVE IT.
DESIGN MACHT MUT(H)
How a German designer came to forge Suzuki’s sharpest sword