As is the way of the Internet, someone has jumped the gun and given the world a peek at the new 2014 BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe. While BMW is surely furious, we’re quite thankful.
Images leaked by BMW Blog show styling is essentially what was expected: more aggressive versions of the 3 Series sedan and 4 Series coupe each car is based on. Upgrades include a more aggressive front fascia similar to the ones seen on the M5 and 1M, a discreet hood bulge, bigger wheels and tires, and a new rear fascia with quad exhaust outlets. The cars also reportedly have much wider tracks than their non-M counterparts.
The M3 and M4 are two versions of the same model; only BMW’s new nomenclature separates them. Take away the badges, and they’re mechanically identical.
As predicted, the old M3’s V8 has been replaced by a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct-injected inline-six. It will reportedly produce 430 horsepower and more than 369 pound-feet of torque (BMW will likely issue final figures soon). That’s 10 more horses than the outgoing M3, and 74 more pound-feet.
The new engine will be coupled to a six-speed manual transmission (the M DCT dual-clutch will probably be offered as an option), and a lighter chassis. Most cars gain weight when they enter a new generation, but the M4 coupe reportedly weighs just 3,306 pounds. That’s less than a 1999 M3 coupe.
The engineers at BMW M reportedly went to great lengths to get that impressively low curb weight, even installing a carbon fiber prop shaft. A carbon fiber roof will be optional, further decreasing weight.
BMW hasn’t released performance figures, but the M3 and M4 will probably improve on the old manual-equipped M3’s 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds. Like all BMW M cars, top speed will be limited to 155 mph.
However, the M3 and M4 will also be green. Autocar reports that both cars may be equipped with engine start-stop and a brake-energy regeneration system.
Drivers will also have plenty of tech to play with. The M3 and M4 will feature adjustable driving modes that alter the characteristics of the throttle, transmission, electric power steering, and suspension. The traction control system will also have multiple modes, and the cars will be equipped with some type of intelligent rear differential.
So far, the new M3 and M4 seem to be living up to expectations. Since the leak has foiled plans to make the reveal a true surprise, expect BMW to imminently release official details on both cars soon.
The public debut of the 2014 BMW M3 and M4 is scheduled for the Detroit Auto Show in January, with both cars expected to go on sale next year.