When a new version of a favorite car arrives, fans inevitably ask if it’s really better than the old one.
Few cars have more fans than the BMW M3 coupe, which was recently transformed into the 2015 M4. So how does this numerically-higher model stack up?
The German magazine Sport Auto took an M4 to the automotive yardstick that is the Nurburgring, and reportedly clocked a 7:52 lap. That’s apparently a 13-second improvement over the old M3 coupe.
That should at least keep BMW from looking foolish but, as Jalopnik pointed out, that time is still 0.2 second slower than what the old 2004 M3 CSL could muster.
The CSL was a lightened, hardcore version of the M3 produced in an extremely limited run a decade ago, and never officially imported to the U.S. It may have been a screamer on the track, but buyers gave up luxuries like air conditioning and a stereo.
In fact, the weight savings were so extreme that BMW used thinner rear glass and a cardboard-like material for the trunk floor, all in effort to reduce the CSL’s overall weight and lower its center of gravity.
The real indicator of progress, then, is not that the 2015 M4 is faster than various M3 models, but that it can do what it does without compromise.
With that imperceptibility-slower Nurburgring lap time, buyers get the same luxurious interior they would in any other BMW, air conditioning included.