By on January 13, 2014

2015 M3
The 2015 BMW M3/4 debuts at Detroit with a host of “adding lightness” and a healthy step up in power from the outgoing M3.

The high-winding 4L V8 is replaced by a direct-injected turbo 3L straight six with 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, while dropping 20 pounds off the motor’s weight. The six speed is a carry over, but now gains auto rev-matching for those panty-dropping rev-matched downshifts. The alternative is a seven speed “M-DCT” dual clutch transmission. 0 to 60 is in a scant 4.1 seconds for the manual, and 3.9 seconds for the M-DCT…

The rest of the M3/4 is standard M-goodness. A proper limited slip differential, optional carbon brakes,  a slightly more driver-oriented interior, and of course that M-badge. Carbon fiber panels through out, including a carbon fiber/plastic composite driveshaft, aid the M3/4 in dropping about 175 pounds off the outgoing M3. Overall fuel consumption and emissions are said to be down by 25%.

All this is good news: with an ATS-V around the corner, BMW drops the gauntlet with this update.


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24 Comments on “NAIAS 2014: 2015 BMW M3, Return Of The Straight Six...”

  • avatar

    The 3.0 6 is only 20 pounds lighter than the 4.0 V8? I would have thought it would be more.

    • 0 avatar
      Phillip Thomas

      Factor in that it’s a turbo motor. Depending on what equipment they include for the motor weight (are they counting the additional charge/intercooler piping into the weight?), it’s a decent drop. Turbo motors are traditionally a little heavier than their n/a counterparts, extra equipment.

      • 0 avatar

        Also dropping cylinder count doesn’t nessecarily create a like drop in weight. A “V” engine is a pretty good way to package every thing. When GM and Ford introduced their lightweight V8 engines in the 50’s and 60’s they ended up lighter than their I6 stablemates. Shorter cranks, smaller intake manifolds and so on as obvious examples.

    • 0 avatar

      Same here…Speculation: The V8 had no turbos or intercooler, no related plumbing, probably thinner cylinder walls, and I bet was a similar “raw” block weight to the new turbo 6.

  • avatar

    That’s some crazy power, but what I’m seeing here is making you pay extra for what was once standard.

    • 0 avatar

      It would be nice if you could get things like a LSD on non-M models still. A manual 328 properly equipped would probably be a fun sport sedan with a cheap lease deal.

  • avatar

    When I changed out the Six in my 96′ 328is and replaced it with an M5 V-8(S-62), the weight penalty was only 80 pounds. The V-8 is shorter then the six, that weight and more was moved aft, resulting in less the a 1% change in the F/R weight distribution.

    Don’t know the quarter mile time of the new combo, but the 0-60mph time, is near the times reported above, though, the new M’s are a tenth or so faster, or I just prefer a gear box, clutch saving, deliberate shift at less then full steam.

    I suspect that the M3 V-8 models will command a higher market resale with the demise of the V-8 in the ‘M’ line up.

  • avatar

    Straight six +!
    That color +!

  • avatar

    As much as I’d love to own one, I just could never justify spending $70k+ on this type of car. I’d be more in the camp of having a $40k Mustang and a $30k Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      Short Bus

      I’m with you there. Every time I really dream about owning a car like this I realize that I could have a used Spec-Miata and a truck and other necessary equipment for significantly less. The difference in price would fund a lot of race weekends.

      I believe I would enjoy real wheel-to-wheel racing in a slow car more than driving by myself in a fast car.

  • avatar

    I hear you – that $40K will also buy you a nice used Porsche, or a few MX-5’s if you are so inclined.

  • avatar
    Chris FOM

    The big question in my book is what (if any) magic the M teams has worked on the F30 platform. I’ve got an E90 335 with the sport package and last time I had work done (dead battery BTW, nothing major before the anti-German brigade jumps out) I got an F30 335 sport as a loaner. The difference was remarkable. It felt more upscale than my E90, but the handling and involvement was a notable step down. My wife liked it for exactly that reason, comparing it favorably to her mom’s Hyundai (a nicely optioned Genesis sedan), which may be the most damning comment of all.

    So can the M guys turn something that numb into something that brings the driver back? They failed with the M5/M6, but those have always tended a little more away from the razor-sharp nature of the 3-series, so hope remains, even if I remain skeptical.

    • 0 avatar

      I completely agree. I’ve tested two F30 328i models including a Sport Line RWD with 6MT, and they did not deliver nearly the level of driving engagement I’ve experienced in earlier generations. The main culprit, IMO, is the inexcusably lifeless steering, which provides zero connection between your hands and the contact patches. Many EPS systems provide poor steering feel (including my Acura’s), but this one is notably bad, especially because great steering has been a defining characteristic of the 3 Series. The M3/4 models have a new steering system, and if it delivers the goods, I hope at least some of its elements trickle down to the regular 3 Series, perhaps as part of the Sport and M Sport lines (and Sport Package on the 320i).

      • 0 avatar

        As far a really fun performance driving, I don’t find the 3-series and ‘M’s all that entertaining(With the exception of the 91’ 318is). I have always viewed it as a great GT, which it is. A thoroughly enjoyable cross country tourer.

        For real fun, you have to go light with a wheelbase of 96″ or less. A true sports car not a sporty sedan with sporty pretensions. Even the M3 leaves a lot on the table regarding the truly fun components of sporty driving.

        And, like somebody mentioned, for the price of a new M3/4, one can have a good used motorhome, race trailer, and mobile tool kit, generator, and a Miata/S2000/Boxster/etc. Or, for real fun, one of the many Lotus Seven knock offs, or, a dedicated sports racer or F-Ford/F-440-500. Then buy a decent daily ride with the left over change.

    • 0 avatar

      The fundamentals are there. The chassis is rigid and the suspension geometry is right. They just have to stiffen up the suspension and bushings, and maybe do a little chassis re-enforcement

      This 3 is literally the same size as the E39 5… it didn’t take much to turn the 5 from the competent but hardly thrilling 528 to the almighty M5. Once you have the chassis in place everything else is easy.

    • 0 avatar

      New BMW’s are less concerned with the sporting pretense of 2nd hand shoppers, and are more focused on comfort and gadgets to compete with Benz and Audi image-shoppers?

      Next you’ll tell me that all the safety equipment makes cars heavier, or that crappy engines used to trick fleet economy numbers make terrible daily drivers.

      Seriously though, while it may not be as ‘sharp’ as a 3, everything made after the e39 is generally a step in the wrong direction. That thing really was all things to all people. I have a sneaking suspicion that you can track most of BMW’s current course from the e65/66 7er in ’02 – people bought up the Ultimate Driving Machine hype for nearly a decade before they realized things were just getting softer and heavier, and making up for it with MOAR POWAH!

  • avatar

    What is with so many of these new lower fascias (I’m looking at all of you new Bimmers) that are so busy with the labia majora/minora detailing? Here they’ve extended it to the rear as well.
    Bring back Subie’s flying va-j-j.

  • avatar

    “The six speed is a carry over, but now gains auto rev-matching for those panty-dropping rev-matched downshifts.”

    Any woman who would notice such a thing would wonder why you’re not capable of doing that yourself, and there won’t be many of those. Almost all panty-dropping will result from the perception of wealth.

  • avatar

    since I’m quick to slam BMW for softening their new products, I will give them credit. Another publication reported a 7600 rpm redline for this engine, which if true, puts its only 300 rpm short of the sainted s54 in the e46. I could live with a turbo 6 over the V8 if that is in fact the redline, and assuming the noise is appropriate (and no faking it!). That said, as other’s have mentioned, here’s to hoping M works their magic with the suspension and steering to finally inject some life into this.

  • avatar

    For a weight savings of 20 lbs, I’d rather have the high revving V8. I almost can’t believe I said that, but I stand by it.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup! Love BMW Six’s, but that Eight is a beauty, too. And the exhaust sound is worth the price of admission. Definitely on my collect list when the used price levels off, but with BMW terminating its availability, it might be a slow descent to my acquisition price point.

  • avatar

    Between the curious color choice, Predator gill treatment, M6 wheels, black roof, and questionable fender detailing, this thing may as well some tuner special making the rounds on E90Post. While the M3 name will always quicken the pulse after many fond associations with the E36 and E46 versions, my interest ultimately fades post-2006 (despite what my lying Autotrader/Craigslist search history may say). Quite frankly, a RWD 328d Touring is the BMW that interests me the most … but then again, you would expect a TTAC poster to write that.

  • avatar

    Turbo engines are funny. For day to day driving, I love the low rpm torque, but when I’m out fun driving, nothing feels better than a well tuned NA engine climbing its torque curve as it heads towards red line!

    And BMW has formally reserved the internal code of F81 for a wagon variant.

    Let the waiting and hoping begin!

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