By on September 24, 2020

Image: BMW

The 2021 BMW M3 and M4 are here, and hard to miss, thanks to a gaping maw of a grille.

Divisive looks aside – and I have a feeling the discussion about these Bimmers will make political debates seem tame – the cars promise plenty of power.

To wit, an increased 48 ponies over the base engine and 59 more (and 73 lb-ft more of torque) over the Competition model. That translates into 473 and 503. Base engines have 406 lb-ft of torque, while the Competition has 479 lb-ft.

BMW is claiming 0-60 times of 4.1 and 3.8 seconds, respectively.

If you like the three-pedal dance, rejoice, as the rear-drive models will have a six-speed manual transmission. Competition models have an eight-speed automatic, due to their higher torque figure. There’s a manual-shifting mode for the slushbox, if you must.

Competition models will also be available with all-wheel drive starting in the summer of 2021. The system will be rear-biased, with torque shifting to the front wheels only when necessary. A 4WD Sport mode will ensure torque flows to the rear during performance driving, especially on track, and the system can be turned to be rear-drive only.

Image: BMW

Other news includes a new function for the traction-control system that allows for an adjustable amount of allowable wheel slip, new aluminum wishbones with ball joints for the front suspension, new mounts for the front aluminum torque arm, and new hubs and wishbone control arms for the rear suspension. The front track is 1.5 inches wider.

The brakes are updated, too. They’re six-piston, fixed-caliper up front and rear single-piston floating units in the rear. Carbon-ceramic brakes and thicker rotors are available.

New 18- and 19-inch wheels are available, and the Competition models have 19- or 20-inchers to choose from.

An M Carbon exterior package is available. New seats are available for the cabin, including sport buckets that allow for the use of racing seatbelts. The Ms get the latest version of iDrive, which now uses cloud-based navigation.

A new onboard app called M Drive Professional will help wannabe Andrettis improve their track skills, using various data. Some results can be shared online by iPhone users.

Most of the usual suspects when it comes to driver-aid tech will be available.

The new Ms and their gaping grille reach the market in March, with the M3 starting at $69,900 and the M4 at $71,800, plus $995 for destination.

[Images: BMW]

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42 Comments on “Check Out the Grille on THAT: 2021 BMW M3 and M4 Arrive on Scene...”


  • avatar
    retrocrank

    Did the Quandts sell out to the Chinese? For a company that started off making aircraft engines and then building their chops with motorcycles and an advanced 6 cylinder automotive engine (albeit “BMW” has been about 567 different companies since their start), it’s sure disappointing to see them falling into the origami boy racer design trap.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      This guy gets it. There are so many fuerdai now that there’s a money to be made selling “look at me” divisive products. See also: Balenciaga and whatever special edition Leica has dreamt up this week to whore out their brand. All targeted at the same group of people.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Inspired by the final generation Pontiac Grand Prix, the car that Bob Lutz called “Bucky Beaver”.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    The design of the front grill mimics BMW’s reliability – it’s an ugly mess.

  • avatar
    boowiebear

    The grill expansion design direction has reached 1960 car tail fin insanity. This is especially egregious as it looks like two big nostrils instead of a gaping maw like Lexus and others. How does this get out of concept drawings without some brave German raising their hand to say…..”are we sure about this?”

  • avatar
    carguy

    The ugly doesn’t end with the grille – the entire front looks like a bad after market mod. The hood creases are from a mid 90s Pontiac and the lights are not proportioned with the rest of the design.

    My car history includes 6 BMWs old and new but this thing is simply too ugly to look at.

    • 0 avatar
      boowiebear

      Your sentiment carries more weight as you are someone whom has invested in BMW’s. Makes me curious who these are for. Are they trying to attract a younger demographic. Do young kids like ugly cars, did I miss a fad?

      So vexing.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The Chinese supposedly. They seem to love this sort of over-the-top thing.

        Though I don’t completely hate it – I don’t love it, but I like it better than anything Lexus has done lately.

        All it needs is an aftermarket body-color license plate mount to fill in the gap.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I’ve owned more than that, from ’86 535i’s to a ’16 M235i. Currently an ’11 128i convertible and an ’11 328! wagon.

      I don’t hate this, I don’t love this. It could have been a LOT worse. It could have been better too. But I like it better than most cars on the road today. I have no particular interest in M cars anyway – too much muchness, I don’t need a car cranked up to 11 all the time. I think the standard 3 is a looker, especially the wagon we don’t get (of course). No stick, no hatch, no sale for the regular one though – I’ll just keep the one I have.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Eeewww- get that off my screen.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I cant shake the feeling that I have seen this grill before somewhere years ago. Somebody help me out here.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Yeah, no thanks. Missed in every review is the net torque gain of the new base model over the old ‘F80’ model (zero). If you’re shopping 6-speed cars only, that’s relevant, as is the fact that the F80 competition was available with 444 hp and a stick, which this doesn’t beat my much.

    Throw in the added weight and that grille, and I’m not seeing how this is an upgrade.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    I wonder if some third party will come up with a front fascia for these with a body-colored or paintable horizontal something-or-other?! That is even worse than the first pictures; Peter D. on “autoextremist.com” unloaded both barrels on this, and deservedly so! Apparently there’s no accounting for taste with the Chinese!

  • avatar
    dwford

    I’m starting to believe that these cars are getting designed to appeal to the gross 2nd, 3rd, and 4th owners. Just squint and imagine some dents, scuffed wheels, lowered a bit, tints. Hottest whip in the hood

  • avatar
    Old_WRX

    It’s a tribute to the Edsel as seen after a few too many drinks.

  • avatar
    Urlik

    So do we call the front plate a septum plate when it’s put on a BMW now?

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I really try to be pretty open with design, and I kinda sorta (still) like BMW…

    But this is gaudy.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    And just think, there’s a head of design at BMW as proud as a peacock about this new twin schoz “look”. In fact, he was just appointed at the end of March last year. “Domagoj Dukec, former BMW i and M Head of Design, will now lead the entire design team for the BMW brand.”

    So far, so bad.

    Over at Daimler, the design-chief, sky-gazer, tea-leaf reader, self-promoter with a published coffee table art book, the creative genius for Mercedes is one Gorden Wagener, who came up with the logo Sensual Purity (TM) for the looks of the beached whales he’s approved over the last half-dozen years. It’s now officially Sensual Purity 2.0! An accomplished orator, Gordo can mix metaphors with the best of the PR Fluffo whizzes when handed a mic, soaring to giddy heights of frivolously empty rhetoric replete with metaphors and similes that would make Shakespeare feel inadequate. Last seen living in Carlsbad CA, Herr Wagener was apparently intrigued with California SUNLIGHT and the effect it has on the looks of cars. So he decided to live on real taco truck fare and fried dough with jelly and icing sugar instead of Stuttgart dumplings and steak, and hang out for a while in la la land to let it all sink in. Not heard from since the onset of Covid-19, there’s probably no truth to the rumor he’s hiding out for the duration in the namesake Caverns one state over with a supply of dehydrated survival food and a griddle powered by Sterno, collecting life-giving moisture drops from handy nearby stalactites, while fighting off greedy bats eager for a mushy pea.

    Unable to compete with the personally outgoing con barker Gordo over at Daimler lo this past half-decade, BMW really had been having a few bad years as the cars transformed from reasonably lithe to leaden lumps. So in an effort to even out the gap with its arch rival, yet another self-confessed but under-recognized genius was plucked from the BMW styling and design ranks last year to head up a new design direction. Being the author of the frumpy i3 whose reception met with a dull thud except among the chattering cognoscenti, Herr Dukec thus met all the criteria for the higher-ups at BMW to select him as savior. And to prove his innate virtuosity, look what he’s delivered! An M3 grille and facia to make Lexus weep! To make a Honda CTR take refuge in a dark corner blushing in shame! Let alone upstaging the blobular Mercs by sensually pure Gordo and his underlings. The X7 rock crusher preceded this M3/M4, its theme being LED hockey stick flourishes on a square box. Stupendous! The crowd roared!

    Yessir, when the Germans let their hair down, they flat out bring the entire brass band plus the one from the next town over too, and style themselves a ground-pounder plastic snoot for the ages to graft onto the 3-Series. Mmm3, Mmm4. Hot!

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Inject a little Alpha into BMW and this is what you get. It is different but not too bad

  • avatar

    I fall in love that grill, so inviting!

  • avatar
    Boff

    I don’t care how well this car performs, it is ugly as a baboon’s arse. Thank you, BMW, for making the decision about whether or not to keep my ‘18 M3 when the lease is up a no-brainer.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Edsel asks for a re-evaluation, thinks it got screwed.

  • avatar
    threeer

    As a longtime Bimmer fan, looking at this makes my heart hurt. Makes me miss my E36…and my E30…and my 2002.

  • avatar

    The nose used to be cute, but like some people who can’t leave well enough along, the end result is both a parody and tragedy.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Selecting a black or very dark metallic car would help dramatically. It does the trick with Silverados and other pickups, especially with monochrome or blackout nose trim.

    German cars have been the cleanest, sharpest looking cars in modern times, if you don’t mind German cars. It’s a shame they’ve been hanging out with Toyota, Lexus or something too much.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The license plate needs to be part of or flow with the design element and not interfere or look totally out of place.

      The car does look very good from the behind and OK down the sides so I could overlook or live with the front end. It’s definitely not a deal breaker and still easier to look at than most of the cars out there.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      If they were hanging out with Toyota and Lexus, they might pick up some reliability.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Gapping maw (Lexus) vs. flaring nostrils (this abomination). Your choices aren’t good.
    But I’m sure it will be a hit.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I wonder how much Lexus paid off BMW to take Lexus off the worst grill design.

    In other news, Cris Bangle rejoices at the design.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Looks like the B&B no likey!

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I wish BMW would make the M engines optional on the more standard models. Some of us don’t want the bone-jarring ride that always accompanies the full M versions.

  • avatar
    USAFMech

    I kept trying to tell you guys – you didn’t know how good you had it with Chris Bangle.

  • avatar
    Sobro

    It’s no Subaru B9 Tribeca.

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