The 2nd iteration of the BMW M4, the standard-bearer of the next 4 Series (which will be based on the platform of the G30-generation 3 Series – unveiled at this year's Paris Show), is set to arrive in 2020. This is what we think it may look like and, in terms of the highly anticipated sportscar's specs, here's what we know so far...
Render credit: Wayne Batty
There is always a lot of hype around a new BMW 3 Series and in particular its accompanying M models, so we thought we'd have a go at designing our very own headlining M version of the famous nameplate's (yet to be unveiled) 4 Series sibling. Exact details are a little fuzzy, but the picture is starting to clear up as the deadline for the next M car draws ever closer.
xDrive likely to feature
Purists will no doubt scoff at the idea of an all-wheel-drive M3/M4, but in all likelihood, the duo will sport an all-wheel-drive system with a variable electric differential. It seems that either or both will be rear-wheel-driven as well, but the details here are trickier to understand. The most likely scenario is that, like the M5, the next M3/M4 will have a 2WD mode that allows it to be purely rear-wheel-driven at the push of a button. The other possibility is that only the 6-speed manual derivative (or special-edition versions thereof) will be rear-driven and the autos purely xDrive.
There's always the new M Performance models to think about if you don't want to go full M - this is the M340i.
BMW will crank up the boost on its M3/M4 engine and, most importantly, it remains a straight-6 with multiple turbos. Peak power is said to be between 335 kW-370 kW making its starting point more powerful than the previous-generation Competition Package. BMW has to play it clever though, as new emissions regulations require the engine to be fitted with a particulate filter. It will have multiple features to improve fuel economy, such as coasting, a more intrusive start/stop system and a 48V electrical system, which will reduce the draw from ancillaries on the engine and, critically, spool up the turbos. Water injection will be used (as BMW did with the M4 GTS) in order to keep temperatures down in the combustion chamber. The further developed engine can also handle higher boost, so expect Competition and CS derivatives to push close to the 400 kW mark.
No more M-DCT
No more M-DCT without a 'Park' mode for the new gen M cars.
With the advancement of the responsiveness and efficiency of torque converter transmission, BMW has decided to drop the dual-clutch unit in favour of the 8-speed ZF sourced auto. Multiple modes will be available to improve shift speeds and ferocity of shifts. As mentioned above, it seems a 6-speed manual has survived and will be available for the new model. Whether it makes its way to SA we will only know closer to the launch.
Less wild, however
The character of the new M3/M4 will be toned down somewhat from the wild and sometimes lairy versions of the F80 and F82. The engineers want the new cars to be more balanced and confident at the limit with a more pliant ride quality. Adaptive damping will be further improved to dial in the chassis control and improve overall ride quality. Variable electric steering mode adjustment will be made to lend better feel and weight to the tiller.
As always, the engineers claim that the new models will be lighter than ever, so expect them to be a few kgs thinner than their predecessors, which will not only improve the cars' dynamism, but stopping power too. It all sounds quite promising then, doesn't it? Bring on 2020.