Development input from professional racing drivers: BMW works driver Bruno Spengler on the technical highlights.
When developing the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe, the BMW M engineers could count not only on track-honed technologies, but also on the driving talent of experienced racers. For example, Bruno Spengler and Timo Glock, BMW Motorsport works drivers in the DTM Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (German Touring Car Masters) series, took part in extensive testing and set-up runs on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit.
“I’m proud to have made a contribution to the set-up work on these two cars,” says 2012 DTM champion Spengler, who also took third place in the 2013 series. “The suspension has a very sporty set-up, the feedback from the front axle is extremely direct, the grip at the rear axle is phenomenal and the engine performance is awesome. This is the ideal basis for our DTM car.”
Bruno Spengler on the six-in-line engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology:
“As a race driver, I’m very impressed by the instant, lag-free response from the two turbos as soon you step on the gas. This is a sensational feature of this engine which translates to more fun at the wheel and is perfect for sporty driving.”
… on the electronic power steering:
“The electronic power steering is very precise, and from my point of view as a race driver that’s very, very important. It responds instantly to inputs and provides excellent feedback.”
… on the rear axle:
“The rear axle has a very progressive locking action, due to the electronically controlled limited-slip differential, and generates huge amounts of grip. The electronic control system is configured so that when you lift off the gas going into corners, the differential opens up and the lock-up effect is reduced to zero, resulting in very eager turn-in. When you accelerate out of the corner again, the lock-up engages progressively all the way up to 100 per cent full lock, for optimal traction.”
Design: Striking use of forms underlines standout performance capability.
The design of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe visualises in eye-catching style the outstanding performance capability and impressive handling properties of the two new models. “The superior performance of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe should be obvious at first glance,” explains Karim Habib, Head of Design BMW Automobiles. “Indeed, the exterior design of the new BMW M3 and BMW M4 has a visual impact that elevates the BMW M design language to a new level of expression, highlighted by a purposeful character, emotional appeal and dynamic verve.”
The front end: the powerfully expressive face of BMW M.
Viewed from the front, the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe stand out most prominently with their powerful contours and a strongly defined three- dimensionality, which lend them a powerfully expressive face. Characteristic design elements leave no doubt that these cars are the work of BMW M. There is the modern take on the twin headlight arrangement (with optional LED technology), for example, not to mention the distinctive twin-bar kidney grille with black painted grille bars – which reflect the design of the characteristic BMW M double-spoke wheels and bear the M logo – and the powerfully designed front apron with its trio of large intakes supplying cooling air to the high-performance engine and brakes. Among the other hallmark BMW M design features on display is the characteristic power dome on the bonnet, which hints at the potential of the brawny M TwinPower Turbo engine and creates space for the intercooler. And the striking exterior mirrors – with their suggested twin-stalk mounts – also demand particular attention, their design optimising the aerodynamics of the new BMW M3 Sedan and new BMW M4 Coupe.
The flanks: low-slung silhouette and dynamic lines.
The sides of both cars extend the dynamic impression created by their respective front ends. The hallmark BMW proportions of a long bonnet, long wheelbase, set-back glasshouse and short front overhang are lent further emphasis by familiar M design elements. “The muscular wheel arches and eye-catching surface forms clearly underline the dynamic potential of the BMW M3 and BMW M4,” adds Habib.
Those dynamics-accentuating details include likewise newly designed M gills, which perform both a stylistic and a functional role. Integrated into them are Air Breathers, which team up with the Air Curtains in the front apron to help optimise the airflow around the wheel arches and therefore improve aerodynamics.
The dark colour of the CFRP roof (with its contoured roofline) gives both models a lower-slung and more compact appearance, as the eye perceives the roof pillars – painted in body colour – to be the uppermost point of the car. A flowing roofline lends the already sporting overall appearance of the BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe an extra elegance and finesse. The line gains in momentum once again as it heads rearwards, increasing aerodynamic downforce and giving the rear a more muscular look at the same time.
The rear: BMW M4 with spoiler integrated into the boot lid.
The design of the rear end displays striking differences in the two models. The BMW M3 Sedan, for example, is fitted with a Gurney spoiler to reduce lift, while the tailgate of the BMW M4 Coupe features an integrated rear spoiler and is made from particularly lightweight carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic. As well as performing a functional aerodynamic role, the tailgate also contributes significantly to the BMW M4’s standalone design. Indeed, the pair of lines which begin life flanking the power dome in the bonnet – and score a clearly defined path over the CFRP roof – complete their journey in the boot lid.
A shared feature of the two models are the prominently flared rear wheel arches which, in combination with the wide track, underline the confident appearance of the BMW M3 and BMW M4. A characteristic BMW M detail of the rear end are the high-gloss polished, now slanting pair of twin exhaust tailpipes, which are framed like jewels by the sculptural rear apron with its integrated diffuser.
The interior design: flawless ergonomics in a sporting ambience.
Climbing into the BMW M3 and BMW M4, drivers will be greeted by the interior architecture familiar from the BMW 3 Series and BMW 4 Series, complete with unimpeachable ergonomics and clear driver focus. In keeping with the character of the two models, however, the interior fulfils an even more sharply defined sporting brief. To this end, the host of traditional BMW M equipment details includes M door sill finishers, an M driver’s footrest, M gearshift lever, M-design circular instruments with white graphics, M leather steering wheel with chrome trim, colour contrast stitching and electroplated- look shift paddles (if the M DCT gearbox is specified).
The front seats also represent an evocative expression of BMW M’s motor sport genes. Taking visual inspiration from the bucket seats fitted in racing cars, the seats feature a full-size single-piece back panel. This means the construction of the seats is very flat, while the high, width-adjustable side bolsters and low-set seat surface allow an ideal seating position and provide excellent support. Despite their undeniably sporty design, the BMW M sports seats can be specified as an option with comfort-enhancing features including electric adjustment and heating. On the seat surface, the stitching, upholstery segmentation and perforation lend the seats a slim-fitting feel. Illuminated for the first time, the BMW M logo on the seat backrests adds a new and exclusive highlight.