Stick-Shift or 503 HP, Choose Your Weapon

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In a world full of misery, BMW has just given us something to look forward to in the form of the new 2021 M4 coupeā€”and unlike a vaccine, we know for sure when this cure for our malaise is coming. The happiest news: The 2021 BMW M4 will be available with a manual transmission, which comes paired with a 473 horsepower, 406-lb-ft version of BMW’s 3.0 liter TwinPower Turbo straight-six engine.

The 2021 BMW M4 Competition model gets a 503 hp/479-lb-ft version of the same engine, which drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic. For those keeping track, that’s an increase of 48 hp (but no torque change) for the base engine, and 59 hp and 73 lb-ft for the Competition.

A high-performance cooling package, which includes an oil cooler for all M4s and a transmission cooler for the Competition, ensures the 2021 BMW M4 will keep its cool even with hard-core track usage. Flaps in the exhaust system can either modulate the noise or let the straight-six scream itself into oblivion.

And what of all-wheel drive? Yes, that’s coming, too, as a late-availability option for 2021 BMW M4 Competition models. The three-mode xDrive system has normal and rear-biased modes, as well as a RWD mode that completely shuts off drive to the front wheels. (It requires stability control to be turned off as well, so if you’re planning to go sideways, well, you’re in luck.)

Given the massive improvements to the new 3-Series platform, we’re especially eager to try out the new BMW M4 on the curves. Among the enhancements for M service: Additional chassis bracing, electronically controlled shocks, and suspension parts reworked for lighter weight and greater agility. Brakes have six-piston calipers at the front and single-pistons at the rear. Drivers can choose between two brake-pedal-feel modes, Comfort and Sport, our assumption being that the former mode will allow for more pedal travel while the latter gives a more immediate response. The stability-control system has 10 stages of adjustment, allowing the driver to get the M4 well out of shape while still having an electronic safety net in place.

And now for the one bit of bad news: The 2021 BMW M4 gets BMW’s massive new twin-kidney grille, whose arrival we have dreaded on the new 2021 BMW 4-Series. This grille is flanked in its lower half by even more grilles, presumably to meet the M’s massive cooling needs. The grille’s twin-snout theme, which ends at the hood seam on the 4-Series, extends way back into the hood, with each snout topped by reverse-facing scoops. The body has all the scoops, swoops, flares, and fins you expect to see on an M car. The roof is made of carbon-fiber composite to save weight, and those who want a lighter car (and a lighter wallet) can specify an M Carbon package which includes carbon-fiber grille inlays, diffuser, rear spoiler, and mirror caps.

Aside from a few detail changes, the interior is pretty much what we’ve seen on the newest iteration of the 3-Series, with more aggressive racing-style seats and BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional digital dashboard as standard equipment. A head-up display with M-specific screens is on the options list.

Among the electronic doo-dads is the new-for-2021 M Drive Professional, a track app that provides lap timing and the M Drift Analyzer. The latter records the duration, distance, and angle of your drifts, and it shows a rating on the display screen, which sounds to us a lot like the Insane Stunt Bonus in the Grand Theft Auto games.

The rear-drive version of the new 2021 BMW M4, along with the companion M3 sedan, goes on sale in March 2021, with xDrive versions coming in the summer. Pricing starts at $72,795 for the rear-drive base car, and $75,695 for the rear-drive Competition coupe.

2021 BMW M4 Highlights

  • Twin-turbo inline straight-six, 473 or 503 hp
  • Available six-speed manual transmission
  • 180-mph top speed with M Driver’s Package
  • Available lap timer and drift-angle recorder

2021 BMW M4 Specifications

ON SALE March 2021
PRICE $70,895 (base)
ENGINE 3.0 liter DOHC 24-valve I-6/473 hp @ 6,250 rpm, 406 lb-ft @ 2,650-6,130 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
EPA MILEAGE TBD
L x W x H 189.1 x 74.3 x 54.8 in
WHEELBASE 112.5 in
WEIGHT 3,830 lb
0-60 MPH 4.1 sec
TOP SPEED 155 mph (180 w/optional M Driver’s Package)

2021 BMW M4 Competition Specifications

ON SALE March 2021
PRICE $75,695 (base)
ENGINE 3.0 liter DOHC 24-valve I-6/503 hp @ 6,250 rpm, 479 lb-ft @ 2,750-5,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
EPA MILEAGE TBD
L x W x H 189.1 x 74.3 x 54.8 in
WHEELBASE 112.5 in
WEIGHT 3,880 lb
0-60 MPH 3.8 sec
TOP SPEED 155 mph (180 w/optional M Driver’s Package)



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