Revealed to the world in September, the new G80 BMW M3 and G82 BMW M4 have been driven by selected media, with review embargoes having lifted yesterday. While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic meant that we weren’t able to fly in and join the festivities, we can at least marvel at the massive 240-image photo gallery that Munich has gracefully provided.

The two cars have courted a lot of controversy in the past months, thanks in no small part to the massive double kidney grilles that now take up the full height of the front end. Look behind those huge openings, however, and you’ll find the traditional M car recipe – a bespoke straight-six engine, rear-wheel drive and a comprehensively upgraded chassis compared to the standard 3 and 4 Series – albeit with some unconventional tweaks to the formula.

Under the bonnet sits an S58 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged six-pot from the X3 and X4 M, uprated with a lighter forged crankshaft to make it a bit freer-revving. Beyond that, the highlights are the same, with a new weight-optimised 3D-printed cylinder head core, an uprated direct injection system and a particulate filter to meet new Euro 6d emissions regulations.

Like the S55 before it, the S58 also features a closed-deck construction, wire-arc sprayed iron cylinder wall coating, Valvetronic variable valve timing, Double Vanos variable camshaft timing and an improved cooling system. The upgrades have freed up nearly an extra 50 PS and 50 Nm compared to the old engine, now producing 480 PS at 6,250 rpm and 550 Nm of torque from 2,650 to 6,130 rpm.

In standard form, the M3 and M4 are only available with a six-speed manual gearbox and dispatch the zero-to-100 km/h sprint in 4.2 seconds. But there’s more – the Competition models serve up even more power, punching out 510 PS at 6,250 rpm and 650 Nm between 2,750 and 5,500 rpm. Those are heady increases of almost 60 PS and 100 Nm on the previous Competition cars.

Here, your only transmission option is an eight-speed ZF automatic from the M5 and M8, enabling the cars to blitz the 100 km/h mark in just 3.9 seconds. For the first time, an xDrive all-wheel drive system will be available on the Competition models starting this summer, complete with a rear-wheel drive mode for you to make lurid slides.

Helping to keep the power on the road are the numerous structural upgrades that help stiffen the body shell. The unique aluminium front subframe has been outfitted with strut tower braces, vertical bracing and a single-piece shear panel with integrated side braces. The centre and rear sections have also been modified with a crossbar, additional stiffening measures at the rear and a new rigidly-mounted rear subframe.

Both the M3 and M4 benefit from a lower centre of gravity, a wider front track and standard-fit adaptive M suspension. The front double-jointed MacPherson struts come with aluminium wishbones and torque arms, a forged swivel bearing, lightweight wheel bearings, and bespoke kinematics with large castor and kingpin angles. The rear five-link axle gains model-specific wishbones and uprights.

The result of all this is increased stability and precision, neutral on-limit steering behaviour and a linear build-up of lateral forces. All models come with speed-sensitive, variable-ratio M Servotronic steering that reduces torque steer on all-wheel-drive models, plus a brake-by-wire system with two pedal feel settings.

Speaking of which, the brakes are new M compound items with six-piston front callipers and 380 mm front discs. These feature blue callipers as standard and are optionally available with either a black or red finish. Carbon-ceramic brakes are available as an option with 400 mm front discs and gold callipers.

As usual, the M3 and M4 get a more lenient M Dynamic Mode for the stability control, while the traction control system is now integrated into the ECU and responds up to ten times faster. The optional M Drive Professional system adds a new M Traction Control function that provides ten different levels of intervention, along with a lap timer and a “drift analyser”. It comes as standard on the Competition models.

To visualise these significant upgrades, BMW has ramped up the visual aggression for this generation. That controversial grille juts out from the front fascia and features new horizontal bars with model badging. It is flanked by the 4 Series’ trapezoidal headlights and large intakes that feed air to both the brakes and the radiators. Aero flics are integrated into the vertical Air Curtain inlets.

As is typical for a full M car, the front and rear fenders have been stretched significantly to wrap around the staggered wheels, which, for the first time, have a different diameter for the front and rear. As standard, the M3 and M4 come with 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels, whereas the all-wheel-drive models receive the 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels that are optional on the other models.

Elsewhere, you’ve got diagonal front fender gills, broader side skirts, dual-arm side mirrors, a small bootlid spoiler and a beefy rear diffuser. The bespoke exhaust features four huge round exhaust tips that are chrome on the standard cars and black on the Competition models. The front splitters, side skirts and rear diffuser are all finished in gloss black. New paint finishes include Sao Paulo Yellow, Isle of Man Green and Toronto Red.

The interior has been embellished with M sports seats, red M buttons on the steering wheel, a red starter button and an illuminated gearlever on the automatic models. Buyers can specify new (and very aggressive-looking) M carbon bucket seats with integrated headrests and illuminated model badging, while the optional carbon fibre decorative trim also adds some spindly carbon paddle shifters with red trim.

The sedan and coupé versions seen here are just part of an expanded M3 and M4 lineup, offering the widest range of body styles in the cars’ illustrious history. Aside from the usual convertible model (which will revert to a soft-top), BMW will also offer a Touring wagon variant for the first time, while a four-door Gran Coupé is also expected. There will also be an M version of the closely-related electric i4.

It’s rare for BMWs to be launched in Malaysia before the global media test drive, but that’s exactly the case with the new M3 and M4, which were introduced here in December. The two cars will only be available in Competition trim, priced at RM664,800 for the M3 Competition and RM684,800 for the M4 Competition.

An optional Innovation Package throws in several must-have items, including Laserlight headlights, a Harman Kardon sound system, a head-up display and the Driving Assistant package, which adds autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping assist. The package is priced at RM75,000 for the M3 and RM76,000 for the M4. Deliveries are slated to kick off in the middle of the year.

GALLERY: G80 BMW M3 Competition Sedan in Frozen Portimao Blue metallic


GALLERY: G80 BMW M3 Competition Sedan in Isle of Man Green
GALLERY: G82 BMW M4 Competition Coupé in Portimao Blue
GALLERY: G82 BMW M4 Competition Coupé in Sao Paolo Yellow