2021 BMW M3

Coming March 2021

2021 BMW M3
Estimated Price: Starting at $70,895

  • Scintillating performance
  • Plenty of new tech features
  • All-wheel drive available for the first time on the M3
  • A truly upsetting front end
  • Kicks off the sixth M3 generation
Contact your local dealers about upcoming availability and pricing details.
2021 BMW M3 Review
Is It Fast Enough to Outrun Its Styling?
What is the M3?

The BMW M3 is an icon of motoring. It essentially created the luxury sport coupe segment decades ago and has been praised for its engaging driving dynamics across its generations. After a brief absence, the 2021 BMW M3 is set for release in the spring of 2021 and its looks are ... challenging. That's really too bad because it boasts promising performance figures.

Unlike the current BMW 3 Series, this new M3 adopts the vertical twin-kidney grille from the 4 Series — a grille so proportionally enormous, we thought someone was pulling our leg when it was unveiled at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show. If you can get past that face (preferably with a crowbar and blowtorch), the M3 has some real performance potential and innovations that should make it incrementally better than its predecessor.

What's under the M3's hood?

Powering the standard M3 is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder with an output of 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque (a bump of 48 hp over the previous model). Stepping up to the M3 Competition costs an additional $2,900 and increases output to 503 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Alongside an eight-speed sport-tuned automatic transmission is a six-speed manual, which is a rarity for luxury cars these days. In the interest of setting the quickest acceleration times possible, the Competition model will be automatic-only.

The manual transmission will not only provide a more engaging driving experience, but it will also feature automatic rev-matching for executing perfect downshifts. Those who still know how to heel-and-toe should be delighted to know this feature can be disabled. As an added bonus, the manual weighs 50 pounds less than the automatic, giving the M3 a slightly better front-to-rear weight ratio.

The M3 will come standard with rear-wheel drive, but — in a first for this venerable sport sedan — BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive will be offered later in the summer. Like BMW's current crop of M vehicles, the AWD-only Competition variants will have a rear-wheel-drive mode for purists with a generous budget for tires.

BMW puts the 0-60 mph time for the standard M3 at 4.1 seconds — likely a few ticks slower if you opt for the manual — and 3.8 seconds for the Competition. Top speed maxes out at 155 mph, though speed demons can increase this to 180 mph by ticking the box for the M Driver's package.

Heat management is crucial given the M3's higher propensity for track use versus the standard 3 Series. The M3 adds larger intakes and several cooling systems, with the Competition model further benefitting from a transmission cooler. High lateral cornering loads are also expected, so the M3 gains a dual-sump oil system to ensure the engine is always well lubricated.

How's the M3's interior?

Not surprisingly, the M3's interior is similar in layout and design to the current BMW 3 Series on which it is based. There are some unique and subtle differences, with the M3 receiving a smattering of red buttons, available carbon-fiber trim elements, and a new sport seat with aggressive side bolstering. Optional carbon-fiber bucket seats are also available, with cutouts for multipoint racing seat belts.

How's the M3's tech?

BMW's latest iDrive 7.0 software powers the new M3's infotainment system and remains one of the most intuitive interfaces in the class. The large 10.25-inch display dominates the upper dash, and the system can be controlled via touch or by using a traditional dial on the center console. To help further reduce distraction, a robust voice recognition system controls a variety of vehicle functions so the driver can keep both hands on the wheel. Wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is a suite of performance-focused apps and a navigation system. A head-up display is optional.

A new M Drive Professional option should be a hit with track-day enthusiasts. It includes a built-in lap timer that shows up in the head-up and central displays and logs laps so you can store your best time. Telemetry from the various systems can be analyzed later through the BMW M Laptimer app for compatible iPhones, so you can see where you can push a little harder on the circuit. Running counter to quick lap times — but no less entertaining — is the M Drift Analyzer, which records the duration, distance and angle of a drift.

Besides having the typical advanced safety features onboard, the M3 adapts the traction and stability control systems for more customization. Opting for M Drive Professional includes M Traction Control, which allows drivers to select between 10 levels of electronic intervention to suit their driving style and/or bravery. We're quite fond of a similar dial found in the Mercedes-AMG GT R. Also new is a brake mode selector that adjusts the pedal effort and response time, which should make the M3 as adept on the daily commute as it is on the track.

EdmundsEdmunds says

The specs, performance numbers and mechanical upgrades suggest the new 2021 BMW M3 has the potential to take the lead in its class. But while we hate to sound superficial, the ridiculous grille may very well be a deal-breaker for some.

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