BMW’s 2021 M3 and M4 Competition cars, both endowed with xDrive all-wheel-drive, will arrive in August. Four hundred and seventy-nine lb-ft of torque is on tap.
As BMW explains, both cars have three driving modes, the first being 4WD or default. While rear-wheel biased, the focus is on traction and handling. 4WD Sport, the second mode, sends more torque to the rear wheels for on-track exercises. Lastly, 2WD allows the Dynamic Stability Control System (DCS) to be turned off to achieve a pure rear-wheel-drive experience. Is this applicable to keeping your M car from unplanned off-highway excursions along M-59 in the winter? It’s doubtful, but then again, how many M3s or M4s ever see harsh winter weather?
BMW says improvements in traction, stability, and agility improvements translate into improved acceleration. You know we want to put that to the test. The M3 Competition xDrive Sedan and M4 Competition xDrive Coupé will do 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, 0.4 seconds quicker than their rear-drive counterparts. Depending on the equipment, their top speed is 155 mph or 180 MPH. We’ll circle back to these claims should we receive BMW’s invitation.
An electronically controlled, multi-plate clutch distributes torque between the front and rear axles. The Active M differential takes the torque from there, providing that BMW rear-wheel-drive experience. Torque is redirected to the front axle only when traction is needed. Powering through corners in a controlled drift, a highly dynamic driving situation as BMW describes it, is what we’d like to experience in the way of all-wheel-driven performance.
The S58B30T0 turbocharged six-cylinder registers 503 horsepower at 6,250 rpm on high test. The eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission eliminates the fun of shifting yourself. Upgrading the oiling system matches the traction and performance improvements. The M cars roll on forged 19-inch M fronts with 275/35ZR19s and 20-inch rears on 285/30ZR20s. The front axle geometry re-do, and retuning the steering ratio from 15.0:1 to 14.6:1, make these AWDs agile, just what BMW M drivers expect.
The cost? The M3 Competition xDrive Sedan’s MSRP is $76,900, plus a $995 destination charge. The M4 Competition xDrive Coupe is slightly higher, with an MSRP of $78,800, plus the same destination charge. Look for them to arrive in showrooms near you in August.