New BMW M3 (2021) Launched


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BMW has officially unveiled the sixth-generation M3. It’s due to go on sale in March next year and, when it reaches the UK, it’ll face-off against an accomplished roster of compact performance executive cars, including the Mercedes AMG C 63, Audi RS 4 Avant and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrofoglio.

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BMW’s latest iteration of its iconic sports saloon has undergone an extensive mechanical overhaul. There’s an arsenal of extra technology, a new straight-six engine and – following in the footsteps of the M5 – an all-new four-wheel-drive system on the flagship model.

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There’s no word on pricing yet, but we expect the M3 will be competitive in its market, starting from around £70,000 when it goes on sale next year.

New 2021 BMW M3: engine and drivetrain
The BMW M3 is powered by the M-division’s latest twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine. It’s the same unit found in the X3 M and X4 M performance SUV twins – and, like those cars, it’ll come in a choice of two power outputs.

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BMW’s entry-level M3 will produce 473bhp, but like the rest of the company’s M range, UK customers won’t be offered this option. Instead, we’ll only get the Competition variant, which has an output of 503bhp and 650Nm of torque – enough, says BMW, for a 0–62mph time of 3.9 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

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As standard, the engine will send drive to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. However, for the first time on an M3, buyers will have the option of speccing an adaptive four-wheel-drive system, which is similar in design to the system found on the latest BMW M5.

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The system features a central transfer case with an electronically controlled clutch, which can automatically split the torque between the front and rear wheels in any ratio. At the push of a button, the system can also send 100 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels.

New 2021 BMW M3: chassis and platform
Upgrades over the outgoing model include an all-new adaptive suspension dampers, stiffer engine and chassis mounts, a ten-stage traction control system and enormous six-piston disc brakes.

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There’s also an active differential mounted on the rear axle, which features a new electronic wheel-slip control. BMW says the system can control the engine’s torque to allow the M3 to accelerate more smoothly on wet or icy roads – although the electronic nanny can be switched off with the traction control system.

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Which, rather fittingly, leads into BMW’s next addition – a drift analyser. The system can be accessed via the car’s iDrive infotainment system and provides a breakdown of the driver’s performance when oversteering. However, if consistent and precise driving is more your thing, BMW has also included a driving line coach and lap timer.

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Buyers will also be able to spec a range of performance-enhancing additions, including upgraded carbon ceramic brakes and BMW’s M Pro package, which increases the M3’s top speed limiter to 180mph.

New 2021 BMW M3: design and interior
BMW’s cosmetic revisions for the new M3 follow the company’s usual style guide. There’s more aggressive front and rear bumpers, deeper side skirts and a pair of unique kidney grilles. Also, the car features a carbon fibre roof as standard, while there’s a new set of alloy wheels, measuring 19-inches up front and 20-inches at the rear.

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