Despite the rising cost of fuel and growing concerns about the environment, performance cars are not dead, not yet at least. Catering to true enthusiasts, BMW just fired a double-barrel salvo at the market with its hot new M3 sedan and M4 coupe.
These cars are powered by a mighty new straight six that's more than 20 pounds lighter than the high-winding V8 it replaces. Thanks to turbocharging, variable valve timing, direct injection and probably a little bit of black magic this 3.0-liter unit pumps out 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. But that's not all! Fuel consumption and emissions are also down by as much as 25 percent.
With a tried-and-true six-speed manual gearbox these cars should be able to blitz from zero to 60 miles an hour in a scant 4.1 seconds. If you wimp out and get the seven-speed M-DCT automatic transmission that time drops to an estimated 3.9 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 miles an hour.
Teaching an old dog new tricks, the stick shift features automatic throttle blipping for perfectly rev-matched downshifts.
A special limited-slip differential is standard in both cars; carbon-ceramic brakes are optional for true track junkies.
Power is transferred to the rear wheels via a lightweight and very rigid driveshaft that's made out of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic. But that's not the only part of these cars that are made out of this advanced material.
Both models have carbon-fiber roofs, which make quite a striking design statement, they also saves a fair bit of weight and help lower the cars' center of gravity. These cars' underhood strut braces are also made of carbon fiber.
Thanks to advanced materials and good old-fashioned engineering the 2015 BMW M3 is about 80 kilograms lighter than the outgoing version. That's more than 175 pounds, or nearly 1.3 Craig Coles!
Both of these cars feature arresting exterior design and that theme continues inside. Their cabins are luxurious and driver focused. Snug-fitting sport bucket seats keep the front passenger firmly in place and feature illuminated M logos on the backrests, which is an interesting touch.
Everything about these cars is tailored to enthusiasts; the M3 and M4 were bred in Bavaria and proven on the racetrack. You'll be able to get your hands on one early this summer, which isn't that far off, though pricing has not been made public at this time.
More: 2015 BMW M3 and M4 a Devastatingly Delightful Duet