The 2021 (G80) BMW M3 and (G83) BMW M4 have officially returned, and this time they're packing more power, a bigger nose, and traditional 6-speed manual... what's not too like?
The inevitable has just happened, and although we expected the BMW M4 to follow the controversial front look of its tamer brother, the BMW 4 Series Coupe, it was surprising to see the 2021 M3 also coming with the big nostrils, known to some as the XXL-sized grille.
Before we delve any deeper into why we think BMW has implemented this interesting new grille on their latest cars, let's not take the limelight away from the new M3 and M4.
We'll get back to that grille later...
Headlining these two cars apart from the coffin-shaped grilles is obviously the powertrain line up, and although the G80 M3/ G82 M4 retains a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six mill, it now gets a power bump to 473hp/ 550Nm (up by 48hp) or 503hp/ 650Nm which is available on the Competition variants.
Another pleasing point of note for BMW fans is the fact that the 2021 M3/ M4 will send all its power to the rear axle through a six-speed manual transmission - yay!!! The Competition variants will get an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission also sending power to the rear axle. An optional X-Drive system will arrive later, according to BMW.
Other highlights of the cars include a lightweight carbon-fibre roof, additional chassis bracing, electro shocks, lighter suspension parts reworked for greater agility as well as six-piston callipers at the front and single-piston at the rear.
Interior wise, it's pretty much similar to the newest iteration of the 3-series, with BMW's functional live cockpit dominating the style. The aggressively styled racing seats, as well as the striking interior colour combo, are the differences that sets it apart from the run of the mill BMWs. A HUD (heads-up-display) with all the M specific graphics is an optional extra.
In a nutshell, that's pretty much the 2021 BMW M3 and M4 -and yeah its great!!
So let's get back to the elephant in the room, that oversized grille!
This new radical extra-large grille design was first introduced in 2019 through the BMW X7 and 7 Series. According to BMW, "the BMW grille is much larger and significantly more eye-catching – and thus much more present."
Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design then proceeded to include a completely new designed extra-large grille on the 2020 4 Series Coupe, which according to him gave the car a confident identity. "The front of the new BMW 4 Series Coupe is a clear statement on the road. The striking vertical kidney grille and the iconic double headlights create a daring and confident identity." So the previous 4-Series' styling was unsure of itself?
Whatever it is, its definitely an identity alright because it's actually nothing new, we're just too young to remember it is all. A look back at BMW's history and the evolution of the grille shows just how much the new BMW 4 Series Coupé follows the legendary sports car traditions of the automaker. One of the first BMW coupe's, the BMW 303 had a large grille. Memorable classics like the BMW 328 Coupé from the 1930s, and the BMW 3.0 CS also had more of a vertical kidney grille rather than a horizontal one - so perhaps BMW is going back to its routes.
Or could it be just a case of something else? If you look around the world, many people have different opinions to why they have implemented this new type of grille.
One person said it's because "they are trying to sell a product to the nouveau riche in China and other areas in the developing world. In marketing, it's a basic tenet that the less affluent the customer, the bigger they want the logo." - sounds logical, don't you think?
Another person said "It seems insane, but it was to secretly raise the drag coefficient while pushing forward a high-front styling fad." - this too sounds like something BMW would consider.
But the one that made us chuckle the most is when someone commented, "For Gen-Xers like me, BMWs were the aspirational vehicle. For later generations that never knew BMW's "Greatest Hits" of the 1980s and 1990s, today's "easy listening" versions of BMWs will be what they remember: Cars that have no dynamic advantage over Mercedes and Audi, but instead gaudy front styling and lesser durability."
Gaudy is a bit much when describing its styling, we think 'flashy' is more of an appropriate word because it's definitely an in your face type styling.
We think the simple reason is that it actually looks good and that that the ever-growing size of the BMW body warranted a bigger grille to make everything proportionate. It's also a homage to BMWs from the past and while some of you would disagree with everything we just said, give it a chance because it actually looks better in real life than in pictures. We hope...
We were haters too in the beginning, and a prime example of that was when we first saw the G12 7-Series. Through the pictures, it looked ugly, but when it eventually arrived in Malaysia and glided past us in the flesh, it all made sense and actually looks superbly sophisticated.
The same can be said about the new M3 and M4. From the pictures, it does look like bugs bunny, but some lucky journalists that have managed to see it up close and personal have commented that it does look in place and matches the car's overall aggressive demeanour.
Just give it a chance, we're sure it is dressed to impress. What do you think of the new BMW grille on the M3 and M4, mean or morbid? By the way, can we move the number plate to the side of the front bumper please?