Just as BMW officially unveiled the new M3 and M4 recently, the automaker concurrently released a new catalog of M Performance parts for the models. This is the new practice as opposed to waiting a few weeks or even months to make the parts array public, and so is that of keeping things largely aesthetic. For the most part, the choice of performance parts available for current BMW models is limited to bits and pieces (some larger than others) which change looks, but necessarily not performance or feel. BMW’s M cars, are, of course, an exception to the rule, with things like the suspension, exhaust, and brakes up for grabs in terms of modification.
Of course, with a design as bold as what BMW has committed itself to, there’s also plenty of eye candy. Carbon-fiber bits can be fitted on or near almost every panel (the carbon-fiber roof was already an option), but rather conspicuously, and perhaps for the first time in any M Performance parts offering, there’s nothing for the kidney grilles. Most performance-minded enthusiasts will be most interest in things such as the wheels, brakes, exhaust, and coil over system, and that’s what this article will cover.
Starting with the wheels, BMW is continuing with the gold theme it initiated a few years ago with the exceptional BBS Y-spoke design available as an M Performance part on a handful of M cars. The color here looks a bit different, but it’s described as the same Gold Bronze that’s available on other models. BMW may have finally run out wheel style numbers, as we’ve now graduated to four digits, with the set pictured here designated, “BMW M Performance cross-spoke forged wheel 1000M.” You can also opt for style 963M Y-Spoke wheels, but they don’t come in gold. Both designs come in staggered fitment that extends to the diameter of the wheels themselves, with the rears boasting an inch over fronts. There’s an optional winter set (829M), but we doubt you’ll see many of those here in the States.
M Performance brake pads, an upgrade that was already available on a handful of other M cars, are offered for the new M3 and M4 as well. BMW says they’re, “directly derived” from BMW Motorsport long-distance pads, and that they, “guarantee shorter braking distances, better response characteristics and high thermal resistance.” How’s the dust, though? Wouldn’t want that Gold Bronze finish getting tainted.
Suspension upgrades are worth getting excited for, and the new M3 and M4 can be fitted with their own model-specific set of M Performance coil-overs. They can drop either model between five and twenty millimeters, but are recommended to be set at ten millimeters lower than the base-model of either car. Ride height is the only adjustment; dampening has not been changed and according to BMW, the result is, “a lower center of gravity and reduced rolling movement and even higher cornering speeds.” The press release also tells us that, “In addition to increased dynamics, lowering also enhances the sporty looks.”
Last but not least, there is the M Performance silencer system in titanium, or as we’ll refer to it, the M Performance exhaust for the new M3 and M4. BMW seems to have taken a page out of Honda’s playbook for the tailpipe design, which features a clustered array of quad tips which all dump from the center. The look is quite a departure from stock design on either model, which feature a much more conventional quad outlet setup, and has yet again drawn the ire of the driving enthusiast community. It must be noted, however, that BMW doesn’t sell an M Performance exhaust for the X3 and X4 M, so if you want your S58 to exhale through the four ceramic coated tips seen here, and to experience the engine’s sound closer to the way the factory may have intended, this is it.
The system weighs eleven pounds less than the stock design, a fact we can likely attribute to construction which uses titanium. Sound can be controlled by a set of variable flaps, programming for which is linked to configurable driving modes. No one’s heard it yet, but BMW claims optimized exhaust gas routing, and a, “highly emotionalising sound, which is similar to that experienced in motorsport.”
Putting the design of the exhaust (and the cars themselves) aside, there is no denying that BMW has zeroed in on a portion of its customer base, and these buyers happen to like lowering their cars. Why not sell them a set of coil overs, too?—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]