BMW’s latest and most important set of M models have been making the rounds in the automotive press, and Car and Driver has published the results of its instrumented test of the 2021 M4. Although we’re still waiting to see just how fast and capable the Competition variants of the new M3 and M4 will be, the base-model stick-shift M4 has been put through its paces, and it slots exactly where you might expect it to to in the hierarchy of BMW models, if you’ve been paying attention.
According to Car and Driver, the 2021 M4 can accelerate to 60 mph from a dead stop in just 3.8 seconds, while the rolling start from five to 60 takes 4.7. Those numbers, in typical German precision and BMW fashion, are faster than the manufacturer’s claim, and mean the M4 is nearly identical in terms of performance to the DCT-equipped F82 M4, and faster than its immediate predecessor, the six-speed F82 M4. The G82 M4 covers the quarter-mile in twelve seconds at 121 mph, directly in line with the the F82 DCT, which could do it in twelve seconds at 119, and respectably faster than the six-speed F82, which could run the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 117.
The test results are continuing validation for whatever it is BMW happens to be doing behind the scenes. Although the six-speed G82 M4 tips the scales at 3,709 pounds, (150 more than a six-speed F82 M4) its S58 twin-turbo M inline-six delivers 473 peak horsepower at 6,250 rpm, 1,050 less than the 425 horsepower of the S55, which arrived at 7,300 rpm. The torque rating of the two M inline-six engines is identical at 406 pound-feet, but in the S58, it doesn’t arrive until 2,650 rpm, yet hangs around until 6,130, just before peak horsepower arrives. The S55B30T0 used in the garden-variety F82 M4 developed 406 pound-feet from 1,850 to 5,500 rpm.
Of course, real-world dynamometer tests indicate the G82 M4 is actually more powerful than advertised. This doesn’t come as a particular surprise, given how other recent BMW models such as the M2 CS, the F90 M5, and even the Toyota Supra, which runs a version of BMW’s award-winning B58 inline-six engine, have performed under similar circumstances. When IND Distribution had a 2021 M4 tested on a Dynojet 424x dynamometer back in March, the S58, which had yet to complete break-in, put down 465 horsepower at 6,780 rpm and 409 pound-feet of torque at 4,530. When accounting for a standard 15% drivetrain loss, this means the S58 is actually developing something in the neighborhood of 545 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque at the crank.
Naturally, we’re still anxiously awaiting the test results of the M3 and M4 Competition. The S58 found in the M3 and M4 Competition develops 503 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 443 pound-feet of torque from 2,750 to 5,950, which is more than any version of the S55 with the exception of the 493-horsepower water-injected version which powers the F82 M4 GTS street-legal track car. The G80 M3 and G82 M4 Competition are also only available with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, which will no doubt allow for faster acceleration.
The real game-changer, however, will be the addition of M xDrive to either model, which comes at a cost of $4,100. The system will operate the same way it does in the M5 and M8, in that it can be defeated for exclusive rear-wheel motivation. That’s antithetical to its inherent advantage though, which will route the S58’s power to all four wheels for uncompromising grip under maximum acceleration, making what are likely to be the most capable cars of the new lineup.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]